9.12.12: The pros (and cons) of traveling solo

The big Iceland adventure is officially less than a week away! I’m pretty excited, but stressed, too. Work is … busy. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I booked this vacation – at least, from a timing perspective. Well, I guess I know: I knew I’d need a damn vacation after September 27!

The thing I like least about my job is preparing to take time off. There never, ever seems to be a good time to do it. So I guess I’ll just have to put on my big gurl panties (*spelling error intentional) and crank out 2-3 weeks worth of work over the next week. *Sigh* …

Okay, so beyond work being stressful, I’m really looking forward to this trip.

I started putting together my packing list. This trip is a mix of spa/relaxation, adventure, and night life shenanigans, so figuring out what to pack is a bit challenging. I don’t want to pack too much, but I don’t want to underpack, either …

I’ll be hitting up a well-known geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon, a couple times. I’m also doing a few tours: Fire & Ice, where I’ll walk through glaciers and active lava fields; the Golden Circle loop, a tour of Iceland’s “big three” — Gullfoss waterfall, a couple of their famous geysers, and their national park; and finally, a horseback riding tour on Icelandic horses.

Oddly, what I’m most apprehensive about is the weekly runtur, or bar crawl. From what I’ve read, it’s a big part of Iceland culture that’s a “must do.”While I absolutely enjoy cocktails and shenanigans, it’s a bit different doing this type of thing completely solo. The idea of getting totally hammered by myself could be a little…weird, not to mention completely dangerous. I know, I know — I don’t have to get completely shit-faced. I stil think I’m going to have to force myself to do this one.

This leads me to think, “Which is the better way to travel — solo, or with someone?” I’ve done both, and truthfully, both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

The “pros” of traveling solo:

  1. You can have a selfish agenda. There’s no need to compromise with anyone. You get to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it.
  2. You’ll try new things. This is what I love the most about traveling solo. I’m much more willing to try new things because I don’t have a “voice of reason” (my travel companion) convincing me not to do it. I love going outside my comfort zone to do something a bit out of the ordinary.
  3. You’ll meet people. When I’m with someone, I’m not as motivated to talk to others. When I’m alone, I get hungry for conversation with someone (other than the voices in my head). Meeting people is easy, so long you’re willing to actually talk to others.
  4. You’ll become superman/woman! Traveling alone is really damn empowering. And brave. I shock the shit outta myself every time I go somewhere solo. I always come home with a “hell yes I can!” attitude.
  5. You’ll feel super smart and worldly. There’s just something that makes me feel so cool that I get to explore this big, big world and experience different cultures. America is great, but some countries do things way better than we do. And I love being able to partake in that!

The “cons” of traveling solo:

  1. Romantic destinations SUCK. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it. When you’re in an absolutely beautiful place, it’s a lot more fun to be with someone to share the experience with and “maximize the atmosphere.” (You know where I’m going with this.)
  2. It can get a little lonely. Yep, it does at times. But solo travelers are everywhere, so you’re bound to eventually run into someone who’s just as lonely.
  3. Night life. This is one of the few times I envy men. Sometimes, it’s just plain stupid for women travelers to venture out alone at night.
  4. Being responsible. When I’m on vacation, usually the last thing I want to do is be responsible. But because there’s no one to watch over me (just in case I get a little too rowdy), I actually have to be more prudent than normal. (This doesn’t mean I haven’t done some stupid shit when I’ve traveled.)

So yeah, that’s what I see as the pros and cons of solo travel. I’ll inevitably experience all of them (hopefully, not too much loneliness), but it doesn’t make me any less excited to get on that plane and see and experience the wonders of Iceland.

Author: themostinterestingwoman

Travel enthusiast. Dog mom. Tall gurl. Super aunt. Career gal. Fitness junkie. Foodie. Vodka/IPA appreciator. Hella tattooed. Work to live.

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