I do it all the time! Do you live by yourself? 30 percent of Americans do. Do you have a partner that does not like to travel or can not? Do you want to experience different things from your partner? Are you tired of negotiating you life? So just go and travel by yourself!
Traveling by oneself is so very empowering. At the end of the trip, I say to myself, “Look what I did!” I always feel like I can conquer anything when I come home from a trip, especially an international trip. This is clearly a very energizing and rejuvenating experience.
For me, the best part of traveling by myself is the personal experience. I am not sharing the experience, it is all for me, with me and by me. I am totally into the experience. When I am by myself, there is no one to distract me from the experience. I am not talking about something else when I am experiencing this journey. Also, because there is nobody else there I need to be totally responsible. I need to pay attention, make the decisions and enjoy the experience. Yes this all takes lots of planning and energy, but it is well worth the process.
Often when I take a holiday trip by myself, I take along a thought, a question or an idea I want to explore. I do not dwell on the thought, but let it grow and develop. Each day I may come back to it but not try to have the answer. The answer may never come but it all gets clearer and more motivating.
Sometimes when I am on a road trip I take a friend along in my mind. I talk to him or her! It is fun to share with a friend – they have to go where and when you go! Sometimes I can hear them say, “I would not do this or that!” But of course I do it any way! Cause this is the fun of traveling by yourself.
Eleven years ago I had not been to Paris, now I have been five times. I would not go because I believed I would get lonely by myself in the city of lights and love. But when I saw the Millennium lights on the Eiffel tower I knew I had to go. And I went two weeks later! In all my trips to Paris, I was never lonely; there are so many people to meet! I remember one night so well- meeting two men from Canada at the next table, we shared lots of laughs and stories.
If you need to start with a short trip, then expand. Give yourself permission to travel by yourself! You will never regret it.
Harriet, as you know, I usually travel alone and meet with colleagues at my destination. Every trip I make a point to spend a few hours at a time wandering by myself. There is no better way to experience a culture than to walk alone into a neighborhood or business area off the tourist path. Some of the most interesting experiences I have had were while wandering alone. I took my all time favorite photograph while wandering alone along the docks in Rangoon, Burma.
For safety sake I do not recommend wandering to everyone. To do this successfully you must have three qualities. First, you must have a sense of direction so you can find your way back to your starting point. Second, you must have “street smarts,” that is an ability to sense when something is not right so you can retreat to a safe location. If you lack the first two qualities predators will see this and target you. The most important quality is you must keep your head on a swivel. A head on a swivel will help you to notice landmarks which will help you find your way back to your starting point. A head on a swivel will help you notice things which are not quite right and will let predators know that you are aware of them. On the positive side, a head on a swivel will help you to see wonderful things which everyone else misses but make wandering worth while.
JRR Tolkien said: “Not all who wander are lost.”