There’s an assumption when people travel alone. People think the traveler must be searching for themselves or escaping something. Those of us who sometimes travel solo know that’s not always the case.
To us, solo travel can mean we found something we want to do and either couldn’t find someone to do it with or didn’t want to find someone to do it with.
I have a large group of travel buddies. Often, I find a place I want to visit, a cruise itinerary I like, an organized group tour I want to join, or just a place I want to go. I throw it out there to my friends. Sometimes, someone says they would like to join. Other times, nobody bites, and I have a decision to make. Do I take the trip alone or skip it?
My travel friends do the same with me. Sometimes I am the initiator of the idea, other times they are.
Many times, I have decided to skip the trip or postpone going to the destination for some period of time. Sometimes it’s because someone wants to travel with me to that place, but the timing just isn’t right. We’ll do it later.
Other times, I have decided to roll the dice and sign up for the tour. I have never regretted it. I have met great people, gone to awesome destinations, and have had some amazing experiences.
Sometimes, I do travel alone to escape. In 2003, I turned in my two weeks’ notice at a job that was causing me a lot of stress. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, so things were a mess in my head.
The same day I gave my boss my resignation letter, I booked a short cruise out of the Port of Tampa, near my home. For four whole days, I wanted to make no decision more difficult than what to eat for dinner.
I worked the next two weeks and the day after I left my office for the last time, I grabbed my suitcase and drove my car to the port and parked. I wheeled my suitcase to the ship. I got onboard and instantly felt relaxed.
When we left the dock, I was sipping a drink with an umbrella in it when my phone rang. It was a friend calling me to say hi and see how I was doing after I had just left my job.
Here’s a summary of the conversation:
Hi Tiff. I just wanted to check on you to see how you’re doing.
I’m on the deck of a cruise ship heading out of Tampa with a drink in my hand.
Ah, OK. Good. You need to relax. Enjoy yourself.
That’s exactly what I plan to do. Talk to you in four days.
The cruise did exactly what I wanted it to do. It gave me time to think away from distractions. I ate. I drank. I sat in the sun. I saw Mexican ruins. I lived in the moment. When I got home, I was ready to face the future and figure out what came next.
I also started planning my next trip.