Do the Thing Solo Or, Stop Telling Yourself You Can't Do Stuff Unless Someone Goes With You

Solo travel is cool. Unless you're delirious and have a fever.

Today is the day I admit the extent of my loserdom: I once went to a concert by myself.

It was a small-ish concert at the Black Cat in D.C., headlined by a band that I still love. (Magic Man haters not welcome.) The problem was that I didn’t know very many people in D.C. at the time, and of the people I knew, I was pretty sure none of them had heard of this band that I listened to all the time.

I’m just too hipster and obscure, obviously.

So I worried about it, and felt like a loser, and considered asking a roommate to go with me, and then I bought the damn ticket.

Because when I thought about it, why wouldn’t I want to go to a concert with the only person I knew who loved this band like I did – myself?

That’s super cheesy, but I enjoyed not having to worry about what other people thought of the music, or whether we could stay after to meet the band (which I did), or if the person I would have dragged along was having fun. I was there. I was having fun.

And yes, there was some awkward standing around alone time. It was difficult to not just stare at my phone until the openers came on. And it would have been nice to have someone to hold my purse when I went to the bathroom.

But I stood exactly where I wanted to stand, I bought a merch shirt when I wanted to buy a merch shirt, and I knew most of the words. It was a great time.

My personality tends to play into this doing-activities-alone thing (my latest phrase for it is “leaning introverted.”) I like hanging out with friends and meeting new people, but I need that recovery period of spending time by myself.

Here are a few things I’ve done alone this past week:

Gone to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens:

Walked around a wetlands park:

Gone to seeUnder an Arctic Sky (which I rave about a bit here.)

A few weeks ago, though, I was listening to a She Explores podcast episode about solo hiking, and it occurred to me that to my knowledge, I have never hiked by myself. Not even a short day hike.

Sure, safety is a factor, and I always want to make sure I’m taking the best precautionary measures before venturing into the outdoors. But one of the main reasons I love hiking and exploring outside is the meditativeness that nature offers, along with the ability to escape from the rest of the world.

Side note:

I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at meditating. Sitting still for that long is nearly impossible; I want to either fall asleep or get up and do something productive.

I do, however, enjoy running, and consider that my own form of meditation.

Why not hike by myself, then?

To be honest, the thought has never really occurred to me. I like sharing the outdoors with other people.

I have traveled by myself. There’s a fun story I tell people about the time I went to Barcelona and was horribly sick for 4 days; can you tell from the featured image on this post?

I’ve gone to museums by myself. I’ve even skied by myself, though that was one time my freshman year of college, and I was so wrapped up in my own head that I didn’t enjoy the alone time like I should have.

So, one of my goals for the rest of this year is to hike solo at least once.

There isn’t a whole lot of wilderness near where I live, so I’m not concerned about pushing myself too much. The point is to take on a challenge that it’s my responsibility to make happen and to experience fully. Just hanging out with myself on the trail. And maybe 1,000 other people who are also escaping the city, but let’s just ignore them.

When you stop worrying about what other people think, or what something you do looks like, or whether you should be thinking certain things about it – that can be so freeing.

Easier said than done, of course. I’ve written before that I’m working on not caring about what other people think.

But if you’re considering not doing something because you don’t have anyone to go with….why not do it anyway and see what happens? No need to let other people determine whether or not you do things in your life.

That concert I went to? Sure, the gin & tonic I ordered may have helped with the social uncomfortableness. Do what you gotta do to make solo activities work for you. And afterward, you might just decide you’d do it again sometime.