View from a plane window. Airplane wing over a cover of clouds

Me Traveling in Groups vs Me Traveling Alone

Have you ever gone about your daily life and realize you act completely differently when you are in a group or alone? I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy in myself as a group vs solo traveler. Let’s take a look at some examples…

1. Choosing Where to Eat

Solo-Traveling: Belgian Waffles

I will eat Belgian waffles and nothing else (slight hyperbole, but I loooooooove waffles).

Group-Traveling: Anything so Long as I Don’t Have to Choose

I hate being the one to choose the restaurant. Take this instance in 2020…I was on an ecological research expedition through Texas (read about that trip here) and the field leader (and trusted friend) turned and asked if I was hungry. I easily answered yes.

“Do you want to eat a restaurant?”

My shoulders tensed. Thus far I’d managed to avoid making any sort of decision. What if what I wanted didn’t coincide with what the others wanted? I paused, thinking carefully about my next sentence,

“We can go to a restaurant.” I said with a tone that implied, if that’s what you’re already suggesting, of course, I agree.

Then, in the mark of a true leader and good friend, she made me say the exact words, “I want to go to a restaurant.” I did, but why did that feel equivalent to saying “I want to kick babies”?

2. Security Checkpoints

Solo-Traveling: I Think I Give Off an Innocent Vibe

Once in 2019, I was driving north from South Texas. I had just finished an ecology technician position. Suddenly, a border patrol checkpoint interrupted my drive. Surprised, I slowed to a stop hoping I didn’t need a passport.

I was mid-bite into an apple. Holding the wheel with my left hand, I reached over with my apple-holding hand to roll down the window. I guess I must have looked clueless trying to open a window with an apple in hand, because before I had even finished rolling the window down, the border patrol agent was waving me through.

I did have a run-in with an Australian security guard once…Subscribe so you don’t miss the post!

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Group-Traveling: I Sit Back and Relax

Throughout my life, my family and I have crossed the US-Mexican border countless times. Sitting in the backseat, my only job is to wave at the border patrol guard when he calls out my name.

3. Talking to Hotel Staff

Solo-Traveling: I Keep the Talking to a Minimum

Honestly, the only times I have ever talked to hotel staff is giving them my name at check-in and check-out and asking where the airport shuttle is…

There has never been so great a discomfort to make me think it’s necessary to talk to the hotel staff.

Group-Traveling: Please Talk for me?

Back in 2022, I was in Florida for a funeral with four other people I didn’t really know that well. One of these people was my Capoeira martial arts Mestre, a very large man covered head to toe in tattoos. I trust him implicitly.

The others were out on the hotel balcony. After showering, I set up the sofabed only to notice there weren’t any sheets. I scoured every drawer, every cupboard, every corner. No sheets.

I stared at the sofabed for a while more and seriously considered sleeping without sheets.

The only thing that stopped me is that I would be sharing the sofabed.

I stuck my head out of the room and announced that there were no sheets. Mestre came into the room, picked up the phone (which hadn’t occurred to me for some reason) and was told that we need to pick up the sheets from the lobby. Mestre hung up the phone and told me to head to the lobby for the sheets. I’m not sure what my face looked like, but a split second later, Mestre laughed.

He got the sheets for me.

I initially wrote this article to show that I was completely confident managing myself when traveling alone. That I simply preferred having others do the talking for me, but that this didn’t mean I couldn’t do it myself. But in these three examples I gave, I realized I don’t do much talking regardless of whether I’m alone or in groups!

I still hold that I can talk to people when necessary, but it seems I’ve been spared the need thus far!

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