Once our daughter started school, traveling became more difficult. Daily outings and birthday parties on the weekends forced us to stay at home. We needed a compromise to continue our love of travel.
Go on solo trips. To celebrate important milestones, each of us does it alone. When my wife got a new job, she spent the night in Baltimore. When I started my own company earlier this year, I went to Philadelphia.
Traveling alone has taught this extrovert the power of solitude and all the benefits it brings.
It’s easier to get into top-rated restaurants. Zahav, an Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia once named “the best restaurant in the country,” has a multi-month waiting list. Getting there at the last minute is almost impossible. Deciding to take my picture, I sent Zahav a direct message on Instagram a few days before the trip and asked if they had space for one person. Shortly after, I dined on pita bread with hummus at the chef’s counter.
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Traveling alone also allows you to roam. There is no schedule, no other people’s expectations, or a baby who needs a nap. There is only you and time. On a trip to Seattle, I walked a few miles south of Union Station and found murals on industrial buildings and breweries along the railroad tracks. I eventually stumbled upon Georgetown, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods with antique shops, top restaurants, and an outdoor trailer park mall.
Traveling alone gives you space. On our solo trips, my wife and I have a tradition of finding our local favorite coffee shop to sit and meditate and take notes for hours because we can. We don’t go back to a five-year-old girl during the holidays (don’t worry, we do a lot with her on holidays too). There is only me and my diary. I return to my family renewed, more thoughtful and real. My wife is the same after her vacation.
For parents who share responsibilities equally, the logistics are easy when the other is away for just a day or two. Our daughter enjoys making good use of her time—and the extra dinner out, which makes single parenting a lot smoother. At the same time, I understand that this is a privilege that not all parents have.
I, 25 years old, would refuse to travel solo. My 37 year old self depends on it. It gives my hidden introverted side permission to spend time alone. The freedom to strike up a conversation with a stranger satisfies my extraversion. In any case, solo travel gives me the opportunity to be who I want to be.