Last night a friend said to me, "I pulled a Marci. I had a free weekend at a resort and didn't have anyone to go with so I went alone and had the best time." I love that she called it, "pulling a Marci".
It's true. I've traveled the world by myself. I've sat alone in the Piazza Signora in Florence eating decadent chocolate while reading a book as lovers strolled by arm and arm. I've stood at Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe, staring at the Swiss Alps with my arms raised out like I could fly. In Paris I walked solo through the Louvre taking the time I desired with each painting. In Kauai, I hiked through the jungles, sailed on a catamaran, snorkeled, and boogie-boarded. Africa was the most remarkable as I traveled through three countries drinking wines in South Africa, rafting the Zambezi, riding in dug-out canoes, and exploring the earth on walking safaris. One of the greatest vacations was a month in Palm Springs where I went to restore my spirit and write while relaxing every day in the Marriott's spa. It isn't strange for me to get in my car and take off in a direction with no idea where I will end up.
If I add up all the weeks I have traveled solo, it would be close to 3/4 of a year's time.
During most of these solo excursions I wasn't single. People would always remark, "You're boyfriend will let you be away that long?"
My response, "No one let's me do anything. I choose how I live my life and I don't come to a relationship without explaining that solo travel is a part of who I am." Many men have found my independence sexy. Some have had difficulties with me being away for long periods of time, but in the end, I need solo travel.
It was hard when I first started to see the world solo. I was afraid. Most of the time I didn't know the language. Loneliness smacked me in the face as fatigue would set in and I only had me to rely on. Nights were always the most difficult as I watched couples in fancy restaurants enjoying dinner while laughing.
But solo travel gave me the gift of myself. I found courage as I problem-solved my way out of glitches, such as accidentally booking a brothel instead of a hotel my first night in Paris. I came to enjoy fancy dinners for one as I took the time to eat at my pace; I savored the taste of the food, took in the ambiance of the restaurant, and enjoyed a good book.
I fear the world less. I've made friends who have shared their countries with me. I trust my instincts more and worry less when trip-ups happen in life.
When you travel with friends you're always keeping time or waiting for someone. You have to check in with what others want. This is fine, and sharing experiences is spectacular. Don't get me wrong, I love to travel with my friends and my partner, but it's a different experience.
The greatest gift of solo travel, is the time to take care of myself and not worry about anyone else. I get to spoil myself and do exactly what I feel like without needing to check in with anyone else. If I want to read till one in the morning and then sleep till eleven I can. If I want to dance till the wee hours I do.
I also believe that when you travel alone you are more aware of your surroundings, therefor you experience life in high definition.
I dare you to try it if you haven't before. Take off for a weekend. Go someplace you've always wanted to see. Or just go to a town filled with fun things to do. Spoil yourself rotten. Sit on a beach by yourself and listen to your own thoughts. It might be the greatest experience of your life.