One summer I had an internship in Denver, so I packed up my car in Berkeley, California, and made the drive alone. I stayed in a few motels along the way, kept my own schedule, and listened to a Nora Ephron book on my iPod.
I loved it. I was traveling alone, with no one’s opinions to consider but my own.
But that’s nothing compared to my cousin Kristy McNiff. She has done four solo trips internationally — to Panama, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and most recently, Portugal. She’s also traveled by herself quite a bit inside the U.S., including to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, the Channel Islands, and Mount Rainier. She often travels for work and then adds on extra alone travel time.
She said she loves solo traveling because she gets to make all her own decisions about what to do.
“I learned to scuba dive in Panama, something I couldn’t do on my first trip there because my friends I was traveling with weren’t interested in doing it,” she said.
On her recent trip to Portugal, she’d picked out ahead of time a few beaches to visit.
“But once I was there, I stumbled across other beaches that weren’t listed in the guidebooks and were so much prettier than I could have imagined,” she said. “I originally planned to visit southern Spain in the trip as well, but I ended up liking Portugal so much that I decided to skip Spain and see more of Portugal instead. Being on my own gave me the flexibility to change plans like that.”