Traveling solo

The outdoor guide took down my information as I reserved a spot on one of his company’s canoe tours. Over the phone, I asked him how many people there would be in each boat; I kind of hoped that I would get to paddle my own. He said that nobody would be paddling alone. Normally people book these trips in pairs, he said, or in even numbers (meaning sets of couples). Since the tour guide usually is in a canoe by himself I would probably end up sitting with him.

For a split second, part of me wanted to believe that I was some kind of freak for taking this trip alone. Not just paddling around a lake for a few hours, but spending two nights away, alone, in a Central Oregon town. I have a week’s worth of vacation this month and I’m dying to explore some more of my adopted home state. My Oregon guidebook suggested a couple of bed-and-breakfasts that I researched online. I like the idea of B&Bs, but they are painted so boldly as romantic destinations that it turns me off as a single traveler. Instead I’m going to take a basic motel room and plan on spending very little time inside it.

It’s been seven years since I’ve traveled with a significant other. Since then I haven’t been in a solid-enough relationship to consider doing that again. Most of my friends don’t live near me, and they have their own schedules and financial restrictions to attend to. By default I am my own travel companion, and that agrees with me just fine. I do think most experiences would be more enjoyable if shared with another person. As long as that is not an option, though, I refuse to sit around and refrain from doing the things I want to do. That is partly why on any given night, you might see me dining alone in a restaurant. Or standing in line to buy a movie ticket, unaccompanied. And that is also why, on rare-but-increasingly-frequent occasions, you will see me renting a car or boarding a plane solo to leave town for a few days.

Life is short, my living expenses are low, and I have ample vacation time to spend.

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