There are a myriad of articles presently circulating the Web about how empowering it is to travel alone and why it should be on everyone's bucket list. It's trending to go on an adventure with just your own company.
While I can fully appreciate how many would adore this notion, I also think it may not be for everyone.
For an introvert, like myself, traveling alone was not the self-discovery I was envisioning. I have seen a good part of the world, but never on my own. Recently I was ready to get out of my comfort zone and break out of my shell.
Yet in the end I found it rather lonely and paradoxically dependent on Wi-Fi.
Truth is, I am shy. I am reserved until someone else opens up to me; from there I trust you as if I've known you forever. Until then, I stand in the shadows and pray I blend into the walls whenever I'm made to feel uncomfortable.
Ironically, I am a confident person overall. I am confident in my ability to navigate through life with a set of skills I've developed and a heart of gold I've nurtured. I've taken risks, I've asserted myself, and I've reached goals I didn't see possible.
But the bottom line is: I would rather see the world with more company than just me, myself and I. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Eating alone is just not fun to me. No matter what I do I cannot help but think the group to my left and to my right is wondering why I have no friends. I do, I swear! I'm just on this, you know, self-discovery thing...
- You can't truly share an experience. If I try something really delicious I can text someone a picture, but I can't really experience it with them. How do you accurately explain the world's best tacos to someone via Snapchat?
- I probably miss out on epic pictures. Photographs of just the skyline may eventually turn dull, and unless a nice person offers to take my picture I'll always avoid the anxiety of asking a group of strangers for one.
- My cellphone dies a lot quicker. I'm the one constantly keeping the group chats alive and checking what the rest of the world is doing on social media when I'm done being a makeshift tourist.
- I make friends quickly, but... When someone normal approaches me when I'm alone I'm immediately his or her best friend; it may or may not come off as too forward or creepy out of desperation for human contact.
- I make friends quickly, but... When someone not so normal approaches me I try to avoid eye contact, or speak another language, and speed walk away while not thinking about whom they would cast as my character on the next Taken.
- Going to a bar alone is basically an introvert's hell. To smile or not to smile? Interrupt their conversations or just stand next to them and find a moment to enter a witty statement... or just stand there silently because I'm more scared to move than to speak at this point?
- Freshening up in the bathroom is basically a haven. Finally, I'm alone within a public space just for a moment to breathe. I can text without looking a certain way and update all of my friends on how not #awk I am.
- Dancing with friends is better than dancing alone. So is drinking with friends and sharing stories with family.
Of course, seeing the brilliant sites of the world is amazing in its own regard, but I'd prefer to share in the awe and excitement with someone close to me. And while I do believe getting lost on purpose can be exciting, it can be equally terrifying when you do it alone - at least for an introvert.
Personally I believe experiences are just better when you have someone to share them with, memories last longer when there's someone you can recount them with, and life is richer when you fill it with moments and the people that made them.
The most important thing I learned is that that's okay.
It's okay that I'd rather be with people. It's okay that I would rather live in the moment with my family or friends and talk about it for years down the road. It's okay that I don't enjoy being out of my comfort zone because at least I tried.
I want to be spontaneous and crazy and reckless and free... but I'd rather it be more than just me.
That does not make me any certain way, and it is not a bad thing. I want my loved ones to see the world with me versus just through their cellphone screens.
I am introverted and that's fine, because I'm plenty of other wonderful things that make me who I am. Maybe one day I'll change my mind, but today the fact of the matter is that traveling solo just isn't for me.
Someday, my self-discovery will be something meant for me and not the masses. Sometimes, you won't remember the destination as much as what happened there.
I'd like to see the world, but I think I'd like you to see it with me.