Reasons Why Even the Most Irritable, Antisocial, Solo Traveler Should Travel with Other People Every Once in a While

October 5, 2014

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You guys, you guys, you guys.

I survived last weekend’s camping trip!

This may not sound all that amazing and death-defying. That is, until I inform you that the camping trip consisted of me and eight other people.

EIGHT!

That’s at least eight more people than I usually travel with.

I’m going to be honest, you guys, it wasn’t easy.

Not that the eight people I went with weren’t completely lovely. They are all lovely people. The loveliest. Truly.

The problem was not them at all.

The problem is me.

You see, I am pretty much the worst. I’m cranky and irritable and prone to antisocial behavior and disagreeable thoughts. Especially before noon.

And that, my friends, is the real reason why I travel solo. Not because I’m particularly brave or self-sufficient. But because traveling with other people reminds me of what a horrible human being I truly am.

I’ll be on a group trip and everyone will be chit-chatting happily over breakfast and talking about their plans for the day and asking me what I want to do, and I’ll be thinking “WHY ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE TALKING? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MORNING TIME IS QUIET TIME?? AND WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT I’M DOING TODAY? MAYBE I’M JUST GOING TO SIT AROUND AND EAT PRINGLES IN MY PAJAMAS AND WATCH NETFLIX. HOW IS THAT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS? HUH???”

So, yeah, I pretty much suck.

But even a cranky, curmudgeonly jerkhead like myself can enjoy the occasional group trip. As long as I remember to keep the meanie voices in my head and don’t just start screaming ‘SHUT UP! EVERYONE SHUT YOUR STUPID FACES RIGHT NOW!” over the breakfast table.

Reasons Why Even the Most Irritable, Antisocial, Solo Traveler Should Travel With Other People Every Once in a While

1. You won’t have to plan anything. Or decide anything. Or really do anything at all besides show up and follow along.
Here’s the super unfun part of solo traveling: you have to do everything for yourself.

Like, everything.

You have to decide where you want to go and how you’re going to get there and then where you’ll stay and what you’ll eat once you get there. And then you have to actually, you know, do all the stuff by yourself because nobody else will do it for you.

It can be a lot of work. Especially for a lazy person like myself.

But last weekend I didn’t have to do anything. Not a thing! It was glorious.

My friend and her husband planned the whole trip — from the grocery shopping beforehand to the campsite we stayed at in St. Ignace to the boat trip we took to Mackinac Island. And then everybody else set up camp and cooked all the food and cleaned up afterwards.

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I was not responsible for any of this! Boo-ya!

Meanwhile, I wandered around the campground and took shadow-selfies on the beach until the food was ready.

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Doing my part.

Because isn’t that what friendship is all about? Doing absolutely nothing while everyone else works their fingers to the bone?

2. You can ask your friends to take your photo. And then yell at them if they take a bad photo.
When I travel by myself, I’m usually too awkward and self conscious to ask a stranger to take my photo.

Plus, don’t you just hate it when you ask some stranger to take your photo, and you can see them angling the camera in a way that you just know is going to catch every single one of your double-chins in all its glory and you want to scream, “DON’T HOLD THE CAMERA THERE, YOU IDIOT! HAVE YOU NEVER TAKEN A PHOTO OF A PERSON BEFORE???”? But you can’t scream at them because, apparently, screaming at strangers who are doing you a favor is not socially acceptable.

So I usually just end up taking lots of selfies. Oddly enough, selfie-taking is not one of those skills that improves with experience. At least not for me.

Instead, I end up with lots of photos like this:

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And this:

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And, of course, this:

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But, during this past trip, I was able to get my friends to take my photos. And since they are my friends, I could demand they hold the camera in a certain way and take a billion photos of me until they got a good one.

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Hardly a double-chin in sight. Yay!

Because isn’t that what friendship is all about? Bossing your friends around until their fingers cramp from taking too many photos of you?

3. You can force other people to do the things you would never do as a solo traveler.
As much as I pride myself on doing lots of things by myself that many people would never dream of doing alone (ummm, hello, male strip show), there are still a few things I would never, ever do by myself.

Usually because these things are way too scary or way too probably-going-to-kill-me.

But when you travel with other people, you can just force them to do all the scary, possibly death-inducing things with you!

For example, when we were on Mackinac Island, I forced my friends to go into a haunted house with me. Which, despite the super cheesy wax statues out front, was pretty much the scariest thing on the planet.

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One of the cheesy wax statues

More than once something popped out of the dark and breathed on me. Like, literally, BREATHED ON ME. I am certain I would have died in there if I went in alone.

I also forced my friends to go with me to the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace. Which I’ve been wanting to go to for forever, but I’m not entirely sure I would want to go there alone. Especially since they don’t really tell you what’s in the Mystery Spot (hence the whole “mystery” thing) they just say, “Hey, give us eight dollars and follow us into the woods.”

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Who knows what’s in there? Probably death.

You guys, I’ve read enough Stephen King novels to know that this is EXACTLY how it all begins. You hand over your money, follow the friendly tour guide into the woods, and then the next thing you know he’s morphed into a demon-alien-goblin with a hook for a hand.

But, since I was able to convince the eight other people on the trip to go with me, I was sure we’d either outnumber the demon-alien-goblins or I’d be able to push one of my smaller friends at the demon-alien-goblin while I ran away.

Because, again, isn’t that what friendship is all about? Being thrown into the clutches of a demon-alien-goblin while your friend gets away?

What?

I told you I’m a horrible human being.

Β What are the reasons why you like to travel with other people?
31

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 5, 2014 at 5:07 pm melissa said:

    Yes, I relate to all of the above. I like to travel with other people so they can watch my stuff when I go pee and sometimes it’s cheaper than traveling solo.
    melissa recently posted..Taste of the UK in NYC

    • On October 6, 2014 at 7:58 am Sally said:

      Yes, watching the stuff is very good reason. And the cheaper thing. I hate having to pay for a double room when traveling solo because hotels hardly ever have single rooms. Uggh.

  2. On October 6, 2014 at 2:07 am Kelly said:

    But what’s in the Mystery Spot?!?
    I must know!

  3. On October 6, 2014 at 8:31 am Priya said:

    It’s nice to do things with people – but, for me, it depends on the people. Sometimes you connect and you’re suddenly taking selfies together. And sometimes they just look at you funny when you want to take a selfie with them.
    Priya recently posted..Justin Timberlake’s In Australia – Well, Don’t Mind If I Do

    • On October 11, 2014 at 9:02 am Sally said:

      Luckily, I knew the people that I went with on the trip, and knew they’d put up with my selfie-taking ways. But, yeah, with new people, you never can tell if they’re going to be conducive to that type of stuff.

  4. On October 6, 2014 at 8:38 am Katie said:

    Yeah, I would never got o haunted house alone… definite plus of traveling with company. I totally feel you on the strangers take horrible photos thing. I quit asking, it’s always even more awkward when they ask you to look at it to see if it’s acceptable and it’s not. you know they’re expecting you to be all like “gee, it’s the most bested picture in the whole wide world”, when in reality you delete it after they go away.
    Katie recently posted..Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (that time I ate a lot of balls)

  5. On October 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm zoe said:

    I hardly ever travel with other people, but my favourite thing about it is that you can sit around watching dvds or whatever, but if you do it with a friend sitting nearby, it’s “socializing” so you still get a sense of accomplishment πŸ˜€
    zoe recently posted..Signs of autumn

    • On October 11, 2014 at 8:59 am Sally said:

      Good point! That’s how I justify watching endless hours of reality television with my cat… I’m not rotting my brain, I’m giving my cat quality together time that she misses while I’m at work. (Okay, so maybe I’m rotting my brain a little bit.)

  6. On October 7, 2014 at 12:06 am ChinaMatt said:

    If I hadn’t taken a tour on my second day in Cambodia, I wouldn’t have met the Dutch expat living in China who joined me for a 40-mile bike ride around Angkor Wat. Joining groups forces me to be social.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Typhoons of Travel

  7. On October 7, 2014 at 9:38 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    I LOVE HAVING PEOPLE TO BOSS AROUND TO TAKE MY PHOTO. It lets my arm rest, plus I get to order people around (a favourite thing of mine) and yell at them when they get my crappy angles. I think I had to have about ten different photos of me in front of the Arc de Triomphe before I found one that I deemed acceptable. However, I’m usually the organiser, so that everyone-does-all-the-things point doesn’t usually apply to me. But hey, I like organising all the things.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..The Temple Trail In Singapore’s Chinatown

    • On October 11, 2014 at 8:57 am Sally said:

      I like organizing stuff — but only for myself. If I organize stuff for other people I feel too much pressure. I feel like if they don’t like what I organize then I’m somehow responsible and I’ll feel bad. I’m weird. I know.

  8. On October 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm janice said:

    Since I always end up being the organizer of ALL the things, I get to boss everyone else around the entire trip, muah haha. You can’t argue with the organizer, can you?
    janice recently posted..My Favorite 4-year-old

    • On October 11, 2014 at 8:48 am Sally said:

      Well, you can’t argue with the organizer… but you CAN make subversive plans to do things the organizer hasn’t organized. Which is exactly how I roll. In fact, on this last trip, I drove myself while everyone else went in an RV. Partly because I had been sick right before we left and was worried I’d get sick again and have to come home or go to the hospital mid-trip. (Luckily, I didn’t have to.) And partly because I knew I’d need to escape the group at some point and do something “off the itinerary.”

  9. On October 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm Ed said:

    Ha! You are so right…I would NEVER do a male strip show alone… πŸ˜‰
    Ed recently posted..This trail in Southern Washington is my secret santuary

  10. On October 9, 2014 at 12:29 pm HotMamaTravel said:

    I travel with a large group which includes 3 toddlers (even better). What makes for better vacation memories than a few chaotic moments? Plus, I’m bossy so it would be pretty boring if there was no one around to dictate too. Like you said, you can’t really yell at strangers.

  11. On October 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm becky hutner said:

    I wish I didn’t see myself in this post but alas, I do!!!! Ask the other 8 people I shared an Ibizan villa with what a delight I was & they’ll probably wax poetic over the way i’d walk past them in the morning without so much as a grunt, my endless need for quiet time in my room & my knack for skipping off on adventures without inviting anyone else. needless to say, they were charmed!!
    becky hutner recently posted..INSTAWORLD!

  12. On October 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm Ethan said:

    Oh yes, I’m the same kind of antisocial solo traveller, finally someone who understands me! My friends think that it’s pretty weird to go somewhere alone and I’m probably depressed or something… And what are the reasons I like to travel with someone? Well, sometimes it’s because I like to have some people posing for my artistic (ehh?) travel photos, but it’s also about your 3rd reason: I asked my best friend to drive me to Squamish and then convinced him to try kiteboarding. However, Squamish is probably the best place to learn it in Canada (and it’s beautifully unique, too! Look: http://jaybanks.ca/vancouver-blog/2014/08/20/kite-boarding-surfing-lessons/), we were not really able to improve our skills. But we have some pretty funny memories so it was definitely worth it. Antisocials, JUST DO IT! πŸ˜‰

    • On November 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm Sally said:

      Ahhh! I made the mistake of clicking on the link you sent me and kiteboarding looks TERRIFYING. No thank you. But glad to hear you had a good time! πŸ™‚

  13. On November 9, 2014 at 10:12 am Krystal said:

    This is brilliant, I can’t remember the last time I laughed to much reading a post. I feel like this article was written for me. And it’s so true – recently I gave in a traveled with a group of friends (on a day trip, mind you – I’m not nearly as brave as you) and we went tromping through the woods to sneak into a haunted insane asylum. Without them, I’d probably still be circling around in the woods today. And they even helped drag me up the steep parts. But yeah, that’s enough group travel for me!

    • On November 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm Sally said:

      A HAUNTED INSANE ASYLUM??? Omydeargod. That sounds AMAZING. And totally terrifying. And like I’d defintely need at least 10 people to drag me there because there ain’t no way I’d go in that alone!

  14. On March 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm Ceri said:

    I have a confession – I’d only ever travelled solo in my life and absolutely loved it, up until last year.

    I took a few holidays and went travelling with friends and I enjoyed sharing the experience so much with other people that I’m actually kind of scared to go travelling alone again. ;/
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February

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