I usually say traveling alone. But that sounds lonely. And it absolutely is NOT lonely at all. So I’ll say traveling solo!
Personally. I LOVE SOLO TRAVEL.
It’s my favorite.
I got my first real experience of traveling solo when I studied abroad- specifically for half of my week trip to London and my trip to Norway in 2013. Since then I’ve also been to San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Asheville, PA, Philly- and I have more on my list!
(yes- that is me running across Abbey Road for a photo opp! My new friend from the street art tour took photos for me!)
I’ve had people tell me-
- They could never do that. Yes- you can do it (but totally up to you!
- Isn’t it lonely? You decide if it’s lonely!
One of the few pluses to T1D is that I’ve made connections all over the country. Friends from camp have moved. Plus the DOC is vast and the connections are strong. So typically when I travel- I know someone where I’m going. (It’s not necessarily why I pick the location though- and it’s not always a diabetes community connection).
Now. It’s not that I don’t travel with people or hate it. It’s mostly if I want to go somewhere- I don’t want to just base it off of other people. Like where to go. What to do. Schedules. The works
So why do I love traveling solo so much?
- It’s all about you. You can be selfish. You don’t have to worry about anyone else! You do you!
- You can pick the location. No discussions or anything or trying to balance things out.
- You don’t have to figure out people’s schedules.
- You can do what you want when you’re there.
- You’re on your own schedule. You time. Want to be go go go? or take it easy? Maybe a combo? SURE! Up to you!
- I’m also a people pleaser- so I won’t be sacrificing anything if I’m solo.
- It also really helps me to learn about myself! Each time I learn something new.
- I’m antisocial and an introvert. Being with people exhausts me, and I need time to recharge and reset with NO human interaction. That’s already hard to do. But it’s really hard to do if you’re traveling with other people. Solo travel means I get the space when I need it with a lot of extra alone time I don’t normally get!
- It does push you out of your comfort zone! Depending on what your comfort zone is!
- Small talk and meeting/interacting with people I don’t know. So traveling solo let’s me take that plunge and do that.
- I also tend to be so “go go go” so traveling solo allows me to have a mix of slowing down but doing and seeing everything. (and being okay with that-which is out of my comfort zone).
- I no longer have any issues or fears eating alone. I never really had a problem with breakfast and lunch, but I’d feel awkward at dinners. Now- I don’t.
- You meet more people when you are solo. This was especially true in Europe. People are more likely to talk to you if you’re not in a big group. (Which helps put me out of my comfort zone). I met someone in London from another country because I took a unique tour by myself when I studied abroad in 2013- we’re still in touch!
- Connecting with people you know!
- If you know people where you’re going, there’s a higher chance you might have a free place to stay. Which isn’t as possible if you’re with other people.
- There isn’t that awkward bit of introducing each other (or being on the other side of that).
- I also love visiting with people I know- especially when it comes to exploring. I LOVE to find out their favorite places- views, food, craft beer, things to do, etc. A list online can only get you so far- and I love to get to my friends’ favorite places!
(views of San Francisco! Friends took me here- along on a list of places they love to take people!)
Now of course there are some downfalls.
- I’m more weary of going out.
- Some things would be fun with people.
- Photos. Enough said. I like taking photos of people. So I lose that chance usually. And having someone take a photo of me. (I don’t want to pester that stranger to keep taking my pic until I like it. That’s what friends are for!)
- Even though I parade that I don’t care about what people think… it’s easier said than done. So I’d have to add judgement.
(One of my best friends snapped this pic of me at Victory!)
If I have the choice. In all honesty. I prefer traveling solo for a longer trip. For a shorter trip I prefer to travel with friends. It really all depends. I just LOVE to travel so I don’t want to not go somewhere because I don’t have someone in my life who wants to go to that location.
I know it’s not for everyone. I know people worry about safety (in case you’re wondering I have NEVER felt unsafe! BUT- I make sure to know the area I’m in. I take precautions with safety and T1D. I also make sure I’m SCREAMING confidence with my body language wherever I am/whatever I’m doing. This is one of those instances where I REALLY embrace the “bitch face” even though that term bugs me when it’s about getting a woman to smile- UH BYE).
I do get looks and questions about the T1D- and honestly- it’s not even factor unless I’m packing! It’s one of those instances where I don’t want to let a chronic illness influence (or get in the way of my decisions- especially with traveling). I have the mentality here of “I’ll figure it out”.)
I would HIGHLY recommend that everyone tries to travel solo at least once- in whatever capacity that means for you! It doesn’t have to be a regular thing- but it really is quite different and like Solo Travel Society said in that photo above (an investment in yourself!).
(I was able to connect with my family in Norway- and my cousin took this photo from the opera house!)
Hey you! Yes, you!
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