Are you an independent person? Do you like to stick with the crowd, or do your own thing? For most of my life, I was a very shy person, and therefore didn’t feel comfortable doing things on my own. If I wanted to make plans, or go off on an adventure, I’d always try to find others to join me. Doing things with other people can be great – having someone to share the experience with, and then reminisce about it afterwards can make things even more enjoyable. But what about when you can’t find anyone?
I still love my friends, and love doing things with them when I can; but as we grow up and priorities change, people aren’t always able to join in every time. For a while, this stopped me from doing things; I didn’t have the courage to go out to events by myself, largely for fear of others judging me.
Then one day, I realised this was stupid. I was missing out on activities and adventures that I really wanted to do, just because I’d be doing them alone. I decided this was going to change. A lot of this began when I was living in France, for my university year abroad. I had friends there, but we weren’t super close, and often had our own other plans. So I began doing things myself. I started visiting local towns and châteaux at the weekends, which then led into going further away to other parts of France during the holidays. One of the scarier things was attending my first concert alone, when Fall Out Boy were playing Paris the day after my birthday, and I just thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m missing that.” I’ve been to a couple of Edinburgh Fringe shows alone too, and it’s no longer something I’d shy away from doing.
I’ve also always wanted to travel a lot, but was nervous to do it alone, especially as a girl (because the world is unfair like that). Reading other people’s travel blogs has helped reassure me about this prospect, but I started by easing into it gently, and booking a group tour through Europe, with Contiki. Although I was going ‘alone’, I would be travelling with a group of others, which made me feel safer, and I made plenty of new friends to share the experience with. Sometimes my solo holidays in France got a little lonely, so it was nice to have others to spend time with. I’m doing another similar trip later this year (details to come soon!). There’s pros and cons to these tours, so hopefully in the future I will summon up the guts to go totally solo, and give that a whirl instead.
Doing things solo shouldn’t be something we area afraid of doing. Sure it can get a little lonely sometimes; but isn’t that better than missing out completely, on something that you know you’d enjoy? I still always ask around to see if anyone wants to join me, at a concert, or on a trip, but if no one does, it won’t stop me from going anyway. I’m a fairly independent person, and I’m far more confident than I was when I was younger, so although I’m still a little self-conscious when doing things solo, I don’t worry about others judging me nearly as much as I used to. I’m still a little shy about meeting new people, and don’t trust easily – for instance, if I went off backpacking alone, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be talking to fellow backpackers I met along the way – but it doesn’t scare me as much as it used to, and anyway, I like a bit of alone time. I’m not someone who relies on the company of others to enjoy myself. Sometimes doing things solo can even be better, as you have total control over what you do, without having to cater for the preferences and opinions of others.
So I’d encourage everyone to not be afraid of doing things alone. If it’s a choice between going solo, or not going at all, which would you rather do?
Have you ever done things solo before? How did you find it? Let me know what you think in the comments!