Until this trip, Whuffaoke or Bust, the longest trip I had taken with friends for a very long time (read about 5 years) was just a few days. A short hop to Europe for a BarCamp or a long weekend in the states. Why? I love to travel alone. I love the freedom it gives me to be wild and do those crazy things that give me the stories I have to tell. I am at liberty to change my plans on a whim, or better still make no plans at all and just see what happens. I needn’t consult with anyone about anything. I want steak, I go to a steakhouse. I want to drive another 3 hours, I just do it.
There is also the social aspect. Meeting people when you travel alone is not only much easier, and it’s those connections that often lead to the aforementioned stories. Traveling with others gives you far too much of an excuse (which you use subconciously) to not meet new people. Some of these fleeting connections made at 4:30AM when climbing into the wrong hostel bed to be met with someone already asleep there really can be the beginnings of lifetime friendships.
On the flip side it’s a phenominal way to get to know people. Before this trip I I’d hung out with Tara a bunch of times in the last year or so, and I do count her as a friend, but it’s one thing seeing each other occasionally and spending 23 days together. Tony and Alex I had met briefly earlier this year and Karen I met for the first time a few days ago! We all shared one thing (being friends with Tara) so I knew that we would probably all get along.
The trip has been going great, and all of the complaints I might have about traveling in a group are negated by the greater goal of what we are doing, Karaokeing across America. The decisions we collectively make are simplified and guided by our goal, which removes much of the tension over decisions experienced in other group trips, even the short ones.
This was crystalized when we were in Las Vegas going out after our show. We had 4 hours to kill, and no plan. Everything fell apart. We didn’t argue or fight but we suffered an inability to make a collective decision over things like where to eat and drink, what casino to go to and so on. Why? Because we had lost that communal goal which bound our decisions. We experience this in every day life too, not just on holiday, though when away from our comfort zones this seems to be heightened.
I think I will continue to travel alone when travel itself is the goal, but where experiences like the Whuffaoke come up, I think I can make an exception