Taking the Solo Travel Plunge

"Taking the Solo Travel Plunge"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Inspiring, right? Makes you want to pack your bags, spend your paycheck on a flight to your dream destination, and not look back. If only it was that simple. Considering and planning every aspect of traveling takes more time than the actual trip itself! No wonder you have a plethora of unfulfilled destinations on your Expedia Scratchpad.

One thing considered when planning a vacation: who. Who am I going on this lavish, enlightening trip with? Unless you are a dependent who still travels everywhere with family, married or in a relationship, or friends with other singles who hold the same time and wanderlust as you, figuring out who to take a trip with can be a tough one. An unnecessary dilemma.

Many people think that travel inherently includes multiple individuals. Forget about having fun if you’re not with someone else! Travel buddies are a must. Seeing the world can only be attained with company. Why do we think this way? As a society, we have unfortunately become dependent on other people to enjoy ourselves. Going to the movie theatre or a simple lunch has become an ordeal because of not having someone on-hand to do it with. As an advocate for self-independence, I say we release ourselves of such a petty fear of being embarrassed of going out alone. Including traveling by one’s self.

Brande Plotnick of 9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone writes, “Depending on the destination, a solo trip can be a powerful, introspective, life-changing experience” (20 July 2015). Plotnick expresses the growth experienced by complete self-reliability, probably the biggest benefit of traveling solo. The minute ideas of where to travel pop into your brain, you are one hundred percent responsible. You choose where you are going, you decide on the date and time, you step off the plane and jump into either a taxi or a bus, and you go to the places that you want to go to. You choose what to eat. You choose where you sleep. You choose who you want to talk to. You. Choose. Exhilarating is the first word that comes to mind. Yes, the second word is probably scary. Or unnerving. But that is exactly what Plotnick means when she says “life-changing”. It’s not life-changing if stability isn’t compromised.

Traveling alone does not necessarily mean traveling alone. There are various group travel options available if you are interested in meeting new people (Groupon has awesome deals. I’m personally looking into an eight-day adventure in Peru). Maybe you want to get out of your regular social bubble. Maybe you are the only single one out of all your friends and you just need to get out there in an adventurous way because you are sick of being the seventh wheel – I don’t sound bitter do I? Because I’m so not. Whatever the case, traveling by yourself with a group can be a wonderful method to starting over in a sense, being anonymous, or meeting people from all over the world with your same sense of adventure. “You realize – and of course it’s a cliché, but like many clichés, it’s true – the way we are all interconnected” (287), explains Rachel Friedman, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost.

My passion for solo travel commenced this past spring break. As a schoolteacher I had the entire week off and didn’t feel like dwindling my time away on Netflix. Knowing that all my family and friends were busy with work or school, I spontaneously booked a solo flight to New York City. By spontaneously I mean that I did an hours research on places to travel alone and practically had a panic attack when it came down to actually booking the flight. Of course, my people were skeptical about me traveling alone to such a big city. But my reasoning for it was that I wasn’t going to wait around for anybody to see this vast and beautiful world. Plus, as Ashley Ross says in Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone, “Once you land wherever you decide to go, you’ll feel empowered enough that all your concerns about feeling lonely will wash away” (21 July 2015).

New York and I had an extravagant encounter that truly empowered me to do anything I set my mind to. A feeling I wish everybody to have. Like Elisabeth Eaves says in Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents, “I followed my wanderlust. It bruised me sometimes, and took me to all kinds of highs” (301). Solo travel will teach you your innermost strengths and weaknesses. It will awaken your senses and lift your spirits to a whole new dimension. So take the plunge!

Twenty-one year old tenth grade English Teacher in inner city Houston, Texas. Novice, passionate world traveler who aims to inspire other people to take adventure in their own hands.

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