“Aren’t you scared to do that alone?!” I hear this question all the time. Usually, asked by other women who are either horrified or in awe (or both) of something that I decided to do as a woman, alone. All by my lonesome. Without someone else to keep me company. Without a man to protect me. Without anyone telling me where to go, how to get there, and what to do.
And my answer is almost always a confused “Why?” I don’t understand. Why would I be scared to do that alone? Sure, there are times when certain things are intimidating….for instance, I’m still not great at starting a fire by myself so it could be a cold camping trip, but I guarantee, if I don’t have someone else to do it for me, I’ll learn fast. I can feel a little self-conscious going into a nice restaurant by myself, but I’ve also learned that you often don’t need a reservation by yourself….they will always make room at the bar for a lone woman. You often get served sooner and you get a lot more attention from the bartender. Sometimes venturing out on a lone road trip seems a little lonely at first until you realize that you seem far more approachable as a solo woman and you will make friends quickly. Going to a movie by yourself ensures not having to share your popcorn. Traveling solo means you have to carry all your own luggage, but it provides you flexibility and speed dodging in and around people trying to catch your next plane. And please, suitcases have wheels now….I think you can handle it
Now I realize that when another woman asks me “aren’t you scared to do that alone?” that she simply asking from her assumption that there are some things that women simply don’t do alone. Frankly, I think there is sometimes an assumption that, as women, we don’t ever actually want to be alone. Many of us like to talk. And talk a lot. And, preferably, that requires another human to listen, or at least smile and nod. But liking to talk does NOT negate the need for solitude. And quiet.
No one is surprised to hear that I am a rather loud person. For real. I might actually be the loudest person in the entire world. I live my life out loud. I even talk, giggle, and occasionally sing in my sleep. It’s who I am. Deal with it. But I need solitude. Lots of it. I crave it. I become unbearable to be around if I don’t get it. And I’m tired of people thinking that is strange. I hate that people assume I don’t love my husband enough if I would sometimes rather to go somewhere by myself. I hate that friends feel slighted and think I am mad at them if I would rather go shopping by myself. I feel bad when people wanna hike or run with me to support me, but I truly need that time of solitude or renewal. I feel guilty for being a bad hostess when I have to go take a nap with guests around just so I can chill out somewhere alone. But I’ve learned to do it.
I’ve learned that I need solitude. And I make it a priority.
But solitude doesn’t have to always happen while sitting alone quietly in the dark somewhere. (Although that is one of my faves too). Solitude and chasing adventure are not mutually exclusive.
I love adventure. I love thinking and daydreaming about places I wanna go someday, things I wanna do, and foods I wanna try. And frankly, in these daydreams, I am usually alone. Doesn’t mean I don’t ever wanna do anything with others, but when it comes down to it, Me, Myself, and I are a sure thing. My husband will probably always like to go backpacking with me or try out a new brewery, but we don’t always have the same work schedule. I have friends that love the opera and musicals, but they don’t always want to go to the same ones that I wanna see. And I LOVE road trips, but sometimes people just don’t wanna randomly and impulsively cram into a car and drive to Memphis . So guess what?! If others can’t or don’t wanna do what you wanna do when you wanna do it, DO IT ALONE!!
! (Yes,this is a pic of me drinking a beer on Beale St that time I randomly drove to Memphis.)
I can’t think of any adventure that a woman can’t do alone in our day and age. Whether its camping, fixing cars, going to art museums, wine tasting, travelling to Bora Bora or Chicago, hiking or starting a fire, there is probably a way to do it alone. Hell, thanks to science, women are even making babies kinda alone. Please understand, I am, in no way, suggesting that woman don’t encounter some additional risks and barriers that men might not have to consider as much. These risks should never ever be ignored. They should be considered, weighed, and addressed (feel free to ask me for some tips on this, you know I’ve got some), but never used as an excuse to stay home or not do what you wanna do. In the words of veteran female traveler Zahara Hecksch, “stay safe but don’t stay home.”
I propose that if there are things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t ever find anyone to do it with you, do it alone. Travel, take a class, visit a museum, start reading about fuel injection systems, learn karate, go hiking, go to Tre Cugini for tiramisu. Stop waiting.