And by “travel”, I don’t necessarily mean hopping on some expensive flight and staying at a luxury resort. In my experience, so many people haven’t explored the places they live and work at, and often miss the gems around them that other people take a long trip to see! So by “travel” I simply mean to explore and do things: go on a hike, out to eat, to a concert, with or without somebody to do it with.
In the past year, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to explore places alone, from a long layover to taking extra days at the tail end of a college department organized service trip, to excursions and nights out alone in Houston, where I spent the summer and had few connections. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and exploring with other people too, and that has its benefits that are unique from the experience when rolling solo. However, through these opportunities, I’ve had awesome experiences that I wouldn’t have been matched if I were with somebody.
From walking over 30 blocks in San Francisco instead of taking BART just because it was a good day and I wanted to take it all in, to a spontaneous decision to rent a kayak in Austin, being on your own allows you to explore with no compromises (except with your wallet!) about what you want to do. And with all that time you spend thinking about others and what they do or don’t want to do, I think it’s important to take some time and just do what you want to. What I’ve also learned is nobody cares if you’re eating out, going to a concert, or doing anything else alone. As Tom and Donna in Parks and Rec put it, “treat yo self”. It’s during those 6 mile hikes, the gaps between artists at a concert, rental-bike rides at iconic monuments, and amazing dining experiences I enjoyed alone this year that I felt like I grew the most this year. Here are some random pictures from my solo adventures: