I have a trip to the Caribbean planned for a few weeks from now.
I can’t decide if I should go.
I have no problem traveling solo. In fact, I probably like it a little too much. When I travel with people now I get all squirrely, like “how am I on vacation yet being forced to do a thing that is not the exact thing I want to do at the exact time I want to do it!” Of course by the end of the trip that tends to be outweighed by the laughs and the splitting of cabs, and all things considered I’d rather have a travel partner, but overall I am not a person who gets bored alone or nervous about eating alone, etc.
My only solo travel issue is the motivation. It’s one thing to drive a few hours, go to a museum or a battlefield, and eat Chinese food in a Holiday Inn. But feeling confident in getting on a plane and spending unnecessary money without any encouragement from a travel buddy is a tough task.
Explaining to people that you’re getting on a plane alone to sit on a beach alone is an even tougher task. So I just don’t do it. I don’t think I’ve told anyone outside of my immediate family about any of my solo trips that weren’t work mandated. There’s always something inside me that feels dumb about it. What is wrong with me that I don’t have anyone at the ready for trips and that I’m happy spending time with me? Also it’s people’s responses that make me feel dumb. In asking people’s advice about whether I should go, I heard:
“You should just save your money.”
“You’ll get kidnapped.”
“You’ll get sex trafficked.”
“Don’t you think it’s a waste?”
When’s the last time a couple said they were going on vacation and anyone responded with anything other than “Ooh can I fit in your suitcase?”
But these questions all resonate (except the kidnapping ones) because they are in the back of my mind.
Despite the fact that I save 1/3 of my paycheck each month, I feel guilty making an unnecessary expenditure. (Did I mention the trip was part of a prize so I have 3 free nights and free airfare?) Despite that fact that I think I’ve used 10 sick days total (out of 60–and they don’t roll over) in 5 years at my job, I feel guilty taking 2 consecutive days off. Without someone else in on it, it’s hard to feel like I deserve to spend the money and the time on myself.
And society backs me up.
Traveling alone often costs twice as much. Every article about traveling alone is “why you can handle it” and “how to not die from being alone.” Every person you encounter requires you to repeat yourself: “yes, just one.”
If I don’t go, it’s fine. I will save the money. I will watch 32 hours of Gilmore Girls. I will go to work and sit there while my clients do the exact same things they would do if I weren’t there. I will be safe and unjudged.
Or I can go and be tan and drink a $20 pina colada and read at least 2 books and swim with dolphins and walk on a beach at sunset.
I have 7 days to decide.
What are your experiences with solo travel and being judged for traveling alone? Is it worth it?
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