This past weekend, I flew out to a different city for a road race and a weekend with me, myself, and I. Before I left, several people were questioning – almost criticizing – the fact that I was going to be traveling, staying, and spending time with only myself. “Wait, so you are going alone?” is the common thing these people would ask me in a why-on-earth-would-you-ever-want-to-do-that kind of tone. Now, people travel by themselves for work all the time, but what seemed to confuse people was why I would CHOOSE to spend a weekend traveling without a companion. Let me tell you why I did it and why you should consider taking a similar solo trip.
To Get Away
Regardless of how far you actually travel, there are benefits to be gained by simply getting away from your usual surroundings and routine. From more of a mental standpoint, you are able to take a step back from the same schedule, the same environment, the same people. This gives you a chance to gain a new perspective on everything, or, it can help you get your mind off of the same issues that have been rolling around and around in your head. From a physical location standpoint, you literally get away. I think it is important to see new places and remember that there is more out there than the area you live and that there are bigger problems out there than the fact that your date didn’t call you back or that you had to work late twice this week. Plus, sometimes the easiest way to mentally get away is to physically get away. When you are surrounded by the same things day by day, it is hard to remove yourself from whatever mindset you are in that you want to escape. Even if it is just a short drive away to a nearby town, campsite, whatever, the change of scenery can clear your mind and reset the way you see different situations.
To Treat Myself
The great thing about traveling on your own is that every decision you make is entirely up to you. You truly get to call the shots for everything you do without the concern for someone’s opinions or personal feelings and without the need for anyone else’s approval or timeframe. It’s pretty simple: if you want to do something then you can do it, and if you don’t want to do something then you don’t. Also, since everything you do is on your own dime, you don’t need to deal with judgments if you decide to eat cheap at McDonald’s or splurge at a top-rated steakhouse. Want to sleep until noon? Awesome. Want to go to the art museum? Done. Want to go shopping and get a manicure? Love it. Want a four-course meal and a bottle of wine? Nothing is stopping you.
To Have Some Quality “Me” Time
I think it is safe to say that everyone needs some alone time here and there. The difference between hanging out with yourself in your bedroom and hanging out with yourself on a solo trip is that you have to become comfortable with being alone in public. Yes, you could sit in your hotel room all day or hide out in a movie theater the entire weekend, but that would be a pretty lame (and pointless) getaway. I’m sure you have no problem going to the mall and shopping by yourself, so don’t be afraid to get out alone with the same self-confidence (and the same disregard for feelings of self-consciousness) and sightsee, sit by the park, go to a museum, etc. The situation where many people struggle the most to comfortably be without a companion is when dining out. Why is this? One primary reason seems to be embarrassment due to what others think about you. All I have to say to this is who cares? The other main reason is because you feel awkward and don’t know what to do with yourself. I was the same way when I used to travel alone for work and wanted to eat out at a restaurant, so I began by eating at more casual sports bars where there were TVs I could watch as I sat there by myself. Soon I was eating at quieter restaurants with no TVs, but I would bring my Kindle or pull out my phone since I still felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself when I wasn’t shoveling food into my face. Currently, however, I am able sit at a table or bar by myself without any TVs, phones, documents, or conversation. This is something that I think everyone should be able to do: be comfortable being by yourself. Besides, if you don’t enjoy spending time alone with you, then how can you expect anyone else to want to spend time alone with you?
So whether you are single or taken, guy or girl, I highly recommend you take some time away with the only person who is guaranteed to stay with you for the rest of your life: you.