The year I turned forty, I wanted to take a solo trip to Taiwan all by myself to visit my friends and eat and drink to my heart’s content. I envisioned staying at my cousin’s apartment without any of my four children tagging along to ruin my life with their jetlag and tiny human demands. I had been thisclose to escaping without a single one of my delightfully adorable brood except my then 6-year-old daughter gazed at me with her beautiful, dark eyes and begged me to take her with me, and I was lost and ruined.
I don’t regret it per se — we did have a lot of fun and though she barely remembers it, I recall it fondly.
However. Let it be said that I would have had an absolutely fabulous time in Taipei all by myself meeting up with friends and family — beholden only to my stomach.
And now? Well, after this past year and half trapped in the house with five of my favorite humans (okay, that’s a lie, but we survived and I do love my family), I’m more than ready to take off by my lonesome. In fact, I did arrange a few trips to Los Angeles by myself — though I did meet up with a lot of friends (new and old) so I suppose that technically doesn’t count. (I did, however, make the five-hour drive each way up and down the center of California by myself — something I’ve done countless times. It was glorious and no one spoke to me as I blasted BTS the entire way.)
While summer is often lauded as a great time for children to relax, it’s often the exact opposite for many parents — especially moms. You may, in fact, be suffering major burnout. Even though fall is notoriously busy for parents thanks to the new school year, I say, fuck it! Leave all the kids and your spouse at home and take a day or two just for your damn self.
In case you need some friendly persuasion (or at least, an article giving you all the reasons to convince your partner), here are some reasons why you should take a solo trip.
1) Why not?
No, seriously. Why not?
2) It can be a chance to rest.
Your trip doesn’t have to be packed full of activities. Sometimes your body just needs rest. And while it may seem self-indulgent to pay money for a hotel room just to sleep and relax, that’s the entire point!
Lisa Curzon told us she tries to take a trip for herself every year. “It doesn’t always have to be far away, but I at least get out of my immediate town and get a hotel or AirBnb for a couple nights to escape the everyday tasks and noises, sleep as long as I need or want, eat warm food without sharing, whenever I want, and let my brain find rest and creativity,” the mother of two shared. “The only thing bad is that it’s never long enough!”
3) It boosts your confidence.
Confidence is rooted in self-efficacy. When you accomplish tasks that initially seemed difficult and daunting, your self-assurance increases as your competence does. “Solo trips always make me a little apprehensive, but it’s always been a great experience,” Lynn Wiltse told Scary Mommy. “It’s helped boost my confidence and pushed me to try new experiences. I would absolutely do it again.”
4) It challenges your fears.
Not only does solo traveling increase your self-belief, it can also help you confront your fears. Many women are afraid to travel by themselves for a variety of reasons, but once they do, they realize they can do hard things! Often in foreign languages!
For travel guru Roni Faida, she moved out of the country for her first solo trip! She was 25 and moved to Barcelona, Spain without speaking a word of Spanish. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I cried — no, I wept like a baby — at the airport and clung to my mom like a child,” Faida told us. “The best thing about it was that I learned so much about myself, and I learned that I was capable of doing anything I set my mind to.” Not only that, Faida said the experience increased her empathy for immigrants and learned that the American way was not the only way.
5) It increases empathy.
Speaking of growing our compassion and understanding for others, that’s another reason to travel by yourself. When Kelly Sharpe Reilly went to visit her stepsister in Lima, Peru, she went to visit Machu Picchu by herself on a 4-day trip. Just her luck, the train workers had gone on strike for a few days and it was difficult for her to figure out what was going on. “It made me have more empathy for my students who spoke English as a second language. I ended up being there for their summer solstice festival and it was amazing!” Ultimately, Reilly was incredibly glad she experienced Machu Picchu but confessed she did feel “lost” for a couple of days when she didn’t understand when the trains might run again.
6) You can enjoy your own company.
Too often, we distract ourselves from our true thoughts, feelings, and pain by working harder or taking care of others. When you travel by yourself, it’s just you and you can’t escape. Tomiko Harvey takes annual solo trips either domestically or internationally because as she told us, “I love being alone in a new city walking through the streets, eating at cafes, taking pictures of landmarks and enjoying my own company.”
7) It allows you to rediscover yourself.
Nothing like spending years caring for tiny humans and trying to keep everything afloat to feel as if you’ve completely disappeared. A trip doing exactly what you want the way you want can remind you of who you used to be (and still are). “I took a four-day trip to Paris by myself that was simply glorious. For the first time in years I was solely responsible for myself. I went to museums, walked up and down Montmartre, and even went to see Monet’s gardens in Giverny,” award-winning journalist Jeannette Kaplun told us.
“The trip was a gift to myself that allowed me to rediscover joy and parts of me I had forgotten,” added Kaplun. “I would do it again in a heartbeat! That trip to Paris was pure joy and was a turning point in my life.”
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time or the perfect trip, don’t delay any longer. Choose a weekend, book that hotel, and get the hell outta Dodge. Your family will still be there when you get back and quite possibly, they’ll appreciate you even more. (I’m still waiting for this to happen so your mileage may vary.) Whatever — at least you’ll have gotten some much needed time in the bathroom alone.