My plans to study abroad have been fairly firm for a few months now, and when I talk about what I’m about to do, nearly every asks me WHY I’m going alone. I’ll be at ACT with other study abroad students, definitely other Americans, but nobody I already know. I’ll be spending the two weeks in London completely alone. Why?
Well, the most obvious reason is that I don’t want anyone to come with me. Last summer I spent a month and a half in Italy with my best friends. It was fun, it was great to share that experience with them and it was by far the best month and a half of my life thus far. But it was also a pain. I don’t want to be traveling with another person because I don’t want to have to alter what I want to do or compromise to make them happy. I don’t want to have to be conscious of what other people might want to do, see, not do or not see. I want to do what I want, where I want, for as long as I want. I don’t want to feel that I have to spend a certain amount of time with anyone or go somewhere I don’t want to go because “I’m not the only one on this trip and we’re on vacation, too.” I know that’s incredibly selfish, but this is MY trip and MY year, and I get to be selfish.
To be honest, I prefer to be alone. I prefer independence because, while I love my friends to death, I don’t like taking care of other people or being required to be concerned about what they want. All my friends are adults, they know what they want and can do it if they want to. I, similarly, like doing what I want, and I don’t like having to consider what someone else wants when I do it. Being alone gives me more freedom and that is an integral part of my happiness.
It never once occurred to me that I might bring someone along with me. It was always a given from the beginning that I would go alone. Sometimes it can be fun to experience new things with other people, but, again, this year is for me.