(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)
The only major end-of-year holiday (I’m including both Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I haven’t spent with at least one family member was Christmas 2004. I was at the tail end of spending a semester abroad in Amsterdam and I had a ticket to fly back to the States a few days later. I spent most of that day walking around the city, and I saw a musical performance at a beautiful church in Dam Square. It was nice, but I’d been there for five months by that time and I was ready to go home.
Some women like to take vacations alone. I’ve done this several times (the most notable solo trip being three days in London when I was doing that semester abroad, and I’ve driven by myself across the U.S. a few times), but usually I’m meeting up with someone once I arrive at my destination. Compared to women who really have traveled the world, the few trips I’ve taken by myself don’t seem very substantial.
There are a number of advantages to traveling solo. The most obvious? You’re the one making the decisions about where you want to go and what you want to see. You don’t have to worry about asking your friend or significant other if they’re interested in the same destination you want to go to, or if you want to see the same things once you get there. If you want to linger in front of a statue for 15 minutes, there’s nobody to stop you or sigh in boredom. You’re not being pulled or hurried along. (But on the down side, unless you’re the type of person who enjoys striking up conversations with random strangers, there’s a real possibility you might miss having someone to talk to.)
Even though a lot of women take solo trips, I would think the number of women who specifically take a vacation over Thanksgiving or Christmas would be smaller than other times during the year. Personally, even though I would take a trip by myself, I wouldn’t purposefully book it to take place over the holiday season. I get along very well with my family, and most of my immediate family members live within a few hours drive. On top of that, I only get to see some of my aunts and cousins a few times a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas being included in that total). So if I were to stay away, that’s just one less time I’d get to see some people that I think are pretty cool individuals.
That being said, if a woman really wants to go somewhere and she doesn’t care what time of year it is, traveling alone during the holidays (or anytime else) is perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged. The few times I’ve had a female friend tell me they were going on a solo vacation, I’ve responded, “Good for you! That’s awesome. I should really do that, too.”
I know I’ve been guilty of putting off trips because I didn’t want to go alone, while the truth is I’d probably have a grand old time if I actually went through with it. And if I decided to take that trip over a holiday, I’m sure my family would be a little disappointed but they certainly wouldn’t be upset or disown me over it. Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you.
Have you ever taken a trip by yourself? Did it take place over a major holiday? If you haven’t done so, would you?