I always tell people since my first “solo vacation” last year that everyone should travel by themselves at LEAST once. A lot of people think i’m crazy…or anti-social I guess. It’s not that I don’t have friends or want to go with people, but most of the time people just can’t go because of finances or timing. So why should I hold myself back from things I really want to do?
This getaway has been especially enlightening. It started with the flight from Baltimore to Denver. A very polite gentleman sat in the same row as me on this leg of the flight. He asked me where I was going and made general “small talk.” As it turns out, he lives very close to me and he was going to visit his son in Colorado. On this flight he told me about many fantastic places I should visit and photograph. He gave me insight as to where I could visit closer to home as well as his own personal experiences hiking and traveling. It was great to have someone to talk to, and I appreciated him taking the time to make conversation with me.
The 2nd leg of the flight is when things got a bit more interesting. On my flight from Denver to San Jose, a man sat in the aisle seat in my row. He seemed really enthusiastic and kind. He, much like the last person I met, began to ask me questions about me and my trip. Mid-conversation, another man asked if he could sit in the seat between us. At first he seemed quiet, and he was a bit younger than the other one. The younger man was telling us stories about his military experience, being overseas, and adjusting to civilian life. It didn’t take long before the 3 of us were talking as if we’d known each other forever. The 2 men began to talk about people’s perspectives of the military as it is portrayed in the news and whatnot. He said that all the news wants to show is the bad that is happening, and not any of the good. He said, ‘for example, a lot of people don’t know that we built schools in Afghanistan for kids. The news doesn’t show that.’ This immediately made me realize he was right. I had no idea that the soldiers did things like this overseas. Coming from a military family, I have experienced family going to Iraq and I have a pretty good understanding of what happens. This, however, was new to me. He then showed us a card that someone from his last flight left on his bag while he was sleeping. The card was from a stranger saying in a nutshell – “thank you” for fighting for our country. It was one of those moments that made me appreciate the little things in life a little more. It was one of those stories that you read about in your 40 social media outlets.
The 3 of us talked the entire 2 hours or so of the flight to San Jose. They even helped me get my luggage and showed me where to pick up my rental car. We all exchanged information and vowed to stay in touch. It was by far the most memorable day of flying I have ever had.
Since then, I have met up with a few friends and had some unbelievable experiences here in Cali. I have watched the fog drape the Golden Gate Bridge (however I saw more fog than I did bridge!) I also got to experience the rollercoaster ride known as the San Francisco roadways! I’ve witnessed breathtaking views and seals in their natural habitat. The fun isn’t over yet, as I have a couple of days left.
Moral of the story? Live your life.
Don’t depend on everyone you know 100% of the time – as strangers will surprise you. Some of the most beautiful moments happen when you least expect them and certain people are in and out of your life for a reason. Going on a solo vacation is the best way to get to know yourself and find trust in other people.
Live your life, because as we all know, it’s never long enough.