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.
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
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. 🙂