I’m going to make a huge generalization here, so bare with me. I think there are 2 types of people in this world:
Group People and Solo People.
Group People need to have someone with them to go grocery shopping. They’ve probably always had a ‘core’ group of friends from high school and college. The group parties together. Hangs out every day together. Went on “Spring Break 2010 wooooo!!” together.
Solo People go to dinner and a movie by themselves just for fun. They have friends, but none of them are connected to each other. They hang out, just the 2 or 3 of them, when their schedules match up. Solo people can be quite introverted, but are not always.
Now, I realize that everyone has their days/weeks/years in the opposite group, but I think you are basically one or the other. One is not better or worse, it just affects how you are going to travel.
I travel to experience the culture of the country and to connect with the people I meet, be them locals or travelers like myself. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by people from school and work and just pick out 1 or 2 as friends. And once I’ve found you, that’s it, we’re friends for life. No matter how many miles separate us or how long it’s been since we’ve met, why would travel be any different for me?
I was once told, by a group person in reference to me taking a solo trip to Europe, that fun is only real when shared. Meaning, why take a huge trip like that alone? When I come back I will have no one to share those memories with and then…what’s the point?
UM NO. No. At the time it just brushed over me. But now it really bothers me. I am clearly a Solo Person. I’ll admit it took some time to accept, I mean, having a constant group of friends around my life sounds great, but it’s not me. But just because I start a trip alone doesn’t mean it will end that way.
I will always enjoy those single-serve-we-stayed-in-the-same-hostel friends; they are great fun. But along the way I have also found some really special people I consider true friends. I have met them all when I was on my own; making those close connections becomes much harder when you are already with some one (though not impossible). To me, it doesn’t matter if we live in the same city or country, they are the people I share these memories with.
So no, when I go back to the US I won’t have someone to call up to reminisce about our time together in Europe. But who’s to say I will end up in the US anyways? I’m used to having a scattering of friends around the world, why put off taking a trip just because I can’t find someone to go with me?
So for the Group People out there, I hope that someday you can find the courage to take even the smallest of trips on your own to see what you can learn about yourself and the world around you. Your group will be there for you when you return.
**Side note: I have taken planned trips with friends before and have loved EVERY minute of them. I am not against people traveling with friends, I’m just saying it’s ok and wonderful and fantastic and thrilling to venture out alone as well and see where life takes you.