I travel alone.
I love it. I love meeting people. I love finding lessons in uncomfortable moments.
My trip to California was no exception.
The biggest / most surprising lesson was that loneliness in solo traveling is very real. This is a feeling I don't often experience - not because I’m never alone, but because I am normally ok to just be.
I solidified fairly quickly that I’m an extremely extroverted person - I’m charged up by being around others and drained when I have too much alone time.
The second half of my trip, I rented a car in LA and drove to San Diego with no plan. I had no idea what I wanted to do or see, I just knew that I would find hostels and meet people along the way - this is not unusual for me and the way I travel. I learned California in October is not super busy, and there are not a lot of hostels between LA and SD.
It started in the rain on the Santa Monica pier - I wanted to ride the ferris wheel. I got there, ready to go on and was told I couldn't ride alone.
This exact minute set the stage for the solo commuting days that followed. They were full of wandering around aimlessly, staying in private hotel rooms + empty hostels, and spending nights alone on my beach blanket + in pubs with locals in tiny towns I had never heard of who had no interest in making more friends.
To be clear, I also love being alone. I spend a lot of time alone and I don't mind going for a solo meal or manicure, but spending 2 or 3 full days not connecting with anyone is exhausting when that’s what you love to do. I also thoroughly enjoyed my trip to California and the people I did meet + spent time with were quality people, like I-just-met-you-last-weekend-and-I’m-crashing-on-your-couch kind of good people. Most of the trip was full of beautiful conversations, magical interactions and serendipitous moments. I think the biggest take-away was that, for the first time ever, I experienced wishing I wasn’t alone.
Since then, my trip planning has shifted. I find myself wanting to share experiences, I want to find like minded people that will adventure with me. I learned that while letting go of attachment is necessary to travel, and to find the space to grow + learn - I think it’s important for me to have things to look forward to, a reason for getting on the plane in the first place, an intention.
I also learned, sometimes I want someone else to make the decision on where to eat next.