I’m Learning How to Do Things On My Own

How I navigated a city I don’t know by myself.

Exterior of the Imperial War Museum

It’s not really the navigation that’s difficult about traveling in a city alone. It’s really more the fact that you’re alone in the first place. At least that’s how it was for me. I’m not the kind of person that can go out in public on their own. Forget seeing a movie or going to dinner, I can’t do anything by myself. I don’t know if it’s that I’m mortified at the fact of being alone, or maybe I’m really scared something would happen and no one would know. It’s a very strange feeling to be an introvert but also hate being alone. People exhaust me, yet if I’m out by myself, I’m so incredibly anxious it’s almost unbearable. How I came to be by myself in London wasn’t exactly by choice .

At the beginning of the day, our entire group went to the Imperial War Museum. Being with a group of mostly guys, there was absolutely no plan for meeting back up because guys just don’t think ahead in that way. After I had gotten what I wanted out of the museum, I realized that I had no way of getting in touch with anyone in the group, since I was the only one in the group with any internet connection. I messaged everyone, but of course no reply. I was by myself in a brand new city, and I wasn’t sure how exactly to deal with it. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do, and went back to home base at our hostel. I ate my £3 lunch from Tesco by myself in the dining hall at the hostel. Knowing what you know about how I like being by myself, this was particularly mortifying for me. It took me awhile to get over that I was by myself. I don’t think I really did, but I had to swallow whatever inhibitions I had and go out because I was in London for god’s sakes. It was at this point that I realized I had not planned a single one the trips I took the whole time I had been in Oxford. The whole time I’ve been anywhere, for that matter. I looked up a museum that sounded interesting, and made my way to the tube station.

Chandelier by Dale Chihuly and the Cast Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum

I made my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum and although going through museums is more enjoyable when you’re doing it on your own, the feeling of no one else being with me loomed over me the entire time I was there. I’m not sure why the feeling of being on my own is so overwhelming. Being alone is something I’m getting more used to, but not something that I’m enjoying more. I will most certainly have to find a way to learn to enjoy being by myself someday, but I’ll put it off as long as I can. Luckily, the next three days in London were spent with others.

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