Let me first start by saying that David is my favorite travel buddy ever. We complement each other very well and share the same interests/priorities. Ahem, landmarks (without long history lessons) are sure’s, museums are maybe’s, zoos are almost never, but finding the best places to eat and drink are a must! I plan, he navigates. When my itinerary fails, he improvises and calms my crazy. When I walk sluggishly, he pulls my luggage for me. When I have tummy aches, he gives me pep talks about public restrooms and waits with me. When I have my resting bitch face on, he strikes friendly convos with people. I always feel safe (and less awkward) having David next to me.
That said, I also love the opportunities that I have to travel alone. When you’re in a relationship, you get used to doing everything together. You become a package deal. If your significant other isn’t accompanying you at a social function, you’ll for sure be asked “Where’s ____?” multiple times, almost as if something’s wrong. It’s easy to feel guilty, insecure, left out, or think that “things won’t be as fun” if one of you makes big plans without the other. I’ve come to realize though that it’s important and healthy to allow each other the freedom to enjoy individual time, experiences and space (given that there is mutual understanding, respect and support).
Recently, I went on a somewhat spontaneous solo expedition to Denver and Boston thanks to JetBlue’s awesome $31 flight sale. My friends think I’m brave for venturing by myself. I think of it as being the most empowered version of “me.” There’s always challenges that come with being in an unfamiliar area. It’s gratifying to know and be reminded that I am fully self-capable on my own, without relying on anyone else. Being comfortable with yourself and by yourself builds a refreshing sense of confidence.
When I travel on my own, I never map out detailed agendas. Surprising, right? I try to practice going with the flow. I’m responsible for my personal happiness and desires – my own time, my own pace. I ended up at this river because I happened to pass by it and got off the subway without even thinking about it.
Profound moments come often, but sometimes I completely zone out and simply take in the beauty around me. There were so many times that I said “wow” out loud. See that Macy’s bag up there in the above photo? I climbed on top too, dangled my feet and watched the sunset in peace.
In spirit of Halloween, I proudly roamed Denver all day with this light-up headband. Someone pointed out my “silly” hat, and I laughed too. Shameless selfie on a new level.
When restaurants ask “Just one…?” I happily say yes. Eating alone is particularly enjoyable when I don’t have to pause in between my bites to carry a conversation or laugh at someone’s joke. 100% focus on the food.
I also finally went to some wineries and late-night bars by myself. That was a first. It wasn’t scary, but it confirmed that small talks are not my forte.
In between all the explorations, I do get lost sometimes. I end up on the wrong bus or opposite direction…but eventually, I always find my way. Isn’t that life?
This trip has inspired me to continue my solo expeditions to Taiwan and Korea next year – Michelle, I’m coming for you!
I’m so grateful for the flexibility that I have to pursue my love of travel and adventure. With every new discovery, the inner “me” grows with new epiphanies and outlooks. I feel more connected to myself and the world. Of course, coming home to David is the best silver lining to every trip’s ending. I go on and on with my latest collection of OMG and LOL stories; he resumes to “What do you want to eat?” and takes a deep sigh of relief knowing I made it back safely.