AdviceTravel Writings

Thoughts on Traveling Alone

Updated: Jun 21, 2011 15:02
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Even Einstein was a self-professed “lone traveler”.

You’re in a strange town or city all by yourself. Maybe you’re “on business” (Doesn’t that sound douchey?) or attending a mandatory family reunion. Either way, chances are your Holiday Inn room smells like human piss, and you may or may not have any friends in town to show you around. So what’s a broke-ass to do?

Even though these factors are stacked against you, don’t let them ruin what could potentially be a fun-filled vacation for one. As I type this, I’m perched on my hotel room bed in Washington DC, a city I haven’t visited since I was ten. I wasn’t expecting much when I got here, but to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I’ve been having an awesome time on my own, and you can too when you travel alone. Just keep the following in mind:

Go explore — especially if you’re in a big city. Do NOT stay cooped up in that nasty-ass hotel room; it’ll only bring you down. Take a stroll around your neighborhood and see what you can find. You might stumble into something really neat, like a museum with FREE admission or a bustling local bar. Wherever you go, be careful out there. You don’t want to get mixed up in the wrong part of town, where the “locals” will be very happy to see you for all the wrong reasons. Make sure you write down the address of where you’re staying in case you need to cab it home.

Talk to strangers. Don’t listen to your mom. This is totally crucial if you want to stay sane and informed. A person can only last so long without human interaction, so if you spot another loner from across the restaurant, pub, cafe, whatever, don’t be afraid to say hello. Chances are they can recommend some cool local hangouts, or, at the very least, provide stimulating conversation. Who knows; you might even make a friend!

Be a tourist. When’s the next time you’ll stand within ten feet of the Liberty Bell, or stare up at the Gateway Arch? Unless you’re planning on returning, you might as well take advantage of  a place’s unique history. Besides, these kinds of attractions are usually FREE, so feast your eyes and make a day of it. Take lots of pictures (or make mental imprints), but skip the gift shops at the end. That shit’s expensive.

Catch up on your chill time. Okay, so maybe Helena, Montana isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, if it ever was cracked up to be anything but a grassy, mountainous hellhole. What better time is there to hunker down with a good book or that movie you’ve been dying to see for a year now (Don’t lie; I know you secretly had a thing for Due Date.)? Consider your trip an extension of the standard “me time.” Don’t be afraid to relax in the dark and either listen to music or let your mind wander. This could be your opportunity to decompress. Take advantage of it.

Thanks to Mario Velucchi for the pic.

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Mia Di Pasquale - Scroungy Scribbler

Mia Di Pasquale - Scroungy Scribbler

Mia is a nice Italian girl from an exotic Italian colony called New Jersey.  She studied English Literature and Screenwriting at Drexel University in Philadelphia and has no intention of ever being a teacher.  Instead, she produces low-budget films with her crew/friends, one of which actually won a contest hosted by AMC and judged by Mr. Robert (Rob) Zombie.  She currently lives and loves in beautiful Oakland, California, which, she maintains, is just as great as and even sunnier than San Francisco.