Left Behind: The Other Side of Solo Travel

My 'poor husband' is 'stuck' in Vegas--I weep for him.


My husband just called me from Vegas and said I don’t know how you do this solo travel thing–I’m totally stressed out and now I’m lonely, too.  After a long man-weekend with nine of his friends, he suddenly found himself in his 52nd floor suite all alone, waiting for his laundry to finish drying, and wondering what to do for the day until his flight leaves at 10:00 tonight.  I gave him a few suggestions–none of which he will likely take–and failed to mention how awesome it is that his suite has laundry facilities; that’s a luxury I rarely enjoy when traveling.

My husband, of whom I have shockingly few photos. Ha!

I have to admit, I’m kind of jealous right now.  I’d much rather be faced with a day killing time in Vegas than sitting in my un-airconditioned home office, sweat making my legs stick to the fake leather of my swivel chair with a sink full of dishes mocking me and two dogs that ring the bell to go out every twenty minutes or so (to whom I’ve said ‘awww come on–grow some thumbs’ way more times in the past few days than I can count.)

But I also have to admit that now that I’ve seen the other side of solo travel, it’s really not so bad.  I’ve felt a bit guilty every time I’ve gone away this year, and was interested to see how I felt about being the left-behind, not the leaver.  My verdict is:  it’s kind of awesome.  And so, I bring to you two different perspectives on the two different perspectives of solo travel from two different people–myself and my husband.  Go ahead–guess which one is the only child (hint:  it’s ME!)

What’s the best thing about traveling solo?

My Answer: I think I’ve covered that here on the Suitcase Scholar fairly often–but if you don’t feel like clicking THIS LINK, here’s my short list:  you can do what you want when you want, it’s cheaper, it’s less stressful, and you meet more people.

His Answer: Nothing.  *Big sigh*  I enjoy being around other people.  I had fun when the guys were there, but given the opportunity to spend the day in Vegas by myself, I chose to go to the movies, PF Changs, and hang out at the hotel bar.

My reply to his answer:  That.  is.  so.  lame.

What’s the worst thing about traveling solo?

My Answer:  While I do believe that solo travel is less stressful, there are still some things that are a bit more anxiety-ridden when traveling solo, at least for me.  Mine are typically all about transportation–getting a cab, figuring out public transport, even navigating a rental car is more difficult when you are alone.

His Answer: For me, I get panic attacks.  So the idea that there’s no one there in case I freak out is not a good things–in fact it makes me freak out more.  It’s a vicious cycle.

When your partner travels solo, what is your life like?

My Answer:  I am so sorry, dear husband, but I have to admit it is kind of great to be home alone.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been traveling solo so much, but solo-home-staying has all of the best parts of solo travel with none of the downsides.  You can still do what you want when you want to, it’s still cheaper, and you still get to meet more people–sort of.  I’ve been forced to be more social over the past few days, and have had a fabulous time (though the holiday weekend didn’t hurt).  I’ve hung out with four different groups of friends, explored a new rail trail, went to a state park, watched ten episodes of Sex and the City and had italian ice for dinner.  And all the while, all of the comforts of home were provided.  My bed, my car, my kitchen (the latter of which one doesn’t really need when one has Italian ice for dinner).  While you were having a great time in Las Vegas, I was having a fantastic time in Macungie.  Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type!

His Answer: I’m busy.  I have work stuff to keep me occupied.  I’m home, so there’s a certain comfort level that goes along with that.  And I know that you’re having fun, and that makes me happy.  Plus I know that I can just order a pizza and that will last me a week.

So there you have it–our two different views of both solo travel and its mirror image–being left behind by a solo traveler. Clearly, he’s a man of few words, while I’m a woman of many.

Please note:  While I’ve always had issues with verb tense in my writing, this post–and the posts to come–will be especially confusing.  This is because I wrote them last week to be posted next week while I am away.  So forgive the odd sense of time.  Thanks for understanding.  

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