Why Every Girl Should Have A Night Away On Her Own

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So, first thing’s first. I didn’t plan to spend 48 hours in Las Vegas on my own.

It just kind of happened.

When the arrangements for Trek America were going on, I was offered the option of extending my flight home by two days so that I’d get more of a chance to explore the city because we’d literally only have a couple of hours free time whilst there as part of the itinerary. So I said yes. Because obviously everyone else would say yes and we’d all be mega best friends by the end and we’d have these two days of mental freedom to sunbathe by the pool and drink cocktails and take outfit photos for each other and the world would be happy, right, right?

Nuh uh.

Just me.

And so it was, a fortnight ago, that I found myself in this insane city by myself. All alone. With very little money and a suitcase full of muddy clothes.

I checked into the MGM Grand and just felt this overwhelming sense of loneliness. I mean I think that’s what I’d describe it as. I’d spent every waking minute for the past 11 days surrounded by people. We’d been through near death experiences together (I mean, if that’s what high hikes count as), we’d heard each other snore, cried and pulled strops in front of each other, and then suddenly it was just me in a strange city in a hotel which is full of rowdy, excited people and oh, just FYI, it’s an actual effing maze. It’s the biggest darn hotel I’ve ever been inside, so there was that to help make me feel suffocated by life (here’s a video of me *almost* crying because it all got too much).

I never get time on my own. Not like this. Not ever.

There was no ironing pile, no crying cat, no Tesco to nip to for essentials, no boyfriend, no friends. Just me and my laptop and my American TV.

So I did all the good things in life. I slept until I couldn’t sleep anymore and I rolled myself out across the bed like a starfish and felt the cool crisp covers on my toes, I watched more SATC episodes than is healthy for a 2015 brain, I ate Mexican food in bed, I painted my nails and I had a really good long shower with every free hotel product I could get my hands on.

I ventured out and explored the main roads. Pottered into drugstores and stared at all the Essie nail polishes and EOS balms and M&M flavours without anyone hurrying me. I ate froyo. I stopped to take photos. I ate a McDonald’s on my own without anyone knowing who I was, without feeling judged in the slightest.

And then I did the one thing I’ve never had time or energy for – I taught myself some basic video editing skills whilst flopped in bed watching the Vegas episodes of Friends.

That moment at 3pm on Wednesday waving and hugging goodbye to my travel pals as they boarded a minibus for the airport made my soul weep. It made me feel more alone than I’ve ever felt working from home on my own. I felt like an abandoned child lost in a supermarket. I felt so incredibly homesick. I wondered if I could get a refund on my hotel, maybe change my flight home. Come back another time to explore Vegas.

And then I flagged a taxi and made my own onward journey to my next hotel. I manned up, I reverted back to the strong, independent version of myself and I got on with it. I stuck the ‘do not disturb’ sign up and made myself at home by half emptying my suitcase across my room until I too would be headed back to Heathrow.

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We always go away with people and we always go away with a purpose, but being stuck somewhere with nothing to do ended up being heaven for me.

It meant there was no compromise, no planning, none of the things that have become normal in every day life. I got to call the shots, I got to do things exactly as I felt like doing them. If I only wanted to spend an hour by the pool because OH MY GOD, WHY IS IT SO DARN HOT? Then I could only stay an hour before snuggling back under the covers of my air-conditioned room again.

It’s hard to warrant proper alone time. We normally allow ourselves a pamper night, maybe once a week, maybe once a month. And even during those few hours we’re distracted by our phones, by other people, distracted by our own life.

That was the other secret joy of Vegas – I was 8 hours out of sync with everyone else. I had half days where the rest of you were sleeping and I could get away with not checking my phone for hours and I could just enjoy being me, doing me things.

I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but it’s just never happened for me. This is the confidence and reassurance I needed to know that I *could* do it on my own. I could do a two-day trip all by myself and spend a night in the city, just snapping the macarons and the Eiffel Tower whilst I drink coffee and eat cake on my own.

I was amazed by how many thoughts whizzed through my brain, how being away from home put everything in perspective and made me think about things differently. It gave me this fresh burst of enthusiasm for not only video – but for my blog and for my writing.

It gave me the opportunity to think about how I’d like to move forward with my book idea. Ultimately, it made me step back from everything at home and look at things with new eyes. I think we sometimes forget how foggy social media and public transport and chores and bills make our minds, and how important it is just to back away and re-evaluate everything going on.

So no, alone time in Vegas wasn’t planned. But it made sure I came home ready to get cracking on all my dreams and plans and whirlwind ideas. It made me feel refreshed and recovered and full of energy. It made me feel like ME.

So do it. Don’t take your boyfriend or your best friend. Just take yourself somewhere even if it’s just 30 miles away and just for a night. Treat yourself to somewhere with a spa, or somewhere with mazes of roads to explore. Stay in your own county or head over to a European city (be safe, obvs) and do you. Because you’re damn important, and you can’t take over the world unless you’re feeling 100% like the best version of yourself.

Go be amazing.

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  • Hey Hannah,

    I just wanted to say I know the exact feeling!! I was in LA in March by myself for 3 1/2 days before meeting up with friends in Dallas. I was supposed to go with a friend but she pulled out and I decided that I should be ok by myself; I mean it was only 3 1/2 days!! WAS I WRONG!!!

    The first day was great because I had booked a full day tour and the tour guide was nice and chatty! The first night was great because after a 14 hour flight AND then a full day tour all I wanted was a shower and bed. Spoke to hubby and kids before sleeping all night. Was a good feeling not having to worry about alarms, kids, etc so I felt very relaxed!

    The 2nd day was another few tours, a hotel change and some sightseeing. Being able to message hubby during the day helped a little and that night I couldn’t skype with hubby and kids so felt weird to be hanging out in the room eating my microwave meal! haha

    The 3rd day I lost it!! I went sight seeing and couldn’t get a cab and had to walk for over an hour before I just sat down at a bus stop, called my hubby and burst into tears! I never realised how hard it is to be alone in a city (or even a country) that you don’t know! He made me feel at ease AND it was only one more sleep till I caught a plane to Dallas to meet my other friends.

    Would I do it again….. maybe only for 1 or 2 days, but def no longer!

    I am going to Vegas in 118 days AND I have travelling with a reliable friend this time!

    Thank you for sharing your story…. was so great to read especially since I have just gone through the same thing!!!

    Adele xx

  • I’ve never thought of lone travel this way, but your description sounds exactly like the rest and relaxation I think everyone needs at some point; a nice big bed, showers, relaxing and doing activities at YOUR OWN PACE!

    It sounds like Vegas was the perfect opportunity for you to get lost, and it’s lovely to hear you felt at home in yourself and reevaluated 🙂

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • Lizi Legge

    Reading this post has made me realise that wanting to go away alone isn’t selfish or weird or anything like that, I’m so glad it isn’t just me! I love exploring new places but I’ve always felt a bit out of sync that my desire to go away doesn’t necessarily include other people in my plans – mainly because I like being able to do exactly what I want, when I want.

    I’m so glad I read this post this morning, it’s given me so many wanderlust vibes it’s untrue and even though I won’t be spending 48hrs alone in Vegas any time soon (sob), it’s such a doable thing!

    I really love your blog Hannah (and now I also love your friend Lauren’s too after you mentioned hers the other day), never EVER stop writing.

    xxx

  • This happened to me after a group trip in Singapore, I thought the buddies I had been travelling with for a month would hang around for a couple of days but alas not they headed of to Australia and left me alone in a strange city. To start with like you I mainly slept then something clicked that I could do whatever the hell I wanted without having to consider anyone else. I have travelled alone a few times and although sometimes it can be lonely it is a great way to get to know yourself better.

    http://www.emmainks.com/

  • I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve never really done any travelling because I have no-one to go with. In August I’m hoping to visit a friend in Scotland but they’ll be working most of the time I’m there and I’ve been really terrified about exploring on my own – especially the whole eating in restaurants alone thing and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who worries about this sort of thing. I’m definitely going to take your advice and just go, hopefully it’ll be as good as your trip, although probably nowhere near as sunny.
    Hannah
    http://www.hannahbakesthings.co.uk

  • Ahhhh this sounds so good. I’m never sure that I’d be any good at it. I always think what a nice and relaxing thing it would be. Maybe I should start small: a staycation and just treat myself to a hotel stay.

    Starfish to the max and order room service!

    K.

    http://www.wonderingthrough.co.uk

  • I’m going to Paris on my own this summer, and i’ve been so nervous to spend a week by myself (even if it isn’t that far from home!) But I’m excited – need to prove to myself I can spend several days on my own if necessary because at the moment, I’m always around people and get lonely if I’m alone for a few hours…

  • I loved your article!

    I have just got back from 7 weeks of travelling by myself! I didn’t think I could do it, or I would go stir crazy for day 3. However, I enjoyed spending time by myself and I learnt a lot about myself too. Like corny/cringey found myself, and the thing is, I would totally do it all again BY MYSELF!

    I think you’re right anything needs to have a trip and be completely alone.

    Lauren xx

  • Eve

    I loved this post! For me, holidays are always about compromise: my family & friends do it that we always choose a ‘day’. So say I chose to go shopping one day, everyone would have to go and not complain because that was ‘my’ day; and vice versa for when it was anyone else’s day. Which although sounds good in theory, doesn’t always work- especially when its 30oc heat.

    Going on your own, albeit it sounds lonely at first, seems great. You’d get to explore anywhere you want & have some ‘me’ time. I think it is a great idea!

    Eve xo

    http://anorganisedscatterbrain.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I am so glad you shared this, it also made me realise I am NEVER alone. I don’t have any just me time anymore, and as much as I love spending every night with my boyfriend sometimes I probably would love to snuggle up in my pj’s and watch Netflix, the girly stuff he won’t watch all by myself.
    In terms of holidays We both like similar things so i never feel it is a compromise but at home I probably do need some more me time.
    xxx
    Lyndsey
    http://www.labeau.co.uk

  • I travelled around Asia for 3 months on my own and it was the most amazing experience of my life. Nobody to answer to, doing exactly as I please. Alone time isn’t to be scared of, it’s to be embraced. x

  • This is actually a really inspirational post. I have zero summer plans – holidays or day trips – with anyone yet and I found myself googling ‘holidaying on your own’ ‘single holidays’ etc etc and it just made me feel a bit sad. But now I feel like I can do it if I want to. Even if I just do the day trips alone. Baby steps, right?

    x
    https://siobhanrothwell.wordpress.com/

  • Love this post!

    It’s the most oddest thing when you realise you can do whatever the hell you want, and although scary at first, it’s also very liberating…

    So, when’s the next ‘me-time’ trip booked?!

    Frankie x

  • Amy

    I do things on my own a lot, and people always comment on how they feel sad for me that I have lunch alone or shop alone, and live alone when my boyfriend is working away. I EFFING LOVE IT. Alone time is underrated, massively!!!

  • Hannah I don’t know why but I think this is one of my favourite ever posts of yours. It’s just so inspiring and honest and I think it’s quite easy to forget when you are surrounded by working, people, social media etc who you actually are. Some time alone without the distractions is definitely a good thing to bring you back to where it started 🙂 Sounds like you had a wonderful time anyway!

    Laura | laurakathren.blogspot.co.uk

  • This looks like so much fun, and well done you for being so brave to do it! x

  • nueyork

    I am so glad you shared this, it’s really hitting home right now! I’m going on exchange soon and I have three days where I will be 100% alone before I go to orientation and meet people. The idea sounds good in theory, three days to explore on my own, but I feel like I might go crazy!

    nueyork.blogspot.com

  • I’ve always, always wanted to go away for a couple of days completely by myself. The main thing holding me back isn’t so much the fear of being that alone, but the way other people view it. I have a boyfriend and friends etc and I know people would find it weird for me to just slip away for a day or two on my own.

    I do reckon Paris would be the perfect solo destination though – I’ve been with others before and seen a lot of people dining alone, people watching from cafes etc and it seems really quite acceptable to mooch around alone out there. Plus you get to do exactly what you want to do without worrying about dragging a boyfriend around the shops with you!

  • Jess

    One of the best things I ever did was fly to Barcelona for a week, alone, with only my first night’s hostel booked. I had a sudden break up and we had planned to go on a last minute break together, so I had the next fortnight booked off work with no plans. I booked a dirt cheap flight at an awful time and with an awful crossover in some godforsaken European airport on the Sunday and flew on the Tuesday. It was simply brilliant. I mourned for my relationship, cried like a loon, ate all the pastries, drank cheap Spanish wine every night and didn’t speak to another English soul for a week. It was heaven.x

  • I love this. You’re so right that when we go on holiday – we never really relax, we always have an agenda, we always have to compromise. I’m making a promise to myself to do this before the year is out!

    http://www.sophiecliff.com/

  • Megan

    Hi Hannah,

    This was an amazing post and it really resonated with me. I remember when I was 18 I travelled from Glasgow to London by myself for a Company Magazine event and even that was liberating for me.
    My boyfriend is currently 1 month into a 4 month trip to America for the summer and it’s spurred me on to make plans for myself. I’m going to South Africa soon solo and I can’t bloody wait. Although I’ll no doubt meet people there, I’m excited for the stop overs on my way there and back by myself.

    And you’re right- being alone gives you loads of time to do some really great, worthwhile thinking and reflecting.

  • I see a Chipotle burrito with my little eye!

    Having been to Vegas countless time I’m saddened at the amount of time you spent in your hotel room instead of exploring the strip. But I’m also a total hypocrite as my flight was canceled after a friend’s bachelorette, leaving me stranded for an extra night in Puerto Rico while everyone else went home (curse you JetBlue). My cell service was shitty, it would’ve cost me $40 to take a cab to the beach and I would’ve had no place to put my luggage. The first thing I did when I checked into the hotel room that JetBlue was graciously paying for was cry – horrible wretched sobbing. I just felt so isolated and I may have been over reacting that I would never get the chance to see my best friend again before he left for Texas in only a few days. After a good nights sleep, and a Hangover marathon on TBS, I spent the next day at the terminal meeting people and getting caught up on reading. It was stressful being forced to spend an unproductive day on a Monday while I had a super long to-do lost waiting for me in lab, but I also had he chance to relax more than I would at home. There’s always something else I should be doing at home that I can never truly relax. Whoa – sorry for my mini post but yours kind of inspired it!

    – Becky Lynn
    (http://favorsandfestivities.com)

  • I’ve seen so many female travel bloggers evangelising about solo travel, and this post just confirms to me that it’s something I’ll need to do at some point! Was considering a solo trip this September, maybe to Bordeaux or Krakow… maybe now I’ll have the balls to book it 🙂

  • I felt all anxious reading this because I was alone abroad for the first ever time a few months ago and it was in bloody BORNEO! It was unplanned because my friends got stuck in another part of the country, so I got myself off the plane and to the (tiny) town we were supposed to meet in and they were nowhere to be found! I ended up sleeping in the jungle in a hut by myself and it was so so terrifying. Once they arrived late the next day, the scary jungle transformed into a wonderland… I think being THAT outside my comfort zone while alone was just too much, but I reckon I could do a hotel in Vegas!

    You’re planning on writing a book? TELL US MORE!!

  • Vegas sounds amazing! I don’t think I’m brave enough to travel alone just yet! You are so inspirational!!

    http://laurenslittleblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

    Check out my Father’s Day giveaway!

    xx

  • I ADORE spending time on my own. But maybe I’m just a loser. Also eating Mexican food in bed is truly one of life’s joys. Who needs the Grand Canyon when you have burritos between the sheets and no one to tell you to stop spilling your rice? Sophie xxx
    http://www.fashionnomads.com

  • I love being on my own and traveling on my own, to be honest I crave it most of the time! You’re on your schedule and nobody else’s, you can do whatever you want, plan your own day! And it gives you a chance to appreciate as well how important your friends and family are to you. So glad that you did this, and I think you’ve come out of it a better and stronger person 😀

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

  • I think it’s so important to travel on your own – even just once. A day trip to London, a night in Paris just pick what you fancy and do it. I was in NY on my own for a week and I had the best time.

    I’m glad you had fun and I love these photos.

  • Loved this post, Hannah! Go you!

    Also, I went to Paris with a friend last week and I’d definitely recommend going by yourself too – the Metro makes it so easy to get around everywhere and there’s so many beautiful landmarks, museums and food markets to check out 🙂

  • Kate

    This post is just so positive. I was in Vegas in march, its such a wonderful place filled with SO much to do.
    I think thats something I found about the time difference and been so busy…no social media, which meant no drama so the stress level was zero! plus you are on holiday so you just focus on having fun.

    I think this is such a good idea to have time to yourself, not just on holiday but once a week or once a month, young women our age should really embrace that, spend time alone and clear your mind..and if your on holiday alone its more to explore been under no one else’s time schedule! When I was in vegas I also had a positive mind set and thought more clear.. i don’t know if it was the way of life out of their or just been on holiday but I felt so alive, getting up earlier, making most of my days..the opposite of what I am like in the UK!


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