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One isn’t necessarily the loneliest number

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-08-04


I don’t consider myself a very daring or brave person, but one thing I do on a regular basis that amazes people is travel. Invariably, whenever I say to someone, “yeah, I just got back from (exciting big city) and I had a blast,” they ask, “who’d you go with?” I reply, “nobody. I went by myself.” Those five words inspire horror and disbelief. “You went by YOURSELF!?

Um, hell yes, I went by myself! The best vacation I ever had in my life was my first trip to Toronto. I had to get away from my brother, and I had plenty of money and time. It was an ideal time to take a vacation. And I packed as much activity as I could in the time I was there. I drove there and back, by myself. I felt like using a little kid voice when people asked me who I went with on my trip. I went all by my widdle self! And it was the funnest trip ever!

I went to Toronto by myself because I had to get away for my mental health. Besides, none of my friends would have been able to get two weeks of vacation on a moment’s notice, not to mention the money for the hotel, food, and shopping. And none of my friends would have kept up with me. I left the hotel room around 10:30-11 a.m. each morning, and didn’t get back to my hotel room until 1 a.m. I walked, and walked and walked, and on top of that, I went ice skating a few times. My pace would have wiped out my friends. And that’s the wonderful thing about vacationing alone. If you want to stop and take pictures, you can. Want to snack every half hour? Go ahead. Shop ‘til you drop? Go for it!

Another thing about vacationing alone is not having to juggle vacation schedules. If a schoolteacher and postal worker hooked up, scratch off December for a quick getaway. Postal workers are expected to work lots of overtime, and probably the only acceptable excuse for not working is pregnancy. Maybe. If you are with child, you’ll be working up until your due date, if it’s in December. And you’ll probably get a call from your boss demanding that you come into work a couple hours after you give birth.

Then again, I’m a loner. I’ve taken vacations with friends, and it’s been good, mainly because we knew each other long enough to know that conversations shortly after we both wake up are a bad idea. We also know not to wake up too early, and pace our day so we don’t get too tired. It also helps if your friend likes shopping as much as you do. First rule of going on vacation with someone is compatibility. That’s why I don’t think “mini-breaks” (as popularized by the “Bridget Jones” novels) are a good idea right after meeting someone. It helps if you know their quirks and annoyances before booking that weekend getaway.

However, most people hate and fear being alone. This keeps a lot of them from going to the movies, eating out, and traveling. I used to be one of them, when it came to going to Cedar Point. For years, I had no one to go with, so I didn’t go. But I realized Cedar Point didn’t have a “no singletons” rule, and what the hell was stopping me from going? My own stupidity. One summer, I went to Cedar Point four times and at least one of those times I went by myself. Again, I could walk as much as I wanted, snack as much as I wanted, and if I wanted to only ride Millennium Force that day, I could do it and not hear a complaint from anyone that the admission price was too much to stand in line for one ride, or the concessions were overpriced, it was too hot, too cold, too windy, their feet hurt, etc. Going by myself means going with someone I can get along with who won’t complain.

That’s priceless. Because vacations are too short anyway, and they’re certainly too short to go with someone who doesn’t have the stamina, cash, or enthusiasm that you do.

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