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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Brave solo traveler: real or fake?

I have been told that I must be very brave to travel alone. But am I? I don't feel brave, I actually usually feel like traveling alone is a cop-out. Like I couldn't be bothered to care about traveling with someone, so I just didn't put the energy into making that happen. Perhaps part of that feeling comes from being an introvert. Too much time around people exhausts me and I need personal time to recharge. That's the one big benefit of living alone. So maybe I travel alone so much because the introvert part of me feels it is safer, less emotionally draining. I can verify that traveling with family is not relaxing. Enjoyable, yes, but not relaxing. And I generally like to relax when I'm traveling.

I do like the anxious feeling of having to navigate a new city, the pressure of catching the train, and the rush of satisfaction when I find something great unexpectedly (i.e. quaint coffee shop, beautiful unnoticed painting, perfect lonely view).

So am I being brave when I travel alone, or cowardly? I do shy away from getting close to people. I don't like my personal space being invaded EVER (please ask for a hug and wait for permission) without warning, and I usually exist in the quiet silence of my lonely house. I don't mind it. I was never one of those folks who likes music on 24/7. Yes, I listen to music when I get up in the morning. It helps me get into a good mood. Yes, I like music/sound on when I'm writing creatively, running, or actively avoiding being productive (looking at you YouTube). But I'm okay with silence. I prefer silence most evenings. So maybe that's another reason I often travel alone, it ensures guaranteed silence time.

No buddy/roomie/friend to obligatorily chat with when there is nothing else to do. No one to explain your decisions to or worst, JUSTIFY your decisions to. I think we should take this road, why, because that's what I decided. I get tried giving reasons - which I happen to do a lot at school (i.e. "Why is that on the board? Why can't I have it? When are we going to do Writing today?"). Most of my school life is answering questions, so when I'm traveling - which is during my school breaks - it's one of the last things I want to do.

But when I travel alone, it is lonely. I don't think being brave and lonely go together. Maybe that's my own perception of what "lonely" and "brave" look like, but of all the times in my life I've felt "brave", none overlap with feeling "lonely".

So what does "brave" look like?  

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