I consider myself a very social, sociable person. I love being around people. I get bored when I’m at home by myself. I don’t like sitting down watching TV, I like to be out DOING stuff.
I am a single lady of several years (3 and a bit, to be precise-ish). I was part of a couple for a very, very long time. Although I did still have my own identity, and we did often do things separately, we did do a good many things together – holidays, dinner, concerts, to name just a few.
I have friends of course, many of whom are also single ladies. It is a little different though. When you are in a couple, it’s kind of implied that you will do things together. Whereas with friends, you have to make plans.
I find I don’t always like to make plans. Sometimes I like to just get up and do something on the spur of the moment. Without a live-in adventure buddy, that will often mean doing stuff by myself. And recently I’ve discovered just how awesome that is!
My first big experience of this was when I went on my first solo overseas adventure. London, Liverpool (including the small matter of my first marathon) and then 2 weeks in Ireland. Having never travelled solo before I was a little apprehensive, but I can honestly say that was the BEST holiday I’ve ever had! (No disrespect to anyone I’ve previously travelled with!)
What’s not to like? I got to choose where I wanted to go and how long to spend in each place. I got to pick what type of accommodation I stayed in (I opted for hostels – as I didn’t intend to spend much time there so I preferred to save my money for more important things!). From one day to the next it was up to me, and me only, what I would do for the day. I could spend a whole day just lounging around the hostel if I wanted to. (OK, so I didn’t do that. But I could have if I’d wanted to, and not had to worry about messing up anyone else’s plans)
I ran my first marathon on my own. That was a kind of surreal experience. It didn’t feel like I was on my own though. I was among several thousand friends – and there was no pressure, not that there has ever been any pressure in any other events, but it was nice to get the first marathon done away from anyone I knew. (It was also fantastic to know that so many of my friends back home were following my progress online, being Sunday night in Australia!)
What to do to celebrate after a first marathon? My friends, with whom I was staying, were working, so I was home alone. On a walk around the neighbourhood to buy some milk, I discovered that there was a cinema around the corner, so I decided to go see a movie – on my own! I had only been to the movies solo once before, to see the movie Rock Star, because none of my friends were interested in seeing it. Why not go to the movies alone though? You can see whatever movie you like, and you don’t have to share your popcorn! Once the movie starts, you’re not exactly going to be talking anyway, so what’s the difference? (For the record, I saw ‘Bad Neighbors’ and thoroughly enjoyed it!)
Going back a bit, I went to various running groups on my own. I didn’t know anyone the first time I went to parkrun. And later, when I went to join the SARRC (South Australian Road Runners Club) group runs, I didn’t know anyone there either. Of course, it wasn’t long before I had a bunch of new friends at each of those groups, and couldn’t really imagine those mornings without running (and the all-important post-run coffee!). It’s a shame that not knowing anyone does stop some people from coming out to the group runs – I’m sure if they did come, they’d quickly realise we’re a friendly bunch and very supportive and encouraging.
Moving away from running now, I’ve been going to see live bands on my own for a long time – again often because I didn’t know anyone who was interested. As one who likes to get up close and personal, I like to stand, and as close to the stage as possible. I’ve been to concerts with friends before where I have become separated from my friends anyway, so I’ve spent most of the concert on my own (or rather, with several hundred of my closest, sweatiest, friends) so really, going on my own is not so different! Even at music festivals I’m more than happy to do my own thing – even when I’ve gone with other people we usually end up splitting up at some point so we can all see who we want to see, not have to compromise. See, it’s not so hard!
This time of year in Adelaide is known as Mad March, because it is when everything happens. One of the biggest events is the Fringe festival, which goes for 4 weeks. In January I get all enthused when the Fringe Guide comes out, go through it with a fine tooth comb and highlight the shows I want to see. Then I work out which division Lotto prize I’d have to win to pay for it! Most years I just go to a few shows with friends and end up wishing I’d made the most of it and seen more shows.
Well this year is different! Sure, I have been to quite a few shows with various different friends, but I’ve also been to quite a few shows on my own! At first it felt a bit weird especially when the venue was half empty so it was pretty obvious I was flying solo. But, I soon realised, NO-ONE CARES! We’re all like-minded people who just want to enjoy some quality entertainment. It’s hard to find someone who’s up for an 11pm show on a Wednesday night, and rather than missing out and regretting it, I just thought bugger it, I’ll just go!
I think by the end of this Fringe I will have seen 24 shows – at least half of those on my own. Never in a million years would I have done that in the past! I kind of wish I could take the whole month off work and really do it justice!
One of the most awesome things about doing things solo is you are much more likely to meet people. Travelling with other people you can tend to stick with your own group and not mix so much with others. Whereas when going solo, you can either stand in the corner looking awkward and intently looking at your phone, or you can chat to randoms! On my aforementioned holiday I met so many new people, many of them fellow solo travellers from all over the world – and of course now, when I can afford to go overseas again, (will take a while for my credit card to recover from this Fringe!) I have a whole lot of new people to visit!
So, to sum it all up, this last few years has been a hugely liberating experience for me! I hope I can encourage people to just get out there and do something YOU want to do, even if you don’t have someone to do it with!