Five Reasons to Travel Alone

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            Some people, when they speak of heaven, mention pearly gates and streets of gold.  I don’t care about either of those.  What I would define as heaven would be to walk through whatever portals there are, and to be able to choose to go left, right or straight ahead, or to be able to decide to just sit for awhile, to take in the colors, aromas and melodies of the neighborhood.

            Should I go in a different direction, Hell would be to discover that I was in charge of a tour group of opinionated Baptists who were all sure they knew better than I did which way we should go and what we should do.

            I like to travel alone so I can be responsible for no one except myself.  To be clear, I also like to travel with my wife, my family, and my friends.  I have written and will write more about those trips. “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow,” is a proverb that has a lot of truth in it.

            A new friend, Shelly Rivoli, for example, writes a blog about traveling with children:

http://www.travelswithbaby.com

             Today, however, I want to reflect on the merits of traveling alone.  Here’s a short list:

  • Eliminate blame.  Unfortunate decisions are part of travel.  The express train turns out to take longer than the local. The play you lobbied for seeing turns out to be boring.  You thought the flea market was on Tuesday, but it turned out to be on Thursday.  When you are alone, no apologies are needed.
  • Go at your own speed.  If you want to linger over a cup of coffee for an extra half-hour, you can.  If you don’t want to spend but an hour at the museum, you aren’t hurrying anyone else.  If you are a fast exercise walker, as I am, no one else is pushed beyond his or her comfort level.
  • Enjoy your pleasures.  My cigar smoking is offensive to almost everyone who is not a cigar smoker.  When I travel alone, I can spend as much time as I want puffing on my stogie, reading my book in a public park. If you want to spend your time and money taking a technical course for seamstresses, as Sally does, the spouse is not stuck in a mall waiting all day.
  • Tickets are easy.  Whether you want to see a baseball game or a Broadway play, single tickets are almost always easy to secure.  Furthermore, they are essentially half-price if one traveling partner is really not interested in the activity.  Neither my wife nor my daughters are interested in baseball, so why make them suffer through a game?  I can buy one ticket, go by myself and nobody is looking at a watch wishing they were somewhere else, and I am not regretting buying multiple tickets.
  • Turn on a dime.  Who knows why we make certain choices?  Straight ahead looks like more of the same.  Based on a gut intuition, a single traveler can jump in a cab and visit a different part of town.  No justification is needed.

sSo, sometimes I travel alone.  I may not be in Paradise, but occasionally, going solo is just what the doctor ordered.Image

Categories: Family, Holiday, Lists/Top Ten, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Travel Alone

  1. Tandy McConnell

    And, when you are on a solo trip, or just alone for the afternoon, it is a lot easier to fall into conversation with stranges, who often turn out to be really interesting and are part of the reason we travel in the first place. There is sometimes risk in traveling alone, but that to is part of the adventure.

  2. Ah, fun post and thanks for including me! The first time I flew anywhere WITHOUT my family after having kids, I was sure I would be bawling my head off the entire flight. Instead, from the moment the shuttle picked me up at 3:30 a.m. and all the way to my flight, I found myself enjoying conversations with complete strangers and remembering how and why I fell in love with travel in the first place. I definitely love to share it with my family, but I realize now how important it is to go off on my own sometimes, too. 😉

  3. Great post Marion and so true! I absolutely love waking up in a new foreign place and having to answer to no one but me as to when I should actually get out of bed, what will I eat for breakfast and where I will go at my own speed. And I also never know for sure where I will end up and I may vear off whatever path I am on unexpectedly and it is nice not to have to convince someone else to follow my gut. I also find that traveling alone has allowed me to make more friends on the road. BTW your description of hell scared me so that I have been praying all day, too funny! 😉

    • Thanks, Kelly, and everyone else for comments. I have added a number six to my list so I will republish it one day with this addition: Conversations with strangers. In fact, I met Shelly Rivoli, who also commented on this post, sitting on a bus in Shreveport. Because neither of us was talking to a traveling companion, we talked to each other. Voila, a new friend!

  4. Tim Hasty

    Agree 100% some of the best times I’ve had are when the family is still asleep or napping or I ditched co-workers. Venice comes to mind as I meandered the streets got lost turned around but ran into great places for coffee, lunch or poke my head into

  5. Definitely agree. This year I’ve taken a trip alone for the first time in a long time and it was a wonderful experience for all the reasons given. But it’s nice, too, to have a group of loved ones around you, and there’s something very special about introducing children (or less-travelled adults) to the wonders of the world.

    • Traveling Together is a wonderful bonding experience. When my youngest daughter was ages 12-16, great trips together were HUGE for us. We went to Scotland, to Spain, to Gibraltar then to Princeton and New York City.

  6. My husband and I recently took a trip to New England, so I can definitely identify with some of these reasons. Not that we didn’t enjoy being together, but well, you know. Example: We spent one hour in the Portland Museum of Art, and I would have loved to linger a little longer at the work of Winslow Homer, but somebody was in a rush.

  7. JEarl

    I need “me” time and “us” time…both are renewing. Jesus set a good example. BTW my favorite pastor of all time was a cigar smoker.

  8. Bill

    thanks for putting many of my thoughts into words–now for a good cigar–

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