I just got back from Seattle late last night. My dad picked me up from the Airport and so kindly asked me if I wanted In N Out as my first meal back from Seattle. So cute!! But the truth was, I didn’t need a burger because I had just eaten a Zippy’s Giant Burger right before zipping to the Seattle Tacoma Airport in my giant pick up truck. I was able to do that because I was traveling solo and at that moment I wanted a big, giant, juicy burger. And when you travel solo, you do what you want. Also, burgers are my passion and first love.
So that brings me to the topic of solo travel. It’s a highly discussed, sometimes even commonly debated subject. When really all it is is preference. I’ll just share my experience of being sleepless, single, and solo in Seattle.
To be honest, I wasn’t alone for the first half. I went with my mom. We spent some great mother daughter time shopping and catching up with friends and family we had in that area. But then, she up and left me to go to New York and meet her college friends. That started my solo-dolo time. If you look at my Facebook pictures I look like the happiest camper but in actuality moments before I was about to be “alone” I was guilt tripping my mom the entire way to drop her off at the “LINK” or subway that went directly to the airport. I claimed that she was abandoning me all alone in a big city and that I didn’t know where to eat dinner that night and that bad things could happen to me.
The next day I woke up early, went downstairs to work out and while I was on the treadmill I was watching The Morning Show and Anna Kendrick was on there. They were reading her tweets aloud and one of them said “Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. That was exactly what I had decided to allocate this alone time to doing…recognizing the fact that I was stuck with ME my whole life and to get used to and start to like being with me.
Excited and with a new gusto of eagerness to implement self-love, I set out into the world of Seattle with my headphones on. I took a bus up to Capitol Hill which is the cutest little part of town filled with thrift stores and coffee shops. It also smells faintly of marijuana and sunscreen. After browsing for a while I decided to rent a bicycle for an hour. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I rented a bicycle at a place called Capitol HILL. It was very hilly. I was extremely out of shape. They also make you wear these bright green helmets and I just looked like such an alone, sad, out of breath tourist who was sweaty and lost. After about 15 minutes I was desperately searching for the closest station to drop off the bike.
From there I took the LINK to Georgetown to meet a mentor and friend who had just moved out there to take on a new corporate job. We had lunch and laughed over ginger beers. From there I went to the Pike Place Fish Market and bought smoked salmon for my dad. I then proceeded to run towards the pier to catch a 5:30pm ferry to Bainbridge Island. I made it on at 5:25pm and sat with commuters who were coming home from work in Seattle. One of them was so kind enough to drop me off at the main street where I walked and popped into a few stores just as they were closing. It started to get more and more chilly. Bainbridge Island is a small, quaint little island with a population of less than $25,0o0. Also, fun fact Snoop Dogg will be performing there April 18th if you wanted to go. I walked along a small pathway along the harbor and passed a few places that were all flipping the Open sign to Closed. Just as I contemplated heading back to the ferry I stumbled upon a very alive, happening spot. I opened the door and headed to the bar and squeezed between an older couple and two ladies. After ordering a Springtini and a few raw oysters, a girl asked me if the seat next to me was taken. We hit it off! She was traveling alone as well from North Carolina. We talked about Southeast Asia as she’ll be taking a solo trip there in the summer and I had done the same thing about two years ago. It was so nice and couldn’t have been planned that we met there and talked and talked about travel.
I politely excused myself and left after a while because I wanted to make the 8:55pm ferry and she wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay. I walked fast back to the ferry because it was FREEZING. The ride back was gorgeous and Seattle’s skyline all lit up was a sight to see. I met up again with the girl I had met at Harbour Public House, lovingly referred to as the Harbour Pub, and we split an Uber back to each of our prospective hotels.
The next day was my last day in Washington and I wanted to make it count. I booked a car at Enterprise. Unfortunately, if I wanted to drop off the car at the airport it would be an additional $100. But when I went in I asked again if there was any way. The manager overheard and said, well if you take one of these pick up trucks you can do it and we’ll waive the fee. I was floored! It has always been my dream to drive a pick up truck so I shook my head eagerly. They asked me if I wanted black or gray, I said black duh. When they handed me the keys and “Riptide” by Vance Joy was playing on the stereo I was SO excited. I packed in my luggage, got behind the wheel and went on the road for about 60-70 miles North on the 5. It was super easy to get to Skagit Valley from where I was and it was the best feeling. The tulip fields were crowded with humans and selfie sticks. I was quite honestly disappointed with the whole thing but the sights themselves redeemed my annoyance. Although it wasn’t the calm, peaceful, and serene experience I had imagined it was still the most breathtaking and stunningly beautiful sight. After meandering around rows and rows of tulips I jumped back in the pick up truck and headed to the airport. Something about having 50+ miles to go really helps to clear your mind.
Which brings me to being picked up by my dad and offered In N Out. I know that was a really long winded story but the thing is traveling alone is what you make it. Some people love it, swear by it, and will do it for the rest of their lives. I’m actually not one of those people. I love to do it and I love that I put myself out there to try it, but I’ll be the first to admit that it can be challenging, awkward, and lonely at the same time. Traveling alone CAN mean riding a bicycle up hill in a green helmet, tripping in your brand new Birkenstocks every 30 seconds, and asking Chinese couples to take your picture in front of flowers. However, traveling alone is something I will cherish for a long, long time as well. The goal of learning and loving to be with myself, for the rest of my life, was also accomplished. Rihanna once said “The minute you learn to love yourself, you will not want to be anyone else.” That was another lightbulb, I learned to love myself and I stopped wanting to be anyone else.