Most of us have canceled a trip because of an unreliable travel companion. It has happened to me a few times and I’ve found myself missing out on opportunities to explore the world and experience new things. So for the first time, when my friend bailed on a summer trip to Santa Cruz, California, I decided not to let it ruin my plans. Of course, I had to modify the plan a little, focusing on solo activities and finding a cheaper place to stay. But those were easy to figure out once I had specific goals for my vacation. For a whole week, I surfed, hiked, skydived, and ate delicious food – and now I want to share my thoughts on why it turned into such a great vacation.
I used to be afraid of traveling alone, worried about getting lost or going to a restaurant by myself. However, during my last trip, I discovered that those experiences were nothing to be afraid of and were actually some of the more enlightening aspects of my trip.
While traveling alone, I could do anything. I didn’t even have to plan ahead. I am used to rigorously planning all my travel; particularly if my friends and I wanted to do something we could all enjoy together. Alone, I could focus on what I wanted and make spontaneous decisions. For example, on the eve of my last day in California it suddenly struck me that I should do something memorable. I went ahead and tried skydiving. I don’t think spontaneity is necessarily better than planning ahead, but it was a very enjoyable experience and showed me a completely new way to travel. I find it especially convenient if you want to do something unusual like skydiving.
One of the things I really enjoyed while traveling alone is that I had time to reflect on each day. When traveling with friends I could share my appreciation with the person next to me, though as much as I enjoy talking with my friends, it was equally enriching to absorb experiences by myself. All of the things that I did, saw, and felt were entirely mine. At the end of the trip, I felt more rested and relaxed despite physically doing more than I would have had I gone with my friends. Traveling alone can be a good way to get away from your everyday life and immerse wholly in yourself.
I learned a lot during my trip to Santa Cruz. While I still appreciate traveling with others, I’m no longer afraid to discover new places without company.