A few weeks ago I packed up my bags and headed for the Big Apple. For the first time. All on my own. AND IT WAS THE BEST!!! Now I never want a traveling companion ever again.
Okay, I kid, I kid. But, when all my friends and only sibling bailed on a birthday trip I had been planning for weeks, I went by myself because #yolo. I decided not to deprive myself of an experience I was looking forward to like a 6 year old waiting for Christmas morning. And, here are the little gifts of knowledge I unwrapped:
1. The ‘soul-o’ journey
Solitude is good for the soul. Adventure is good for the soul. So naturally, solo travel does the soul a whole lotta good. Sometimes being alone – even in a crowded city like NYC – lets you have the quiet time you didn’t realize you needed. Unplug from the constant noise of your daily routine and just enjoy absorbing, observing…being! Not enough people get a chance to do that in our busy world, which is a damn shame because you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself, people, and the world that you never noticed before; and you’ll be better for it.
2. The world you leave behind
It’s not all about the new places and people you discover on your trip. It’s also about the place and people you come back home to. Every now and again I get sick of the same, old people, and their tired, old attitudes; the scientific terminology for this phenomenon is, “being stuck in a rut”. A change of scenery and society affords you the opportunity to learn about other cultures; the scientific terminology for this phenomenon is, “growing” – which, it goes without saying, is amazeballs. But, when you’re out there alone, you’re keenly more aware of the little things that make home awesome (or bearable…Hey, I won’t pretend to know your situation!).
3. You’re the master of your itinerary
I hit up 11 tourist destinations in two days and one night. 11 destinations, people! I decided the pace of my trip early on. I wanted to see as much as possible in what little time I had. This wasn’t about relaxing and unwinding for me, it was about discovering. I was never at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, no compromises had to be made, and I never had to slow down for or catch up to anyone.
4. Dolla dolla bill y’all
You are also the master of your vacation budget. It’s all you. Splurge and treat yo self. Or stretch every dollar as far as humanly possible. Whatever you do, do it without fear of judgment for how you spend dem billz.
5. Stranger Danger…
…is real, and it doesn’t care whether you’re a man, woman, young, old, or a chimera…we’re all vulnerable. While traveling has taught me that people are lovely and not to fear because the world isn’t out to get me, I still can’t stress the importance of safety enough. Be careful who you trust after only knowing any given person for just 5 minutes. The Internet is your friend, so do your research. Make space in you budget for the safest ways to get around and places to stay at. If it’s out of your means, reconsider the trip you planned…no joke. Also, don’t complain to me about how hella expensive it was, especially if you come back in one piece. Be cautious; spend the money, no regrets.
So those are the perks that I discovered. Not all vacations are meant to be taken alone though. I’m still sayin’ nothing could beat spending a few days on a tropical beach, with some tropical drinks, admiring the tropical men with my girls. But, if I wanted to get away for a moment to a corner of the world no one else can or wants to join me for, I ain’t sweatin’ it – and you shouldn’t either.
So go ahead lonely hearts, plan a solo getaway and leave your mark on another piece of the world!