My friends keep taking solo trips and I'm jealous. Not because I can't go, but because...I can't go.
I'm scared. Of what, I can't quite articulate. Will I be lonely? Will I be afraid in a new city? Will I be bored? I don't know. All I know is every time I see a flight deal to a place I want to visit (Barcelona! Lisbon! Singapore! Mexico City!), I get a nervous feeling and close the window. The thing is, I don't want to be afraid. Or rather, as my friend Ashante said, if I'm going to be afraid, I want to do it anyway. I'm not there yet. But I do have a plan. Or rather, I have two things I think I can do to prepare.
Explore my current city
I recently moved from the DC suburbs to inside the District and I figure if I'm going to get comfortable leaving the country by myself, I could start by being ok leaving the house and roaming by myself around here. That means walking, biking, and using public transportation to get around and see what's new and not so new in my neighborhood and those surrounding me. I think getting acclimated to being outside alone and unfamiliar nearby is the first step to doing so in a land far far away.
Plan the damn trip
I definitely think part of my fear comes from this idea that I'll go all the way to a new city and be too nervous to leave my Airbnb. But if I plan what I want to see and do, places I want to visit, and areas I want to explore, I'll be less likely to stay inside in a state of indecision. I'm a planner by nature, and while I can appreciate the idea of spontaneity when it comes to vacationing, I think I'm best served by knowing what I want to do and where it is in advance. The confidence that comes with not feeling completely lost as to my next steps is worth all of my time being accounted for. Plus I trust myself to be able to go with the flow should something more interesting arise.
So yeah. We'll see what's next. But not going out of fear is no longer an option.