“When you travel alone, the highs are far higher, and sometimes the lows are harder but the elation from being you just rocking at your own life beats everything else”
This quote was written on a playing card and given to a friend of mine, Tanya, as she left to travel alone for 6 months. I met Tanya in Cusco, Peru on a street corner as we both held maps, completely lost in this beautiful town in which we had just arrived. We turned to each other, laughed at the fact that the only thing that would make us look more like tourists was a fanny pack – and then decided to get lost together, all while finding ourselves.
Apart from the cheesy rom-com hook (sorry about that, it was just too easy), What I really mean by this is – sometimes you need to throw your routine safety net into the ocean and simply jump off the plank. Take chances. You never know what you may find. In this case, I found a great friend. I also found the courage to start going on adventures by myself. I met Tanya in 2013 and have since changed the dynamics of my life. For instance, Peru was the first time I truly traveled alone. I have since made a valiant effort to never be held back by the fact of having no company to join me… whether it’s a road trip for a day of snowboarding, or a 3 week trek through Costa Rica.
Fear has a funny way of coming out through extreme confidence, since you truly have nothing to lose.
To take a step back from this grandiose ideology of solo life changing trips, I want to express that this soloism doesn’t have to be so bold… it can also be simple, and believe me, it is still just as rewarding.
For example – this past weekend I went on a group snowboarding trip with some friends from college and some friends they brought who I’d never met. We rented a 2 bedroom condo in Park City, Utah. The place was made to fit about 5, and we had 11, so the amount of private space was non-existent. I mean, there were only two bathrooms so after the first couple beers and shots of fireball, talks of pooping were as routine as our morning coffee & beer. Yes, beer in the morning on a ski trip is mandatory…But as much fun as it is to have a house (or condo) full of people, you also need to make that effort to have a little solo time.
On the last day, some people went to the slopes, some people stayed in, and for me, I went to explore the town by myself. I bundled up for the 17 degree weather, opted not to put my headphones in so I could listen to the white noise, and set off. I paused a few times to just admire my surroundings: the milieu of snow-covered mountains, the breath from my nose dissipating into the air like evaporating smoke, the crunch of powdery snow being compacted beneath my shoes, the stinging cold that made my voice rise an octave higher…What I am trying to say is I was enjoying a true moment by myself, by simply allowing myself to be in it. que Garden State fireplace scene
I walked the streets in which I had done the previous nights, but this time I wasn’t on the borderline of browning out, or searching for late night food, or throwing snowballs at passerbys. I was experiencing it sober and alone, and yet all together. I noticed the streets, the people, the tiny stores and restaurants, the way the ski town resembled something from the Old West, half envisioning an old-time saloon (in which they did have). I bought a couple of souvenirs to remind me of this precise moment and this congruent trip and experience. A t-shirt and a shot glass – how apropos. Then in true form of Locals Only, I sought out some delicious food.
I ate an incredible cheeseburger in a booth along the window so I could continue to admire my surroundings, so different from where I live. I sat in silence, and then after a bit of awkwardness of me taking photos of my food completely alone, I ate, I drank, and I walked back with a smile frozen onto my face from ear to ear. A pure sense of accomplishment. As if knowing, that no matter what, I can just be happy completely on my own accord.
I walked back, joined the group, and while I didn’t seem any different on the outside, I knew that on the inside, I had just checked off a bucketlist item of exploring this little town all by myself. And at a crisp 7,000 feet elevation, the high was definitely higher.
PARK CITY FACTS:
- The city is 32 miles away from Salt Lake City.
- There are around 8,000 permanent residents.
- There are 3 major ski resorts in the area including Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons.
- The 2002 Winter Olympics were here.
- The largest independant film festival, Sundance, is hosted here.
- There is a free public transit system (great for exploring the town, and no drinking and driving!).
- It was a major mining town from its discovery in the 1860s until 1950, and today there remains over 1000 miles of mining tunnels beneath the slopes.
- The pasta was from Buona Vita
- Alla Nastari – $18.95
- Sauteed chicken, penne pasta, wild mushrooms, garlic in light cream sauce with tomato
- Alla Nastari – $18.95
- The burger was from Bandits Bar and Grill
- Bandit Burger – $14.99
- Lettuce shred, tomatoes, sweet red onion, thousand island, fried pickles, your choice of cheese and served on a toasted bakery bun with 2 sides.
- Bandit Burger – $14.99
- We stayed at a house from AIRBNB
- State run liquor stores – so buy beer at a grocery store and liquor at a liquor store (and stock up because they don’t sell on Sundays!)
- Bars close their doors at last call (1am) but if you’re inside, you can stay past last call until 2am.
- We rented a private shuttle to/from the airport, best prices if you’re in a group.
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