Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why I Travel Alone

"Paris is for lovers. Maybe that's why I stayed only thirty-five minutes." - Humphrey Bogart, Sabrina

It's a topic discussed with anyone who asks me about my travels. They ask where I'm going, I tell them. They ask who I'm going with, I tell them. They stare at me blankly. A great deal of people get this pathetically sympathetic look on their faces, as if I travel alone because I have to. The truth of the matter is, I want to go to a lot of places and I have the drive to get myself there. Sadly I can't say that for many people I know. Travel is not everyone's top priority.

When I travel alone I get to be incredibly selfish. I adhere to whatever agenda I want and I get to indulge in any of my little heart's desires. The more I travel the more I realize how difficult it would be having another person with me. I've garnered a 'travel mode' in which I have become incredibly spontaneous and I fear most of it would prove impossible with someone else.

I have to be brave. When I'm lost on the streets of a foreign city at night it's up to me to get myself safely back to the hotel. There is literally no one else to rely on. Sometimes it's thrilling to put yourself in daring circumstances and force yourself to work them out. I enjoy living without a safety net.

I enjoy the purity of being completely immersed in a different land - even if that land is Central Florida. The judgements I make about the cities and people that I have visited alone seem vastly more substantial than those I've made when I've traveled with others. I can't stand the idea that other people can manipulate how I view certain things. I like to make my mind up and then get input.

Suffice it to say, solo travel has completely transformed me. It has forced my to believe in myself -as cheesy as that sounds. When there's no one else to count on, you get to prove just how awesome you truly are.

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