Inspirational Articles

It's Okay to Fly Solo

It’s Okay to Fly Solo

By Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell

This past March, I, Gord, went off to Mexico to escape the winter and to enjoy the ocean and some warmth. I also went on my own. Yes I was actually travelling solo, no spouse, and no friends. I was very excited about the prospect of spending lots of alone time, walking on the beach or up in the mountains and doing what I wanted and when I wanted to do it. Prior to leaving my friends began expressing their concern as to how I would handle so much time on my own. What would I do? How would I fill that much time all alone? Do you know people there?

Slowly their input and questions began to make me think that perhaps my decision to take off on my own may not be a good one. It slowly occurred to me that their feedback, while expressing genuine concern for me, was actually their fears and feelings about themselves flying solo. It is not Okay to be single and it is too scary to travel all by yourself. This was their internal messages about having to have people to do things with both at home and while travelling. There were lots of people I could ask to travel with me, I chose not to ask. I wanted the experience of being truly on my own.

The questioning did not stop with just my Canadian friends, but once in Mexico, people from the Housekeeping staff to the server at my lodging all began to express real concern for me. No spouse, they would ask? Where are your friends? I just smiled but again I thought I may have made a bad choice to actually be travelling for this long alone. However I was loving every minute of my time away but the questioning left me second guessing myself at times. So here I was in a different culture and language experiencing the same input from others about not having people around me.

Societies’ Messages

There are a lot of messages in many cultures about needing to be married, dating or even living together. While in our past this was important as a way to ensure the longevity of the tribe or to marry into another group as a way to ensure peace and prosperity. Today’s world has changed, at least in the developed nations, yet the old beliefs and messages hold on. Being single is seen simply as a place to wait until the next relationship comes along. It is the waiting place between marriages.

We have a very famous but horrible song saying “You are nobody until somebody loves you”. Very few people think of being single as choice. We sit and we wait and we may not do things on our own as we may think we need to have a mate by our side to experience things with. Those that are single are often pitied or looked down on. No one asks do you want to be single? Many of us might just answer back, yes!

There is tremendous freedom in doing things on your own, taking care of your needs and wants without concern for another person and the compromises that it may entail. It is good to take care of yourself once in awhile. Now I am not anti- marriage or a proponent of selfishness. I am a proponent of choice, the right to choose to be single or to enter into a relationship when it is right for you. The pressure of these messages can often make us doubt our self or want to please others and in turn we can make some bad choices.

Being true to our self

If you believe that being single is a better experience for you today then honour it and be single. At some point in your life you may choose something else. Listening to other peoples’ insecurities about their need to be with another person or to be surrounded by people all the time will make you doubt yourself and even feel bad about who you are and the decisions you have made for yourself. It is important for you to embrace the decisions you have made and enjoy them. It is your Life, do not limit it by others beliefs.

I am a very social person but I am also a private person who needs time alone to re-energize, think, read and enjoy my own company. In recognizing these two aspects of who I am, I am better able to make sure the need to socialize and the need to be alone are both met (and not at the same time!). Many people are terrified of being by themselves. They will do anything and everything in order to avoid feeling lonely. However the more you fight this feeling the stronger it can feel for you. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy being on your own. If you feel lonely by yourself, remember it is just a feeling; it is not who you are. The feeling will change and the idea of lonely will go away.

The next time you choose to be single, travel on your own, or spend a whole weekend just doing things you want to do, congratulate yourself! Many people are unable to enjoy the total freedom to experience their world, their life. There will be those who may be worried about the fact you are alone or are travelling on your own but remember what you are really hearing is their fear that they could be in the position you have chosen to be and they are terrified they would have no idea how they might handle all that freedom. Perhaps you are wondering if I would do it again, absolutely, in a heartbeat.