life travel

Other People, and Travelling Alone

You smell really good, pretty kitty!
Credit: Flickr / Takashi Hososhima

My friend and I have been planning a South American adventure in Santiago. I had just finalised all my flights and then she told me… she had been accepted to speak at a really awesome conference and it clashed with our plans.

After we discussed the situation together, she concluded that, ironically, it was thanks to my encouragement that she was able to do this.

Apparently a side effect of starting a newsletter that I had not considered – it might be surprisingly popular, people would find it helpful… and I’d end up on my own in Santiago.

Whilst I was a bit thrown and somewhat disappointed, I’m really happy for and proud of my friend.

Which I feel is tied to a broader life philosophy that I follow when it comes to this kind of thing – I only arrange to do things with other people that I am happy to do by myself.

Without our planning this adventure together, I would probably have booked a flight to Chiang Mai. But South America actually works out slightly better time-zone-wise. And I’m sure it’ll be fine. I am used to travelling alone. I actually love it.

It was work to love it, because it is, at times, harder. I worked at it, and how I did that is one of my more widely read posts and ended up on Lifehacker.

But whenever I waver in this, I think about an ex boyfriend who had this list of things that he had wanted to do but hadn’t wanted to do by himself (not that he exactly made inroads on that list whilst we were together, either).

This is my greatest fear: to miss out on life because I’m waiting for someone to share it with.

I had planned to write about how this was a really good strategy for planning travel with other people – and how solo-travel can be complementary to travelling with other people. And I think this is true.

But outside of travel, I wonder about the broader implications of my need for self-sufficiency. And whether I’m missing out by refusing to rely on other people.

Eventually I concluded that I want a life full of interesting people doing amazing things, and to be that myself. Which means unpredictability, adventure, and at times the prioritisation of something else than what was originally planned. Amazing things require support, but also space and freedom to be achieved. Sometimes the space is harder to give.

3 replies on “Other People, and Travelling Alone”

Gah I think the page ate my past comment. Sorry if this is a dupe. Anyway, the tldr was just that I got much happier in life after I also decided to do the “only arrange to do things with other people that I am happy to do by myself” thing too!

And also, I read MWF Seeking BFF and it was great food for thought, one item of which was that spending that much time socializing on friend dates sounds kind of exhausting. I can do maybe one social event per week, really.

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Hey! Sorry about the page eating your comment. I’m not happy with commenting but don’t have the time + inclination to fix it. Yay! me too. And yes, I find socialising with strangers way more exhausting than with people I know? Making friends is more socially draining than having friends. Kinda like how dating is more socially exhausting than being in a (good) relationship! But it’s worth it eventually 🙂

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