In ten days, a friend who has graciously offered me a ride, in exchange for Tim Horton’s breakfast, will drop me off at the Edmonton International Airport and I will board a plane, by myself, and land, 8 hours later, in New York City. This is not my first trip alone, but it is my first time going abroad alone, and I can’t bring myself to be afraid.
Part of it is that I enjoy doing things on my own: I like taking myself out for dinner, seeing shows by myself, and shopping on my own. Maybe it’s that I’ve been single my whole life that I’ve never felt I was missing out when I saw a new movie by myself. Really, it’s an ideal situation to do things on your own: you never have to worry whether the other person likes what you’re doing, you never have to coordinate schedules with someone else. The only happiness I’m worrying about is my own, and that’s a burden enough.
I won’t be entirely alone – I have plans to spend a day with a friend and I will no doubt chat with a few strangers as I go, but I’m not going to be social. I’m going to see a city, not people. I’m going so I can read books and turn off my phone, to see something new and to actually enjoy being 22.
A few months ago, I decided I was going to do things that make me happy, and not worry myself about practicality, or what I think I should be doing. This commitment is pretty easy when I don’t have to wait on other people to decide whether or not they are down for a last minute Starbucks date, or whether or not someone else wants to go dancing with me.
It started for me when I wanted to see a movie midday and everyone else was busy – why not just go on my own? You aren’t supposed to talk in the movie theatre anyway. And I ended up having a great time – it was a break from worrying about the post-movie conversation about whether or not I liked it, or what my favourite scene was.
My love for doing things on my own has only grown. I gave up trying to get other people to come with me to Rocky Horror; instead I go have a blast all by myself. I go to the theatre by myself and happily run in to other people I know; I sit in a coffee shop by myself and enjoy watching strangers, rather than worrying about performing for the person I’m with. We all perform some version of ourselves for our friends and family. It’s a relief, sometimes, to let go of the performance and just be a spectator in the world.
So when I decided a couple Saturdays ago, that I wanted to go to New York, I asked for advice, ignored the advice, and booked an AirBnB. I know the things I want, where I want to go – not so clear on some other things, but that’s okay.