Things I Learned From My Solo Trip
My Maine trip come and gone it was time to reflect a little on what I learned while I was alone. Not sure the trip broke out my creative writing skills, but it did help me get some writing done if only about the things I did on my trip so I will call it a win. I am sure at some point my imagination will return, but I did learn a few things while I was hanging out with just me, myself, and I. I feel like a learned a lot about Portland’s history and such, but I learned a few other things as well:
Eating alone is the hardest thing to get comfortable. In fairness I knew this from my divorce, but this trip was a good reminder. Good alone tips for the newbie: eat at the bar, realize you are noticing everyone way more than they are noticing you, and learn to sit in the discomfort, life doesn’t always have to be easy. And of course with practice it gets much easier. I would say bring a book to read while you wait, but sometimes this is just a cop out, and sometimes it is just that your book is just that good you don’t want to put it down.
Boone’s neon sign has been grandfathered into the cityscape of the Portland Old Port area. Therefore it is the only neon sign on the waterfront. It was also the beacon for my fellow bar mate on Saturday, marking her way back to the ferry from dance class to her home on Peaks Island when she was a child.
We humans have a great and easy way to inspire other humans. My bar friend I met, who had just moved back from Vermont after a divorce and with grown children, was inspired by my solo vacation and it encouraged her to start to again think about traveling alone. She told me of an experience of her first and only solo journey to Costa Rica to meet up with some friends she had met there previously and some of the fear and terror of getting from the airport to her friend’s home. While my trip to Maine was not as scary (in my opinion) it still encouraged her to travel to places without any contacts. She inspired me in the same conversation that life does not stop at a certain age, and that promises we made to ourselves can be met at any age and any phase in life. She had returned home as she promised herself (and at the time her husband) after the kids had grown and moved on from Vermont. Neither one of us was trying to inspire or even impress each other, just happened because we had the courage to chat with each other and in some ways talk about stuff that always seems easier with strangers.
If you have your phone are really alone? Having my phone on airplane mode meant I had to do a lot of things the old fashioned way. I will admit to cheating a bit on my run, but being lost and having a bad sense of direction is where technology really comes in handy. But after that I was all alone, no phone, no internet, no GPS. It was freeing but also a little lonely. But it was worth it when I got home and actually had stories to The Old Man that he had not heard about before hand. It was also nice to only be in the noise of a city than the entire internet world.
Sometimes wasting time is the objective of a vacation. I went to Maine with no real plan and a few people told me I should pick something to do so that I don’t “waste time”. But the reality was I went to Maine to “waste time.” Most vacations I have are very planned and scheduled, the Old Man is a big on having a plan. Now of course having a plan doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the plan, but sometimes going sans plans is freeing and while if I spent the whole weekend in the hotel that would have been fine. To be fair I know myself and I knew that the worst case was I would walk around all day and just stop in places for a drink or food. It was very freeing to know that I could leave my hotel on foot and “see where the music took me.’ This trip it took me on quite a few fun adventures.
Two last ones that I think we all know: I LOVE MAINE! and Lobster taste so much better in Maine.
Lessons learned, thank you Maine, it is now time for this household to focus on the Old Man getting ready for his own solo trip to the far more exotic Mongolia. So much to still get and prepare him for. But I am hoping that he will finally decompress, have some fun, and learn to live a bit more in the present. Wonder what other lessons he will learn along the way.
Do you have any good solo travel tips for solo beginners? What have you learned while traveling alone? Where should I go next year for my solo adventure?