Flying Solo.


Last night Frenchie asked me if I had ever lived alone… before my most recent set of circumstances, that is. It was prompted by a very circuitous and interesting conversation, which need not be related here, but had, to some degree, to do with the idea of distractions. I was all, like, “Totally, I mean, that is how I roll.”


I thought about this. I am an only child and I am pretty independent, at least in my own mind. But… lived alone…? Hm. Lived with parents until 17. Lived with host family and roommates until university. Lived with roommates throughout university, lived with boyfriend too. Then post college… boyfriend, roommate, ro0mmate, boyfriend, boyfriend. Then Hong Kong… on my own for 6 months… then boyfriend. Now on my own. So, I guess the answer to the question is: NO.

This is perplexing to me. I am a self-admitted control freak and I believe I have better taste than most people and I like cats. That seems like a recipe for solo-styled living. Yet it has not. Why not?

And then I considered this: when I travel (currently and pretty much since I started traveling) I go ON MY OWN. I very rarely travel with someone else – and this is intentional. This is not to say that I do not meet up with people and go along with different people as I travel, but I always set out on my own, have ideas of my own, and consequently feel totally free to change things up and BE on my own when the time suits me. So, clearly, being on my own is not a problem… right? I mean, when I was given the choice of a week in Acapulco, or Puerto Vallarta, or wherever it was that my senior class went after graduation – or going on my own to Guadalajara as an exchange student I never even gave it a second thought. Jalisco it was. When I was down to deciding between UCSB and UCSD I chose UCSD because… no one I knew was going there.

So it breaks down like this: When I am in situ I am never alone and when I am “out there” I am always on my own. I wonder what that means. I guess it is just more evidence of my weirdness… ‘Hey you, out there on your own…’

Another friend and I have had many a discussion on the merits of solo-status. He claims that things are less valuable when unshared. I counter this with a qualification. Some of my most meaningful experiences have only been allowed to occur because I gave myself the chance to experience them on my own. But of course I did look forward to sharing them – most often through photos. I realize that this is hardly as satisfying for the third party, but it is good enough for me. When I am on my own I am naturally more inclined to be open in mind and sight. I see more things, meet more people and feel totally free. That is awesome. And I do enjoy being with people and doing things with my friends, but those are totally different experiences and they are about the interpersonal connection almost entirely.

There is always the good old Pro and Con approach:

PROs to being on your own:

  • No need to compromise/total flexibility
  • Meet more people
  • Don’t have to pick up clothes in the closet/can be naked more
  • Mistakes/dramas can be sorted out with less humiliation
  • Fit in smaller places
  • Can talk out loud to the cats

CONs to being on your own:

  • Pity from couples and posses
  • Meet more creepy people
  • Weird neighbors notice that you are naked more
  • Mistakes/dramas can be more traumatic
  • People say, “JUST ONE?” really loudly when you go into restaurants
  • May end up talking out loud to the cats

No mutual exclusivity allowed on this site, so I will just say this. Both are good. But when Frenchie was asking me what I wanted – like you know… “Tell me what you want what you really really want…”

I have to say, what I want is probably not what most people want. And it is probably pretty close to what I’ve got.

If I am paying attention.

ps: the musical interludes are simply to reinforce the “no mutual exclusivity” principle…


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Chasing the Life I was Supposed to Want, Home, Perception, Philosophical Underpinnings, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Flying Solo.

  1. driss says:

    The ideal situation in my estimation is when one has the choice whether or not to fly solo. Being constantly crippled or harnassed by tag-alongs will of course make those times when a person alone with his or her thoughts a precious commodity; just as being alone with *nothing but* one’s thoughts can easily lead to insanity- far more srious than merely sharing thoughts with cats (who can understand speech better than some other pets).


    Is there a difference between the tyrant surrounded by sycophantic yes-men, the transient living in a cardboard box with his hallucinatory mates, and the vitamin D deficient scientist whose personality is only known by his lab rats? Do any of them get a realistic view of the world, of themselves? I still maintain that the mirror can give a more reliable image when held by another person.

  2. Kara says:

    Intriguing. I’m the opposite: I love living alone (and dread the day that social and family pressures force me to give it up), and must travel with company–the *right* company, of course. And by “right” I simply mean someone who has similar interests and won’t get all annoyed that I prefer the Atomic Testing Museum over the mall.

    • Amanda says:

      I have not really worked out how I feel about living alone, like, love it or hate it or it is just what it is….

      And travel is tricky – I think I am generally just to fickle to commit. Though who WOULDN’T want to go to the Atomic Testing Museum!? I love that place!!

  3. kim's scrapbook says:

    this post has made me think about my living and travelling alone status
    i thik i may have to write my own post
    thanks for the nudge!

    i live and have travelled alone most of my life
    i can never imagine living with anyone ever again but i also do not want to travel alone
    things not shared are, for me, things less appreciated

    but let me go ponder this and write something
    again – thanks

    and nice to find your blog

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