Don’t Let the Thought of Traveling Solo (or Semi-Solo) Stop You!

Two things happened in the last year and a half that have resulted in me finding myself typing in a hotel room in Shanghai right now.

First, my husband began working in the travel industry and secondly, my youngest child went off to college this past fall.  I found myself out of my previous “job”, full-time mom, and suddenly with the ability to tag along with my husband on some of his many business trips.  Whoo hoo!

As much as I miss my kids (that would be a lot!), I am really relishing this opportunity to rediscover myself, my own interests, and more of the world at large.  I have always loved to travel and now I find myself in the truly blessed position of being able to do so!

The only downside of going on these business trips is that my husband is working for the most part and I’m on my own a lot.  As much as I enjoy his company and appreciate having him along, I’ve learned to really appreciate the time I am spending on my own too.

The upside is that I get to do what I want, not what anyone else wants!  What a strange feeling after 20 years of raising two boys (or three, sometimes)!  I can wander and explore to my heart’s content with nary a zipline in sight!

Zip lining in Mexico
Zip lining in Mexico

Don’t get me wrong, I love that my family of guys challenges me and what I think I might enjoy or am capable of—otherwise, I would never have ziplined through a jungle, ridden a Segway through Boston, or climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, among other things (yes, they were lots of fun, but I don’t know that I need a repeat either!).

Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This would have actually been ok to do alone (if I was inclined to do this sort of thing in the first place.).
Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This would have actually been ok to do alone (if I was inclined to do this sort of thing in the first place.).

But I also love that I can shop, or eat, or wander as much as I like!

I took my time browsing Eataly in NYC!
I took my time browsing Eataly in NYC!

Another unexpected benefit has been that I’ve met all kinds of nice and interesting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  I’ve visited museums and wandered temples with a ladies I met randomly (one in a cooking class we happened to take together, and another on the subway as we both looked lost clutching similar maps in our hands!).

Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan. I explored this area with a fellow solo traveler I met along the way.
Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan. I explored this area with a fellow solo traveler I met along the way.

I’ve spent the day with other travelers with similar interests and interesting life stories to tell.  I’m mostly shy and introverted but traveling alone has forced me to make conversation with others and that has been one of the biggest blessings!  And the more I have done it, the easier it has become.

I took a walking tour to Brooklyn while my husband had business meetings in New York City. Walking tours are a great way to meet people and sightsee in a small group setting
I took a walking tour to Brooklyn while my husband had business meetings in New York City. Walking tours are a great way to meet people and sightsee in a small group setting

So, in some future blog posts, I will be detailing a bit more about my semi-solo wanderings, and some advice or tips from my experience.  Mainly, though, I want to encourage others who might be thinking of travel faced with the prospect of doing it alone to JUST DO IT!  It can be intimidating at first but it gets easier and it is soooo rewarding at the end of the day!

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