2013: The end of solo female travel?
This year, I’ve been on 16 flights, two train rides and countless subway rides. I have my carry-on bag packing down to an art form and know the route to the airport like the back of my hand. Despite settling into a fixed life in New York City, there has been more than enough travel to keep my wandering heart content.
Despite all of my most independent intentions, none of those trips have been alone. About half have been for work–grateful for a job that has sent me to Las Vegas and San Francisco and Miami—and while I have luxuriated in having a hotel room all to myself, even those trips have either been with a coworker who doubles as a good friend or book-ended with visits to friends and family.
My first press trip in Jordan resulted in finding a travel twin who has become a good (if long-distance!) friend. Roadtripping around Iceland with my BFF was the best birthday gift I could have asked for. World Domination Summit in Portland was a reunion of friends I’d made across the globe. Sacramento was a glorious chance to soak up the sunshine, eat delicious home-cooked meals and catch up with friends and family.
I booked Thanksgiving in Montreal and Christmas in Puerto Rico on a whim, simply because I wanted to take advantage of having a few days off and because I was in a bit of an adventure rut. I didn’t consult anyone on what dates worked best for them or where they’d prefer to go; I did what would make me happiest. But when I mentioned my plans to my boyfriend, he sweetly inquired as to whether I’d want some company in Montreal—and when I messaged my favorite road trip buddy about Puerto Rico, she immediately asked for the dates so that she could book her flights from London.
To me, the spirit of solo female travel is still there: it’s about not letting the fear of doing something alone stop you from doing something you want to do. I didn’t go backpacking around Europe after I graduated from college alone because I wanted to become some sort of independent woman crusader. I did it because I wanted to backpack around Europe.
One of my favorite proverbs is shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. It’s wonderful to be able to share a beautiful sunset in a new place with someone; it’s also nice to have someone to commiserate with when the plane is running late.
But I’ve also grown up with my grandfather’s favorite adage: if you want something done right, do it yourself. I’ve learned which friends I can travel well with and which ones drive me nuts. I won’t travel with someone just because I need someone to reassure me: I travel with someone only when they can truly double the joy of a new place.
Bonus: my very first guest post ever on the ups and downs of traveling solo on Twenty-Something Travel–almost four years old now!