by Sara Marchessault
As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel room, alone. For two years I traveled alone for work on a weekly basis. At first it was exciting, then eventually I missed things like my pillow and having dinner with someone I love every night. And as glad as I am that I made the change to stop traveling for work, there are still some awesome things about traveling alone that I love.
For this trip though, there was no airport. No waiting to board, waiting to take-off. I drove to Orlando from Tallahassee, an easy four hour-ish trip from Tallahassee.
When I’m alone in the car for four hours, my brain feels like it goes to the same place of calm and relaxation that happens when I write in my journal. I am on a mini-retreat with only a few things to distract me. My mind can wander and I am free to think about what I want without being interrupted by the laundry, the need to prepare a meal for another person, or a meeting that requires my attendance.
As I prepare to return home today and end this solo experience, here is my list of top ten reasons to take a road trip by yourself.
You are the only person you have to wait for. There is no one else’s stomach, bladder, luggage, etc. You are the only person you need to worry about. In that way, a road trip alone sort of forces you into self-care.
No one will ask you if you’re “there yet.” Are we there yet? Are we there yet? This question can be a tooth grinder if asked over and over. When we are not grinding our teeth, we are usually having a much better time. We all need time to quiet down and pay attention to just us. Some people have a hard time slowing down on a regular basis for things like mediation, writing, or journaling. Traveling alone can be a way of tricking yourself into that kind of down and quiet time. You’re still doing something, getting somewhere, but when traveling, your distractions are somewhat limited. You can use this time to rejuvenate, listen to an audio book, think deep thoughts, or simply enjoy that no one is asking you anything at all.
You can eat where and when you want to. We eat with other people all the time. It’s part of our culture. However, before we start chowing down, does this conversation ever happen: “Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know – where do you want to eat?” When you’re traveling by yourself you get to make all the decisions and you don’t need to worry about those conversations about where to eat. The only hiccup that might occur is lack of a place to choose from.
Spread out – there’s no one else here! You can put your purse on the seat next to you, use every cup holder up front, and spread your things out however you like. And in the hotel, you get to spread out all over. It can be a liberating feeling to leave your shoes out in the open, especially if you live with a super neat person and you just want to unleash your inner slob!
Hotel room time can be downtime. When you’re staying in a hotel you usually don’t have dishes to wash that night. Or floors to sweep at the end of the day. This is the best part about traveling alone. Time that you might spend on taking care of the house is free and you can spend it on you. Take an evening stroll to explore someplace new. Watch TV that you don’t normally watch. Write in your journal. Take a long shower. Do something to pamper yourself that you don’t normally get to do at home.
Coming home is the best feeling after you’ve been away by yourself. When you walk in the door after being away and there is some other living creature that is glad to see you, it’s the best feeling in the world. Whether it’s the hug of little one or the wag of a furry friend’s tail, there is a good chance that a warm feeling starts somewhere in your chest area and spreads out to your fingertips and you have a sense of “ahh…this is where I belong.”
What about you? What do you like about a solo road trip? Share in the comments below!
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb: Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.