I’ve always been interested in what we do and don’t do by ourselves and what factors factor into those decisions. Surprised and touched by all the positive responses to my recent solo Mexico trip, I thought Cheese-Its would find solo trips by others inspiring and motivating as well. So, sharing!
This Guest Post is by Laura Kamps, a Fear Experiment℠ a capella’er who’s been enjoying Party of One’ing for years. I love her history, her philosophy, AND that I had a tiny part in her latest venture as she booked her Ireland trip due to seeing an amazing flight deal ($435 RT if I remember correctly!) I shared via my Facebook page, which I do often to encourage people to travel as much as they can. As Laura figured out long ago, travel is one of the most Life of Yes℠’y things you can do.
I love to travel. I want to see as much of the world as I can. But I’ve also been single a long time. As a never-married woman edging 40, I long ago came to realize that my lack of a significant other would not prevent me from going where I want to go, with some concerns for safety notwithstanding. I conquered the fear of party of one vacations.
I think I got the taste for solo adventures in college when I participated in a European summer backpacking study abroad program. While I wasn’t alone that summer, I started the summer traveling overseas alone to meet a group of strangers. During that time, I found joy in wandering European cities on my own, whether it was to find the London Real World house (hey, I was 20 and it was the mid 90s, the Real World was still a thing) or going to the Vienna ferris wheel from Before Sunrise (no Ethan Hawke to be found). My mom might’ve worried, but my ability to navigate streets from memory had me excited to explore by myself.
A couple years later, another study abroad program, this time in London during a summer in law school. While I had flatmates and other friends from school around, I embraced London and England on my own. I took day trips to Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, and Canterbury. I went to Wimbledon. I was a frequent visitor to the West End theatre. I loved London and this experience planted the seeds for my first completely solo trip.
London is my favorite place that I have been. I love the history, the art, the theater, the shopping, the character, and the accent. I want to return whenever I can. And I’ve done it twice by myself. I made my first solo trip there in 2004. I went completely alone for several days. I saw shows, took endless pictures, and just wandered my favorite city. People thought I was a bit nuts. I know my mother was worried. But when I get the chance to go there, I go. I repeated this adventure in 2009. I don’t want to miss an opportunity because I don’t have a boyfriend or a friend who can swing the journey. It’s something I prioritize. My happiness in traveling is far greater than my fear of going it alone.
Since then I have traveled for short trips to San Francisco twice. On the second trip, I took a tour of the Napa and Sonoma wine country, and made friends with a handful of others—and am still in Facebook contact with them a few years later. I’ve conquered New York City on 27-hour sprint from South Street Seaport to the West Village and Broadway to Central Park.
Most recently, I took my biggest solo adventure to Ireland. Unlike London, San Francisco and New York, I’d never been to Ireland so I had no knowledge base or vague familiarity for navigating Dublin. I was lucky to have a friend in Galway so I wasn’t alone my entire journey, but even if I hadn’t had a generous friend, I would’ve gone anyway. Being alone shouldn’t be scary. Sometimes these solo trips energize me more than others, but I don’t regret a single one. Embracing travel trumps any worry that I can’t find a person to share the journey. My life is the journey.