New Year 2022 brought about an interesting change in my perception of solo travel
In 2021, there were people that reached out asking to join me on my travels.
My response was usually along the lines of:
"Would love for you to join, but just make sure you are doing it for you."
"I'm staying here -- choose a place nearby."
"I can join you later."
i.e., come but don't come.
Truthfully, I considered people I already knew joining me as cheating on my solo travel. They represented something known; and goddammit, I was chasing the unknown. If I was hanging with them, I wasn't exploring the new.
I also worried about friends' presences impacting my decisions; planning for two/three/four instead of one, which sounded tiring and limiting.
All of this meaning, I was unapologetically prioritizing "me" during 2021. And it led me to a very purposeful year of solo travel. And I loved it.
I still do.
I love my alone time, am addicted to the challenge of trying new things and the only routines I stick to are massages every week and listening to "Can I Kick It" by a Tribe Called Quest on Sundays.
New Years 2022
However, during New Year's this year, I paused during the festivities, looked around and realized I was exclusively with individuals I had met while traveling the previous year. Some I met that very day. I have my friends in NYC -- but this was family.
I think all people who travel for a while have a different way of relating to other humans. Whether we had it before and it pushed us to travel, or we developed it while traveling is uncertain. But there's something about being in ever-changing environments that cultivates an authentic and deep way of relating to strangers.
Maybe it's because you yourself as a traveler feel like a stranger most of the time.
Which made it no surprise, that in reflecting back on my most fulfilling moments of the prior year of solo travel, many were with...others.
Like attracts like; travelers with the same vibes will find each other. Having found my traveling people, I had a shift from "people might take away from my ability to be expansive" to "people add to it and actually represent the expansiveness."
So while 2021 was the year of solo travel, 2022 seems to be the year of community.
Not to say I am stopping the solo travel.
I've simply had the realization that solo travel is never really solo at all. And can exist in a fulfilling way alongside others that are on your same wavelength.
My travels will be planned regardless (in their haphazard way) -- but if a friend invites me to join them or wants to join whatever random thing I've gotten myself into, the answer is: