We all probably know a friend (or two) who loves to go away on his/her own and has waxed lyrical about why it is an experience to be had. Well, here’s someone who isn’t quite onboard with the idea. Yet.
A lot of people embrace the chance the go away by themselves. Me? As I’ve learnt recently, not so much. It isn’t that I’m paranoid or that I’m incapable of planning an itinerary. I think I had never entertained the thought of a solo vacation because …
I really hate to admit this in public …
… deep down, I am possibly Singapore’s most FOMO individual.
There. I’ve said it. FOMO is a nice way of putting it. The not-so-palatable way? I am terribly insecure.
Even in Singapore, whenever I find myself alone, my mind would stray to thoughts like, “Where’s everyone? Have they all met up in secret and are having fun without me?”; “Why hasn’t anyone called me to hang out?”; “WHAT THE HELL IS EVERYONE DOING?!? WHY BO-JIO MEEEE???”
It’s embarrassing. It’s silly. It’s hugely crippling.
I have been away by myself before. However, these trips were usually for work. I was given “an excuse” to be somewhere, had a “task” to do, had people to “meet”, and had been “promised” to a certain number of appointments and meetings.
So when I decided to – for the first time in my life – take a holiday alone, I found myself at a complete loss of what to do. I don’t know if it was my choice of destination – perhaps a city might have been better for me. I don’t know if I should have headed off to a place that had absolutely no Internet – weaning off my compulsive social media habits might have helped address my FOMO-ness.
Instead of checking out the attractions, I constantly checked my email. Instead of striking up conversations with strangers, I kept to myself wherever I went, clutching onto my Kindle for dear life. The idea of “getting lost” was so overwhelming, I think I would have found being tied up and locked away far more fun.
Citing insecurity as a reason is, truthfully, only looking at the surface of the matter. Self-deprecating statements aside, I think a big part of why I did not enjoy my solo travel is because I’m terrified of loneliness.
It’s a kind of loneliness that cannot be overcome simply by learning to “enjoy your own company”. This sense of isolation I feel when I’m alone is so deep-rooted, perhaps I might actually require therapy to get over it. Of all the scary emotions one experiences – loneliness, fear, disappointment, sadness, etc – I think loneliness is my Kryptonite. As a person who thrives on attention and approval, I found being on my own disorienting. Instead of soaking up new experiences, I allowed myself to be drowned in my own whirlpool of negativity.
Most people go on a short trip by themselves so they get away from people, decompress a little bit, and maybe gain some new perspective about Life. I returned to Singapore, ironically, more tensed up.
Perhaps, with more practice, I may get better at being a solo traveller. But until I regain the courage to try it once more, I think I will stick to a staycation at a comfy hotel and fill my weekend with pampering spa treatments and lots of room service.
Do you have any advice for me on how I can learn to like solo travel? I would love to hear from you.
28 Oct 2016