Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Table for One, Please
My mother is considering a trip to China with her college's alumni group. However, my father doesn't want to go, and this is holding her up. I've been trying to convince her that traveling by oneself can actually be enjoyable, if you're prepared with a good book and a good map. I've been in a few different cities by myself (London, Paris, New York, Munich) and remember having a very different experience from when I was going someplace with a friend.
I was reminded of the pleasures of traveling solo a couple of weeks ago when I went to San Francisco to install some artwork (more about that in a future post). Here's what I noticed:
-I was more adventurous, because I was not able to rely on someone else to figure things out or to make choices. Everything was up to me.
-I treated myself to things I do not do at home, such as hot baths at night, eating lunch out, and drinking coffee whenever I felt like it (also purchased, not made by me).
-I wasn't being rude by reading at the table....after all, I can't talk to myself (not in public, anyway).
-I was more likely to have conversations with strangers.
-My attention was on the world around me, not on a companion. This made me much more observant of the people, architecture, weather, sights, tastes, and sounds around me.
-I could eat exactly what I wanted, even if that meant going to the same restaurant for dinner every single night.
-I felt very free to sit on a park bench, or in bed, or in a cafe, and do absolutely nothing. I realized that I never take the opportunity to do this at home.
Those all seem like compelling arguments to me for giving solo travel a shot. So come on, Mom, give it a try.