This past week, I took two days off before the long Labor Day weekend, and I went to New York City.
When I tell people this, the immediate question is a variation of, “Who did you go with?” So like, “Was it you and your husband?” or “Did you go with friends?” or, my favorite, “You went by yourself?” The last one comes with an incredulous, slack-jawed expression that I would imagine one might get when they share that they decided to try hillbilly hand-fishing.
I try not to make too much of a face at this point, because I’ve gotten used to this line of questioning. My husband doesn’t like to travel. I do. So instead of sitting around moping or, worse, haranguing him into it and ultimately dealing with the adult form of ‘are we there yet?’ (‘there’ being ‘back home and not in a strange city I don’t like’), I go by myself.
Traveling alone is wonderful, and I recommend it to everyone. You don’t have to necessarily go eight hours on a tiny bus to one of the busiest metropolitan melting pots in the world, sure, but there is something to be said for the experience of self-reliance and happy spontaneity. Every second is a multiple choice question that you get to answer:
Do I want to:
A) Go to the top of the One World Trade Center Observatory and eat a grilled cheese sandwich while I listen to fifty different languages all being awestruck around me?
B) Ride the Staten Island Ferry and take a billion tourist-tastic pictures of the Statue of Liberty?
C) Sit in the park across the street from a bohemian hotel next to a sleeping puppy and read while the sun goes down over Hoboken?
D) Take my pants off and eat a burrito-sized sushi roll in bed while watching re-runs of Bob’s Burgers?
The correct answer was all the freaking above.
Ask yourself when the last time was that you let your feet take you wherever you want to go, instead of basing their path on the whims of a companion. Imagine all the stores and pockets of magic you wouldn’t have to skip because there’s no one to compromise with.
Sure, it may be a bit intimidating to be with yourself for a while in a place you potentially aren’t too familiar with, but I think it’s a challenge worth taking.
In fact, I dare you.