Traveling by myself? I used to think “nooooo way” but a recent trip to New York City changed my thoughts! I had a chance to hit up the Big Apple for a day courtesy of a company I had a meeting with. While the trip only lasted a day, it still taught me a ton about myself. So buckle up and let’s talk about what I learned visiting NYC by myself.
I was invited to New York a couple weeks before the meeting was set to take place. Because of the short timeline, I didn’t have much time to consider whether I wanted to go or not, much less get excited for the trip. Once I knew that the trip would work for my schedule I just right in and committed! So what exactly did I learn from traveling by myself?
Go with your gut
I’m always one to go with my gut when it comes to making any kind of decision. After I did an immense amount of research on the company that would be hosting me for the trip, I decided to take the leap. Because the company not only looked and sounded legit, but also had the backing of major companies, like Huff Post, I knew I would be in good hands.
My point is that although everything panned out to signify that this company was not a scam, if my own intuition told me something otherwise, I would not have gone. Plus, since I would be traveling alone in a city I am unfamiliar with, I need to be extra cautious. Being the analytical person that I am, I would always advice you to sleep on a major decision like this. The opportunity won’t go away over night! Visiting NYC by myself allowed me to get a better idea of my intuition and make judgments for myself.
Do things to get out of your comfort zone
That being said about going with your gut, I still did feel a pang of nervousness the night before the trip. These nerves sprang up not because I truly felt something bad would happen to me, but because I had never done something like this before.
I strongly believe that you will never grow if you always stay inside your limits of comfort. When there’s no risk, there’s no reward. Had I not decided to hit up the Big Apple, I would have never realized I could do something like that on my own.
Act like you know what you’re doing
When you’re in any situation that is new to you, the best advice I have been given is to act like you know what you’re doing. Keep your head straight, don’t pay attention to beggars, and keep walking. I would also recommend dressing similarly to those that live in a certain area. For instance, when I went to NYC, I dressed in darker clothes with a black coat. People tend to not prey on those who look like they are familiar with the area and know what they’re doing. So, when you walk the walk, people will (for the most part) leave you alone to do your business.
This strategy really came in handy when my Maps app took me in the complete opposite direction (does that happen to anyone else?!) I swear I was in the middle of Mid town Manhattan when all of a sudden everything around me just looked so gloomy.
Eating alone is not as awkward as I thought
I think this stigma stems from when I was in high school. A time when it was weird if you were sitting alone. At first, I felt awkward asking for a table of one, but once seated I noticed that there were several other people eating alone too. In a big city that so many people travel to, for work and pleasure, it’s so common for people to eat alone. And it isn’t something people read into that much.
Also, if you ever go to the Rock Center Cafe, you neeeed to get a burger–to die for!
A cross-body bag is the better way to go
In regards to safety, you need a bag that allows greater control over your stuff. This is why when traveling to places that are highly populated, I would strongly recommend a cross-body bag. This is so much better than a backpack or a shoulder bag. With a cross-body, you can position your bag in front of you so you always have your eye on it. When your bag is behind you, you never know who can get into it without you knowing!
Traveling alone is fun, but not for a long time
While in New York, I really did enjoy the day alone walking around the city. Because I only had a couple hours to sightsee, it was awesome to get to see the places that I actually wanted to see, and not what someone else did. I got to hit up Grand Central–which is definitely not as big as tv and movies make it out to be, but it’s still beautiful nonetheless. I also ate lunch at the Rock Cafe in Rockefeller Plaza. My table was right next to a window looking out onto the ice-skating rink!
All of this was sunshine and butterflies until I realized I was eating and had no one with me to get excited about the fact that I was actually back in New York. On a school day no less! 🙂 Since I was only in the city for less than a day, it didn’t give me time to feel lonely. But it did make me realize that if I had to travel for a longer period of time, I would want company of someone else. Not because I don’t like being alone (the introvert in me LOVES alone time), but because I love sharing cool experiences with others.
Nonetheless, the experience was SO WORTH IT! Have you traveled alone recently or before?! What do you like about it??