I wasn't always an independent soul like I am today. As a young child I had a deep connection to my parents and would cry whenever they would leave me at home with a babysitter (even if that sitter was my grandma, whom I loved dearly). When I started school, I was shy, and a bit of a loner, but only because I was insecure. Once I'd make friends, I was a social butterfly.
I've been blessed in my life to have been surrounded by a wonderful family, and some incredible friends and I've been lucky to have experienced some fantastic romances so far. But I've also spent a lot of time on my own.
Maybe it comes from being an only child until I was almost 10 years old, or maybe it comes from my introverted "writer's" personality, but my "alone" time has always been invaluable to me.
So, it's only natural that when I was bit by the travel bug several years ago, I learned the beauty of traveling on my own. When I travel alone I experience the world as an observer, more so than as a participant. I get so much more out of my solo voyages than just sight seeing, or visiting with friends, or seeing new places. Each time I enbark on a new adventure, I learn a little bit more about myself.
So it was this weekend when I hopped on a bus to New York City for my friend's Bachelorette party. When I say "hopped on a bus", what I really mean, by the way, is...took a train (45 minute ride) from my hometown to Boston, took a subway (actually, two subways) from North Station to South Station in Boston, took a greyhound bus for 4 1/2 hours to Manhattan, took a subway (actually, two subways) from Manhattan to Queens (about an hour's ride), and then did it all over again on the way back...but I digress...
I have a good, scratch that, GREAT friend who lives in Queens, and through the years of our friendship, traveling to NY has become something I do at least yearly, sometimes several times a year. I love NY. When she lived in Long Island, I loved taking the ferry over, driving through wine country, picking up a bottle of wine on the way home. Now that she lives in Queens, I've taken to taking a greyhound into Manhattan, and then the subway into Queens. I really enjoy these trips for several reasons. Obviously, because I get to visit my friend. Also because I get to visit NYC, which really is one of my favorite cities, second only to Boston (because Boston is home and will always hold a special place in my heart).
But a major reason I enjoy these trips is because of the feeling I get from doing them alone. I enjoy the quiet time on the bus, when I am forced to STOP for several hours and just sit back and read, listen to music, or write, which I did quite a bit of on this trip. And I get this incredible sense of pride and accomplishment at the fact that I'm not afraid to travel to a big city alone. I'm not afraid to take a subway to parts unknown, figure out the subway routes on my own, where I need to switch trains to get where I need to be, look bored while doing all of it, so I don't look like a tourist. It's silly, but it is what it is...I'm confident in my ability to feel confident in a strange place. And I'm proud of that.
The bachelorette party itself, by the way, was a blast. 10 girls, all with a few drinks in them, at a comedy club, and some bars after that. A bride who drank WAY too much, and I'll spare you the grizzly details, but managed to get QUITE sick, but still had a great time. We had a lot of fun, and I'm really glad I went, even if I spent more time travelling this weekend, than I actually did in the city. It was worth it. For the visit, as well as for the travel experience itself.
When I travel alone...I realize how great my life truly is.