I am my own best friend

Solo excursions offer many rewards

Harriet Cuthbert. Contributed photo

As I write this, I am at Siesta Beach, by myself, thoroughly enjoying the perfect day — a confluence of our powdery white sand, the crystal clear water and, of course, that blazing November sun.

I am observing the multitudes of birds who are gazing at the water and maybe a few visitors who might throw them a snack. We regular beach-goers know that Rule No. 1 is NEVER feed the birds, especially not chips, unless you want to cause a major avian riot. A hundred birds will suddenly launch themselves over to your spot and fight each other ruthlessly for one single Dorito. I might do the same if the chip had salsa on it.

I am at the beach by myself — but I am never alone. I have chosen to be solo, to gather my own thoughts and observations and to be able to write a few things down without the constant interruption of a well-meaning friend.

I can feel free to take a nice walk along the beach, stare out at the waves splashing and crashing. I can enjoy other people’s families and watch as parents put their babies in the water for the first time. I can snap a few photos for future reference. Absolutely none of these wonderful “activities” requires another person’s presence.

Among my favorite places to wander solo are museums. If you love visiting museums, as I do, you will feel much freer to observe each work of art at your own pace. To maybe read the artist’s interpretation, to understand why he wrote his thoughts and to learn then how he created the piece is something that should have no set time frame for a visitor. We all have different tastes and different comfort zones when looking at museum-quality works of art.

I remember a few years ago, touring Buckingham Palace with my husband. Admittedly, I was stunned by it all, especially by seeing the magnificent gowns the royals wore. I wanted to linger at each one and take it all in, to cement it all into my brain (no photos were allowed). Needless to say, my husband was bored and kept pushing me along. I finally told him to wait outside, where I would catch up with him in a while.

Going to museums by myself truly frees me from a lot of pressure.

Of course, there is always plenty of time for friends and family. But enjoying many of life’s wonders as a solo traveler is a different kind of pleasure.

I think it is time for my walk. Cannot wait to check out the birds and the babies.