It really used to irritate me.
I would say, "I'm traveling to blah." And they would ask, "With who?" My response was always, "By myself!" with a big smile. But I could tell they didn't really understand. What I thought they were thinking was, "Poor girl has nobody to travel with."
Or "She has to leave a bad situation... that must be it..."
Neither of those ideas are accurate and far from the truth.
So, here, in the words on this blog post, I will attempt to explain the inter-workings of why I love traveling solo.
Lemme just say it really is NOT because I don't like people. Matter of fact, it's quite the opposite. I love people and experiencing other cultures so much that I want to make myself as available as possible.
Here, I'll swing it this way - are you more likely to strike up conversation with a stranger if you're alone or with another person?
That's the key element.
When I travel to a foreign country, I want to experience all of it. The word "vacation" makes my skin crawl because time spent in a foreign country just enjoying the tourist attractions is an overseas ticket wasted in my book.
My perfect travel plans include learning about the architecture, talking to the people and learning a new word or language. Seeing the natural beauty of the land.
Did you know that there are 7 different words in the Greek language to describe love? There is Eros (passionate love), Philia (love of a friend), Storge (family love), Agape (Universal love or God's love), Ludus (playful or flirting love), Pragma (practical love based off of shared interests and abilities), and Philautia (self love).
Maybe that's why our divorce rate in the U.S. is at over fifty percent? Silly Americans, you confuse Eros love with Pragma love and that's why your relationships burn out so quickly. It is the everlasting Pragma love where two individuals support one another's life goals and dreams that will last.
I want to taste the food and what's valuable to them. Is it family? Is it status? Is it history? Or is it something else like pride or ancestral influences?
When I am traveling, I appreciate not knowing how to get from Point A to Point B unless I ask somebody else. I cannot read the signs. It's all greek to me. So, I have to ask somebody else and then conversation strikes up. Sometimes.
I may find myself loving one area more than another and sparking friendships that will last a lifetime. I could find new inspiration to write an article or add to one of my 75 different (already started nowhere near close to finished) novel ideas.
See the poverty. Let it change your views about it.
Seeing the poverty in South Africa sure changed mine. I thought people living in poverty would have these forlorn faces wrought with defeat and sadness. I didn't see that any more in the slums of Mzamomhle than I did driving on a busy freeway in America.
Sadness is sadness. Happiness is happiness. No matter where you are or what your circumstances are.
I watched two barefooted boys toss a plastic bag up in the air and chase after it for a solid thirty minutes just belly laughing and loving life in that moment more than I think I ever have.
It changed my perspective on life.
Listen to the elders and what they've experienced. Apparently there is an island in Greece that hid Jews during the Nazi regime.
All of this is wildly fascinating to me. I choose to open my eyes and throw myself into the thick of a culture because I want to learn more about the world.
And traveling solo, for me, has allowed all of this to happen. There definitely are times where I prefer to travel with another person because there's something to be said about sharing experiences. But, I believe, there's also something to be said about keeping them sacred to yourself. Like little secrets of experiences that nobody else knows.