New York City… alone!

If you’re a full-time parent like me, you’ll understand the magnitude of what I’m about to say:

I’m embarking on a solo trip. That is alone. As in by myself. No husband, no kids. I don’t even know how to express how excited I am.

I’m going to New York City for the first time in decades, and I can’t wait.

New York City at night

Part of the New York City skyline

I still remember how it feels to travel alone. I can close my eyes and cast my mind back to years ago, before the husband, before the child, to a time when I took off for parts unknown by myself several times a year.

I think back to a trip to Prague with my boyfriend (now husband) just a few months after we met. I had done a lot of solo traveling before going on that trip, and it was strange how easily I slipped into traveling with a new person. It was great, but I didn’t realize how different it was until one day on our trip he didn’t feel well and decided to stay in bed that afternoon. After being assured by him that he was only mildly ill, I opted to go out and explore a little by myself instead of spending all day in the hotel room with him.

I walked out of the hotel and started wandering in whatever direction I thought looked interesting. I felt myself relaxing into my old self from just a few months ago. “Oh, right, THIS is what it feels like,” I thought as I explored the winding streets. There were no consultations on where someone else might want to go, no negotiations about where to eat or if we should stop. It was completely up to me.

Prague, Czech Republic

See those little streets? Fun to explore with someone else or alone.

Fast forward to the present day with a husband and child, and it’s been a long time since I’ve traveled alone. When we travel, there are always other voices that need to be heard. My husband might want to go to a museum while I want to stop in at that cafe down the street for a croissant, and my daughter needs a nap. I’m well-accustomed to the negotiations and compromises necessary when traveling with my family.

But on this trip, I’ll be in charge. I’m going to the Women’s Travel Fest conference, but guess what… if I get there and decide that I want to explore the city instead, I can! I probably won’t, of course, but that’s not the point. The point is that all decisions are in my hands.

I’m wondering if New York seem as big as it did when I was younger. Will I still be slightly intimidated by all the people rushing around on sidewalks and huge skyscrapers filling the skies?

I want to see how the city has changed since I last visited. But I also want to see how I’ve changed. The city will be different, but – several decades later – I’ll be different, too. The way I see things now will be different from how I saw them when I was younger. How much of the change in what I see will be attributable to the city itself changing, and how much is attributable to how I’ve changed over time?

It’s a short trip this time – just for a weekend – but I’m going to squeeze in as much exploring as possible in each of those 48 hours I’ve got.

4 thoughts on “New York City… alone!

  1. You’re preaching to the choir here, Laura. As a 30+ year solo travelnlass – you’ll get no argument from me on the supreme blessing of:

    (point is, simply ‘cuz) “I can! I ”

    Indeed, even for those who favor traveling with a partner (for there are surely pros and cons to both travel styles), I strongly recommend at least occasionally going solo.

    It’s an entirely different way to travel. Not only does facing (and solo surmounting) the myriad of challenges that travel heaps (and imho, happily so) on you when navigating a new corner of the globe alone, drive your self esteem and confidence through the ROOF, but..

    The best part is that solo travelers are far more open (as opposed to partners/trios/groups perpetually gabbing with each other) and thus seen as approachable by the locals. So you’re far more likely to enjoy truly authentic travel moments – the locals all over the globe will reach out to help with whatever you need, and often invite you into their homes for tea, etc.

    Good for you for deliberately opting for a bit of solo “Laura” adventure. I look forward to reading all about your brief romp ’round NYC.

    • That’s a great point about meeting locals more often when you’re on your own, Dyanne. I can say from personal experience that I’ve met more people when I travel alone than when I travel with my family. It’s almost as if there’s a little bubble around people who travel together, preventing them from interacting with people outside the group as often. I guess chasing after a toddler isn’t highly conducive to chatting it up with the person at the table next to you in a restaurant. Ha!

  2. Love this Laura…and can I say I am jealous?
    I was in NYC last year with my six month old and husband. One afternoon they both decided they needed a nap and so I went out all by myself for a whole 3 hours. It was delicious. I remember thinking ‘THIS is a city I could travel to alone’.
    Have a great time!

    • Thanks, Emma! I did indeed have a great time, even though I missed my husband and daughter a lot. But I think they had a good time on their own for a change, so it was good for all of us! 🙂

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