Traveling Alone June 2013

Today is my fourth day of travel. I’ve camped out two nights and stayed with a friend one night. This trip is unique because it’s the first time I’ve ever traveled alone. It’s also the first I’ve ever left for an indefinite period of time with no “home” to go back to. I’ve already had plenty of time to think - perhaps too much.

Traveling alone has not been so bad so far. The main issue I have is that visiting touristy places like Yellowstone alone is awkward - I’ve met very, very, very few others that are traveling alone. Most are families and couples. I’ve seen a few small groups of friends. But being alone when nobody else is alone sucks. Being alone in a crowd is infinitely more lonely than being alone in the woods. So while I enjoy some things like biking, driving, visiting coffee shops, and cities alone, I despise visiting touristy areas alone: people give me funny looks, as if I’ve lost my group. No, sorry people, I don’t have a group. I think part of what is so lonely about it is that when people are in groups, they are so closed off to meeting new people (without realizing it) and thus it is difficult to meet new people. When people are alone, they are open and vulnerable and it becomes very easy to meet new people and make friends quickly. And worse, people ask if I’m traveling alone with a tone of voice that suggests they feel sorry for me. I hate that - I love being alone for brief periods in life as it allows me to think more clearly and focus on my own goals and interests without having to accomodate the interests of others. Friends and family are important, but there are benefits to the occasional time spent alone.