Friday, May 3, 2013

On Making the Switch to Solo Travel

Times change (if you let them)
I've traveled on my own before. A few times, and as scary as it seemed to start with, I did it. And I loved it. But for the past four years of travel, I've been doing it as part of a couple. I've become accustomed to relying on someone, leaning on them when things get rough, or stressful, or just when I want to talk excitedly non-stop about something we've seen, done or ate. Traveling as a twosome became my norm and I got really comfortable with it.

And then there was one
Recently, things changed. It wasn't something I saw coming or that I had expected. But, three weeks following a two-month trip I went from being part of a couple to being on my own. Well, not really since we're still (awkwardly) sharing a space, but aside from that minor detail, my days of traveling as a couple have (for now) come to an end. As much as the whole breakup thing sucks in general (and oh, it does), it also got me thinking about the way I travel and how that, along with several other things in my life, will require a re-boot.

There will no longer be someone to plan a trip with, to pore over guide books with, to debate routes, choose must-see spots or pack with. There will be no one to travel with. And that feels really weird. Change feels really weird. But does change need to be bad? A breakup forces a lot of change, and more often than not, it was probably necessary (even if, like me, you just can't see it yet). So now, along with where I'm living and how I define myself, I'll be changing how I travel.

Solo travel, take two
It's been a while since I traveled without someone to lean on (literally and figuratively) or someone to defer to when big decision need to be made. But that doesn't mean I'm not up for the job. It's just that right now, the idea of solo travel, after so much couples travel lately, is a little terrifying. I think I need to get reacquainted with the idea, remember the rush of taking a trip alone, refocus on what I stand to gain from the experience as a traveler and as a person. 

I'm not rushing out the door tomorrow, but the next trip I plan and that I take will be much different than the trips I've taken lately. My travel experience will be changed, I will be changed - but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Have you made the switch from couples to solo travel? How was it?

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