6 years ago, I was crying in the bathroom of a Miami airport alone. After sending back all the toiletries that were too big to go with me and almost punching a woman in the throat–my sleep deprived friends headed back to South Carolina. Where was I going? The Dominican Republic to volunteer for 2 weeks without a cell phone, laptop or friend. There were other college students volunteering, but I didn’t know anyone. My decision to take my first trip abroad alone was quickly coming back to haunt me. Yet here I am, craving another dose of solo travel.
I’ve traveled alone with intentions to meet up with friends or family plenty of times, but never with plans to be alone for the entire trip. Don’t get me wrong, I (usually) enjoy myself when I go on group trips. Of course there are things I will have to do differently than I would on group trips, like day drinking at 8am, but I’m already doing my research. Essence actually published a solo travel post with tips and ideas yesterday. It’s fate for me to take this trip! January 19th will be the beginning of my final year as a twenty-something, and I think a solo trip is how I’ll celebrate.
Solo travel is for me because…
I can actually do what I want.
Even when I’m on vacation, I like to sleep. It doesn’t matter if if I’m in a new city or country. Let me feel what it’s like to nap in Madrid or San Diego. No I don’t plan to sleep through the day, but the option is there if I want to.
Alone time is my favorite.
Y’all know I love my Me-Time, but I’m curious to find out what I’ll learn about myself through the freedom of solo travel. There are so many activities to try and food to taste. What will I’ll do on my own without the encouragement or criticism from others?
The only pictures I have to take are my own.
I love taking candid pictures of people, but I’m not a fan of being asked to take a picture of someone over, and over, and over again. (Don’t get me started on taking the same group picture on 5 different phones.) Solo traveling might require a lot of selfies and pictures without me, and I don’t mind. For safety purposes, I probably won’t ask strangers to take pictures of me.
My budget is the only one that matters.
I won’t have to worry about who has cash or whose turn it is to buy shots, and I can spend as much or as little money as I want. Who says I have to leave my hometown to be my own travel companion? A Staycation is my backup plan if personal finances become an issue.
The planning process is easier.
I’m at that awkward stage in life where some of my friends are actually trying to get pregnant, and the others are just trying to get out of bed before noon. This awkward stage is called emerging adulthood. The dope part about organizing a trip for myself? There’s no need to stress over who can get off work, who has to find a babysitter or who doesn’t want to meditate at 5AM. Ain’t nobody else to worry about!
They say your 20s are your selfish years. Selfish in a way that helps you, not in a way that hurts others. I can’t think of a better way (that doesn’t include Beyoncé) to start my last year of accepted selfishness than with solo travel. Of course I’ll tell you all about it in a blog post. Give me about 5 or 6 months. 🙂
Have you experienced solo travel? What did you love and/or hate about it?
P.S The trip to the Dominican Republic is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m so happy I didn’t chase my friends down and beg them to take me home.