Alone. adjective & adverb – Having no one else present; on one’s own.
I often find myself traveling alone. Sure, I have my coworkers, but honestly how much time would you want to spend with men that are 20-30 years your senior? (and how many of them would feel comfortable spending time with a 27-year-old woman when they have a wife and family at home?) Most of them are really wonderful humans and some of them even go out an explore new cities with me, but sometimes the cities that are new to me are not so new to them. They have lost interest in exploring these places long ago.
And there is the unavoidable times I’ve spent in hotel rooms at night. That’s when you truly feel the solitude – missing the birthday parties, the dinner get-togethers, the lazy pool days with friends, and especially the time that your best friend just needed a hug and you’re 10,000 miles away from home. You see the pictures on social media or you get the calls and texts from loved ones that make you long to be there with them.
You learn a lot about yourself when you are alone. You start to explore your thoughts and emotions more. And where most people run away from their own minds, there is no escape in the dark rooms of hotels. Where I used to hate these quiet times when my mind was so loud, I now find them peaceful. Where I used to prefer constant company, I find that I prefer to be alone at times.
Once you are more comfortable being alone, exploring is the next mountain to tackle. Especially being a young woman, I was always taught to be extra cautious and to keep to myself and not venture out too far in my own. But recently, something has changed in my perspective.
I met a young man in Nice, France. He was alone at the restaurant that my coworkers and I went to. He started up a casual conversation with us, and ended up joining us at our table. After many hours of incredible discussion with this man, I realized that he was not alone anymore. I’m not sure when the change even happened. But suddenly, we were friends with a unique bond of being alone… together.
I started to explore these bonds in other places for myself. Just in the last month, I’ve met other people who have become friends through the common connection of interesting and wonderful experiences. I met an incredibly sweet young woman on an airline through an experience of an unruly passenger, or another in the crowded streets of New York City’s Pride parade singing “Call my maybe” at the top of our lungs together , or a birthday boy and his friend in the heart of downtown Phoenix that I bought a drink for and ended up joining me with some other friends to dance the night away.
I realized that even in times that I’ve been alone, I haven’t actually been alone. I have started to seek out the solitude that leads to these new and uncommon connections. I’ve realized that this aloneness is only in the mind. I still miss my family and friends dearly when I’m away and still have moments of being a bit homesick, but it’s a sacrifice that I am making to understand myself more completely and to participate in other worldly experiences. If you ever get the chance to be alone, I highly recommend it as you never know what adventure will come of it or what new friendships you will make!
Do you have a story or any tips about traveling alone? Share in the comments below!