Everybody gets the traveling bug, but how do you feel about traveling alone? You finally muster up the courage to actually invest in a trip you’ve been planning for months. You start getting ecstatic as the plans become more in place. So much so that you begin extending invites. Soon a coworker is in for the ride. Then a close friend within your circle suddenly becomes available. Before you know it, you’ve got at least two cars worth of people ready for an awesome weekend!
But then you guys start coordinating plans. All of a sudden the way you imagined your trip going, it’s now quite the opposite. On the road, friends and coworkers start suggesting ideas and stops that were neither in your plan or budget. Of course, to keep the peace, you go along with the suggestions. Hell, some of these suggestions don’t even sound half bad.
However, despite branching off from original plans and having fun with your friends’ suggestions, you can’t help but feel like you didn’t really get out of the trip what you wanted. Maybe you imagined more bar hopping. Or you might have wanted to stay put in a town a lot longer than the time actually spent there. When it’s all said and done, these are the little details you can’t help but recall.
This is why traveling alone can be such a good thing.
How Traveling Alone Can Be Therapeutic
When you think of traveling, you often think of memories; all the goofy things that either yourself or your company will do. The new things you’ll see and explore together. The random, sometimes insane conversations on the way there and back. These are all, of course, valid reasons to invite the buddies. However, what if you just took off all by yourself? What if you just hit the open road with no one to worry about but yourself?
When I was stationed in England, I used to never imagine traveling by myself. For one, I was a youngin’ (18-20). Since the legal drinking age in England is 18 and our military abides by the host nation’s drinking laws, my attention was focused elsewhere. But when I did travel, I was never the one to come up with the idea. I never had the plans. I was always along for the ride if I were invited and always had an incredible time. Despite the good times, I never thought about just picking up and traveling alone when I had the chance. I mean, I was only stationed in one of the most popular well-known and historical countries in the world; one with neighboring countries just as rich and diverse in culture and history as itself.
Just Hit The Open Road
It wasn’t until I was getting ready to separate from the Air Force that I discovered the euphoric appeal of traveling alone. To get out of the house I stayed at in Vegas, one with four other residents, I had to drive. Just drive.
Sometimes it was just to run errands at the Wal Mart across the town in North Las Vegas. Other times it was to hit The Strip, have a few drinks, and talk with the tourists and locals. Then there were the times I just needed to hit the open road. I mean get the hell out of dodge.
There aren’t too many things that beat being on the open road at 2 pm, your own choice of music blaring, and no destination in mind. All of a sudden your mind is unshackled. When you were once thinking of simple, obvious trips that tourists often go on every weekend, now you’re realizing that the world is truly yours to explore.
The Endless Possibilities Discovered When Traveling Alone
I’m drawing mostly off of my driving experience, but make no mistake I’ve done my share of alternative traveling as well. As majestic as it is to see the beautiful landscape from the air, there’s just something about being on the open road that can’t be beaten.
For one, you have the option of completely traveling alone when you’re on the road (unless of course, you’re a pilot). You have the complete freedom to be on your own time. Literally nobody to alter your plans and no other outside factor other than local weather to stop you from just doing.
After I got out of the military, one of the first things I did was use my new-found freedom to explore via driving, travel backpack in hand of course. With my hometown of Yuma, AZ only a 5 1/2 hour drive south and Phoenix only about 4, I was always hitting the road. Not to mention Los Angeles was only 4 1/2 hours west and San Diego 6 hours.
Some of us don’t mind solitude. In fact, most of us need that solitude. There is no other place you’ll find solitude, peace, and answers than traveling alone on the open road. Sometimes all I’d bring is another pair of underwear and shirt and call it a weekend. It wouldn’t even have to be that far from Vegas sometimes. One weekend, I spent the night out at the Red Rock Canyon Casino near the national park of the same name, about 25 minutes west of Las Vegas. There I had one of the greatest nights of my life just enjoying the luxuries of the casino and the surrounding beautiful scenery. Nowhere in the country will you find sedimentary rocks so finely colored and layered. All this and it was cheap and all by myself.
Discovering Yourself, Your Surroundings, And The World
Traveling alone definitely has its share of perks. Not only are you in control of your trip, you’re also in a judgement-free zone. Unless of course, your hardest critic is yourself, which isn’t a bad thing. Being by yourself while getting away, whether you’re the one driving or you’re taking other means of transportation, allows room for introspection.
And plenty of it.
Especially en route to somewhere new where you’re subjecting yourself to a different and unique experience. When you’re alone and exploring new places, you gain a level of respect and understanding of that place and culture. This is even if you’re just traveling only thirty minutes away from where you stay!
I’d say my favorite part about traveling alone is the “me time” I get. It doesn’t matter how I travel, whether I’m driving or if it’s by bus or airfare, I always figure so much out when I’m out there and undistracted. Undistracted is the keyword. There’s something to be said about the freedom of having an unoccupied mind. You add this to the fact that you’re about to go on a whole new journey with new pictures and experiences to share, and you can see how traveling alone can be therapeutic.
Try It Out For Yourself!
Discover the amazing, therapeutic experience of traveling alone. It may sound nerve-wracking at first, but when you wake up that morning already packed, do your final walk-around to check house security, and head out the door, you’ll quickly see that euphoria fills your mind, body, and soul almost instantly. Of course, I’m not saying don’t travel buddies. That too is one of the greatest joys on this blessed Earth. I am, however, saying don’t underestimate the beauty, pleasure, and unique experience traveling by yourself. Appreciate the break from your regular reality as well as your solitude and independence. Take this time to regroup, meditate, breathe, and focus on the moment. Come back to yourself and cherish your current situation. Then come back home and share your experience through pictures, writing, and stories!
I hope you enjoyed my reasons why traveling alone is good for the soul. For more stories and articles like this one and other lifestyle story and tips, be sure to follow my lifestyle and recreation blog at Anthonyjrichard.com!
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