California Culture: Taboos of Touring Solo

As a kid, I never really felt the peer pressure and group mentality that most kids tend to go through. My parents raised me to be an independent thinker and not really get too caught up in being concerned about what other people were doing. I spent most recesses in the library reading and chatting up the librarian because I enjoyed it more than going outside and playing games that I had no interest in. It made for a very challenging middle school and high school experience when group mentality hits an all time high and you find yourself having to face the reality that compromising your independence is a matter of survival.

As an adult, I’ve been through both phases of co-dependence and independence and have (mostly) come to terms with the benefits and detriments to both. However, nearly everyone I come into contact with can’t wrap their mind around why anyone would do anything outside of their house alone other than run errands. I’ve been asked more times than I can count why I didn’t ask “so-and-so” to come with me or why I would go anywhere further than a half-hour away by myself.

Here are the following reasons:

1) As an introvert, I find that I need the rest and freedom that comes with doing things alone so I can muster up the energy and fully appreciate socializing in group settings. If I’m feeling particularly moody, I don’t have the additional pressure of feeling guilty about being bad company or not being decisive about where we should go and what we should do next. To me it can be so entirely frustrating to sit around going “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” back and fourth until you give up and just go home.

2) I enjoy talking to strangers and meeting new people. Sometimes, when you are confidently having alone time out in the world, people find it interesting and a conversation starts from there.  I’ve met some very interesting and very kind people nearly every time I have ventured out on my own.

3) I would miss out on doing a lot of cool things if I only did things with other people. I LOVE ‘it’s a small world,” but I understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I like sitting and watching the shows or just doing one type of thing all day and that can be very boring for others. It can be difficult to match up schedules with others. I don’t always have as much free time as I would like, so I like to make the most of it and not stay home. Then other days, I want be spontaneous and do very impractical things.

4) There are certain places where I just naturally associate with solitude like at the beach or in a forest. Nature is such a personal thing for me that even when I am experiencing it with other people, I’m in my own little world. It’s a place where I can automatically zone everything and everyone out. It’s almost as if the smells and sights are so overwhelmingly beautiful that I don’t have anything to say at all. The sand at the beach and the stars in the sky remind me of just how big God is and how small I am, yet still precious.

All of the questions and concerned attitudes that people have towards solo travel are mainly projected insecurities that don’t hold a lot of weight at the end of the day. It’s only a big deal if internalize the limitations that society can place on us. There is no problem doing everything with other people also, but it’s not the only option and no one should feel ashamed either way.

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