Monday, August 29, 2011
A "solo" moment in Grand Canyon National Park
Many blogs I read have recently asked questions about traveling and/or dining alone. What I found interesting was that the discussion crossed blog community lines and became a topic of conversation in almost every arena I was reading. The questions usually revolved around enjoying a meal in a restaurant alone, taking a roadtrip alone, spending nights in a hotel alone or hiking alone. Since all of the above are things I have been doing for years, enjoy immensely and with which I'm quite comfortable, I'll have to say I've been everything from amused to horrified at some of the responses.
In our weight loss/healthy living blog community, the discussion generally revolved around gaining the confidence to do anything solo and then finding enjoyment in it. In the travel/rv community, it's usually compromise among a couple, single adults wanting to see the world or any individual who prefers the convenience of only have to make decisions for themselves. And in the hiking community, finding true solitude is the #1 reason hikers give for wanting to hike alone. All of the above (along with many other reasons) are worthy motives for choosing to spend time discovering new things on your own.
I became comfortable with the idea of solo travel early in my career simply because it required it. As you well know, I'm a vagabond at heart, so the idea of PAID travel with an expense account was quite appealing for a young 20-something upwardly mobile professional! LOL! Since Mr. B & I were child-free, I never minded the travel at all. The last six years of my career was spent in a job where I was required to LIVE at my worksite for months at a time. Solo travel and living on my own is something I've done for years.
Now, as the happily retired, but still very much a vagabond, wife of a rare bird who loves his job and can't imagine EVER retiring, I am thankful that traveling solo is not only something I'm comfortable with, but is something I truly enjoy. Mr. B and I had some
come-to-Jesus-meetings long talks this summer about our future. The original plan was for him to join me in retirement by now, but that's not going to happen anywhere in the foreseeable future and I've come to accept that. It brings me joy to see him so happy and we are able to achieve the goal of traveling together when he is out of school. For now, that's enough travel for him and he sends me on my way with his full support and genuine desire for me to have a great journey whereever I'm headed. Just make sure there's something in the fridge for his lunch and dinner!!!
There are two kinds of solo trips I specifically enjoy. One is a true solo experience where I travel alone from start to finish. All decisions are mine up to and including how much coffee I drink which dictates how often I have to make pit stops! I mean, REALLY! What fun is a roadtrip without a big mug of steaming coffee alongside? What I see, where I eat, what I eat or don't eat, when I stop, the type of accommodations I choose, when I head home, whether I'm silent or whether I listen to music, when I choose to interact with others - all those decisions are mine and there is a certain freedom in knowing that. The other solo trip I enjoy is the one where I travel alone, but have an end destination or stops along the way that include time with someone else. In that experience, I think you get the best of all worlds. It is through that kind of road trip that I hope to meet many of you!
A "solo" moment in Rocky Mountain National Park
This year, one of my goals is to plan a roadtrip each week. It won't always be solo, but my guess is that most of the time, it will be! My roadtrips might be a few hours or a few days. It might be something new or somewhere I've been a thousand times. It might be to visit a friend or it might be a drive across the country to visit YOU!! Who knows? This I do know - I am excited and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you.
I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and when you read this early Monday morning, I will already be headed out on this week's roadtrip. I'm headed to very familiar territory with some new things thrown in. I'm headed UP to cooler elevations and a spectacular weather forecast is predicted. I'm excited!
A "solo" moment in Pisgah National Forest
Robbinsville, NC - October, 2010
I've thought a lot about this idea of solo travel because I think it's important that all of us are comfortable enough in our own skin to relish times of solitude. Yes, we can, and should, learn many things from the lives and actions of others, but I also believe things of great importance can only be revealed to us through moments when we are moving through life alone. We can become stronger by stepping out of our comfort zones and walking boldly into circumstances that might be unusual to us. We find the ability and the desire to see things through the eyes of someone else. We all need to find the energy, the motivation and the desire to fly "solo" from time to time. My friend, Cammy (just back from her own roadtrip) wrote a while back that she sometimes enjoys going out for frozen yogurt on her own because it's fun to simply sit back and observe the people around her with undivided attention. I think she made a great point!
You don't have to take off on a roadtrip - I know lots of people who shudder at the thought of a roadtrip PERIOD, much less on their own. And that's o.k. Find something you enjoy and just once, try it ALL BY YOURSELF! Much as I loved Three Dog Night, their insistence that One Is the Loneliest Number is just plain wrong. I challenge you to discover that for yourself! You won't be sorry.
I just have to ask! Who will admit to being able to name at least five Three Dog Night songs and who didn't have a clue what I was talking about???
What was the last thing you did "solo?" Will you commit to trying something "solo" this week?