This past November, I took a road trip alone up through Big Sur to Monterey, California. I’ve never been much of a world traveler but also had never traveled on my own before. I have girlfriends who have taken long weekend solo trips to Italy, London, Canada. I didn’t think I was quite that adventurous (plus I’m not that thrilled about flying), so I felt like if they can do that, then I can surely take a road trip by myself to Northern California. I mean, I wasn’t even leaving the state. I was somewhat apprehensive about traveling solo; it felt so out of character for me. I have always wished I was more adventurous but as I’m a clear introvert, it never seemed to be in the stars for me.
Driving there took about 8 hours and during that time I listened to hours of podcasts and music, and at times driving in absolute silence. It was so relaxing to not have to feel like I needed to talk and entertain another person. It gave me a chance to just think (or to not think at all).
It was refreshing to be able to do what I wanted without worrying about someone else having opinions or their own agenda. Some people expressed to me that it might be lonely traveling alone. And I have to agree somewhat; I enjoyed everything that I did and saw but I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if I had another person to share the experience with. I may be outgoing, but I’m not as confident striking up a conversation with a random stranger as some of my other traveling friends are. And it may have felt lonely sometimes, but I was still okay. It challenged me.
I do believe that as women, it is important to travel alone, at least once. Besides the obvious reasons, that it helps women gain independence and confidence, it also shatters the idea of a comfort zone. That was my biggest hurdle in taking this trip.
Sometimes I feel a little sheltered, and I admit that my own fears and idea of a comfort zone are a large reason for that. But I’ve found that you have to force yourself to try something new in order to evolve and grow as a person. I’m working on that spontaneous quality in myself, but I’ve also accepted that it’s okay if I’m more comfortable making plans, and having a set schedule. Because that’s who I am.
I have a few small road trips planned for the coming months and I hope to be able to travel with family or friends. But I know that if I end up going alone, I can and will do it. And I’ll make the most of it.
What do you think of this idea? Would you be comfortable taking a road trip or even a transcontinental trip alone? Do you feel like you would be missing out on something by never traveling solo?