Breaking Out of Solo Travel
For the past few weeks, I've been taking it easy with work while recovering from a big work project, so I've been focusing on the touristy part of traveling. And I've been doing so with different friends!
I love traveling with friends, especially after traveling solo for so long, but it also helped me realize how much I love solo travel.
I have set habits. I like to wake up at a certain time, I like to go to sleep at a certain time. I like to seek out specific restaurants to eat at, I like to see things that I want to see. And I tend to either like structured tours or be more spontaneous and just walk around.
I also like to take days where I do nothing but just stay in my room all day - this was difficult to admit to one of the friends I was traveling with who had to go to an amazing exhibit in South Korea on her own because I needed a day to stay in.
When traveling with others, I tend to err on the side of pleasing others, making sure they're happy and having a good time, which means sometimes being grumpy and not happy when things don't work out the way I want them to like I'm used to when traveling solo.
That happened with one of my friends who wanted to visit a place in Amsterdam that I liked but I have already been to. Initially, while trying to please my friend, I said I wanted to go there as well. But when the day to go there actually came, I knew deep inside that I honestly would be upset if we went since there were other things I'd rather see that I haven't been to. So I admitted this, causing my friend lots of anxiety while we completely changed plans last minute for the day to something we both would enjoy.
I also get ridiculously excited by things I see or food I eat. And I found out the hard way that when my friend is not excited about the same things - when they seem out of it - while I'm excited, that dims my excitement and makes me sad that they're not enjoying themselves as much as I am. I was definitely glad to go see the Keukenhof Gardens alone - seeing it with someone who wasn't excited by everything there would have been a complete downer.
Overall, of course I enjoyed traveling with friends. It just takes a lot of effort to be honest and open and communicate about my travel needs at the risk of not pleasing them. And to compromise of course. I've found, however, that my friends tend to be pretty cool about it. And when I do say something about not wanting to do something or doing something else, we tend to find a good solution that works for both of us and we end up happier as a result.
My friends are also super smart and knowledgeable. So a lot of times, it's like traveling with a personal tour guide! I tend to not plan too much (unless it's a formal tour), so it's amazing when they do the planning and take me to places I wouldn't normally go to on my own. And tell me about them! It's the best!
I'm now back to traveling (aka back to working!) alone this week, and I'm pretty excited to be back on my own. Luckily I have a friend to travel with for a few days next week :)