Missing Solo Travel

I recently got back from a trip with my friends. I’ve traveled in groups for most of my travels but for some reason, this one is drove me a little crazy. My friends are great and chill, so it was kind of hard to pinpoint why. I think I just missed being able to do whatever I want. So much so that I ditched them. Twice.

Yeah, I know, I wasn’t being that great of a friend. I’m incredibly selfish, which is one of many reasons I won’t be in a relationship any time soon. And I’ve never had a problem before with the little things bugging me now. Some of the things I mention here are already listed in my Reasons to Travel Solo post, but there are many more specific examples here. Before, I just knew I liked traveling alone. Now, I think I need it.

Going at your own pace

I value this so much more after this trip. I was always okay with going with the group before, but now that I got that taste of freedom, it’s hard to go back to not being in control. I don’t mind waiting in lines for something I don’t really care about if it’s a sporadic thing. It’s about the people, right? But… every day? By the third day, I was exhausted from sticking to the group’s pace.

Here’s an example: we went to a casino. Which is fine. It was interesting. But then one of us decided to gamble. Again, fine. But I was bored in 15 minutes (maybe less). I had no idea whether I was waiting for him to run out of money or win double. For whatever reason, we were all huddled around him just waiting for something to happen.
Vancouver Steam Clock Plaque
I mean, they’re there for you to read. From my first trip to Vancouver.
Here’s another example: I like to read. Books, articles, signs, menus, bios, whatever. It keeps my mind occupied. So when we walked down Vancouver’s waterfront, my first instinct was to stop by each plaque and read it. But there are quite a few and the group is walking, and I can’t expect them to wait around for me to finish. And I don’t expect them to. In fact, I don’t want them to. It’s just awkward and uncomfortable to force people to wait around for me, and it’s just as annoying to have to run to catch up.

Yet another example. (I promise this is the last since it’s starting to feel like a rant.) We went to Sunset Beach and it was beautiful. For about ten minutes. Then I got bored, okay? I’m not classy, I’m not an artist, and I don’t enjoy sitting and staring at a beach. So I would leave and come back every ten minutes to touch base since I didn’t have an international plan. Until the last time when I asked how long we would be staying. “Half an hour to forty-five minutes” is the answer I got, so I went and came back in thirty minutes only to find that they were all waiting for me. Apparently, they’d called me, but I left my phone on Airplane Mode to avoid Verizon’s Travel Pass charges. #Awks. But not exactly my fault either.

It’s exhausting having to go faster or slower to match a group’s speed.

Knowing what the hell is going on

When you’re traveling solo, you know exactly what’s going on: when you’re getting on, what stop you’re getting off, where you’re headed to, maybe even the fact that there is absolutely no plan. One of the most frustrating aspects of this trip was that I had to ask where we were going between every attraction or ask for the schedule at the beginning of every day. I had no idea which stop we were getting off at until I saw someone stand up. If two people were arguing which direction a stop was, I had to stand there and watch them figure it out. It felt like being a child dragged along on a family trip.

Doing what you want

This is totally how I sleep. Except without the makeup, and I wear a t-shirt with gym shorts. My mouth might be open, too…
I’m lazy and I sleep a lot. Sometimes, I like to take a nap in the middle of the day. But that’s just not a thing you do when you’re traveling with your friends. I also like staying in bed for a while after waking up. And eating breakfast an hour or so after that. If the group doesn’t get breakfast, I don’t get breakfast. Which makes me sad. 🙁 Again, it’s a little thing since I could just wait until lunch, but it’s weird and tiring to go with the herd all the time.

Dealing with different comfort zones

Not everyone’s okay with skydiving or shady areas. Okay, we weren’t going to go skydiving. But there was this park I wanted to go to in the morning. I’m not saying my naiveté is a good thing, but I didn’t really care about the rando talking to us in broad daylight near the entrance. Unfortunately, I do think it’s what deterred my companion from wanting to go in. This was a little thing, but traveling with a group of five means dealing with five different comfort zones. This could influence your plans whether your zone is on one end or the other.

Splitting the bill

We split and shared meals all the time; lots of family styles. I’m not always in love with this because I always order excessive amounts of food. (It’s not unusual for me to order two entrees with the intention of bringing half of each home.) And in a bigger group of people where random pairs share random things or not everyone eats everything, it’s annoying to split unless everyone’s on board with dividing things equally. And as soon as one person gets nitpicky, I want to get annoying right back. But hey, be proud of me, I didn’t.

This isn’t to say I’ll never travel with people again. Because I will. But I’ll be sure to leave some personal days in between, perhaps just meet up with people for lunch or dinner. Just whatever to avoid being a suckish friend and not go crazy. 🙂

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