Just One? Yep, Just One! (By Pam Selker Rak)

I inherited a lot of traits from my mother; but I think my favorite one is that I’m a loner at heart. I’m perfectly happy in my own company and I don’t need a three-ring circus going on around me to make me happy. In fact, three-ring circuses make me a little crazy.

Pam Rak goes on a solo adventure in a helicopter during recent business trip
Pam Rak goes on a solo helicopter adventure during business trip

Now this may surprise a few people who know me. But just because you’re “outwardly” outgoing, doesn’t mean you’re not a loner and even a little shy at heart. In my business, this trait has come in very handy. I never minded “holing” up to conquer a big project. In fact, I like it!

But where it’s really come in handy is during business travel. A good part of the time, I travel alone – and I’ve had mixed experiences from others due to this. In fact, just recently, I went to dinner and the hostess (who I’m sure had wonderful intentions) said, “Oh, are you all alone tonight?” (She even said it with sad, puppy dog eyes.)

I have to admit that it took me aback for a second. But I turned it into a joke and said, “No, actually there are three: Me, myself and I.

For the most part, people aren’t so outwardly pitiful when you’re alone; so here are five reasons why you should give it go:

  • You Meet People You Never Would Have Otherwise
    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to and met just by traveling alone. It used to be really hard for me to strike up a conversation with someone who I didn’t know. But now, I have no problem. It’s helped me to develop networking skills I never even knew I had! And I’ve made some great friends, too!
  • You Learn More About Yourself
    Forget the therapist! Anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone is going to be your best self-help experience. Traveling alone forces you to understand what makes you happy – and what doesn’t. I’ve gotten a better understanding of my goals, my dreams – and yes, who I am as a person – just by being free of the distractions of the normal, everyday routine.
  • Your Time Is Truly Your Own
    When you travel alone, you answer to no one (well, with the possible exception of a client or two!). But other than meetings, your free time is truly your own. No negotiating. No forced dinner conversations with people you don’t really know. You get to spend your time doing your own thing – at your own pace!
  • It Challenges You
    One of the reasons I love to travel the world as much as possible stems from my business travel. It gets you out of your daily routine – out of your house and city – to explore new areas. I love this about travel, especially when I’m alone. You become more observant. More understanding of differences and more –well-rounded.
  • It Tames Your Type A Tendencies
    Okay, for me, this took awhile; but it’s finally starting to happen. I’ve become more patient due to traveling alone. I’ve learned to “cool my jets” when things don’t go just right, be it travel delays or crappy hotels or whatever else the travel gods throw your way.

If you don’t think you could ever survive a trip alone, think again! Give it a try!! And here’s a little bonus tip…when the restaurant hostess says, “Oh, just one of you?” Smile and say, “Yes, thank goodness there’s just one of me in this world!”

Happy traveling (alone)!