Solo

I booked a trip

As kid we never really travelled much outside of the Netherlands due to my mom not being able to withstand really hot temperatures. I’ve tried to make up for that during my teens and early 20’s with lots of city trips and short vacations to Norway, Sweden, Tenerife, Mallorca, Portugal and Italy. I’ve also been to Paris, Berlin and a part of England.
I love touring around Europe and I think one of the next places I want to visit is Barcelona or Valencia in Spain. However I also have a few dream trips that I want to do now that I can still enjoy them seeing as I’m young and I have a decent amount of vacation days to spend every year (thanks boss!).

I’ve had a few destinations in my head that I really want to visit and on top of my list is Japan. I’ve been considering it for a while now to just take the plunge and go and yesterday I finally made the decision and booked a 22-day group travel arrangement for March 2020. It’s still a very long way away but I’m already very much looking forward to going. I’ll be going with a big travel agency and we will be going with a group of around 10-14 people. The journey will take me from Tokyo via Kyoto to Nagasaki. All hotels and excursions are included, as are the flights, and one night we will even be staying at a temple where we will eat dinner and breakfast!
It’s one of my dreams come true and a big motivation for me to work on getting fit again because I obviously want to be able to do all the things and not be left behind because of my poor stamina and condition overall. One of the reasons I picked the end of March is because it’s going to be cherry blossom season (or sakura in Japanese) and I really, really want to see all the gorgeous pink trees and take tons of pictures of everything. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to go to the Eorzea café and maybe a Pokémon café. I’m definitely going to a Pokécenter store and maybe a few other anime themed stores and retro gaming stores. There’s just so much you can get and do there that you don’t have over here and I can’t wait to explore everything.

The one thing that kind of scares me a lot is that I will be going on this journey alone. I will be grouped up with a bunch of strangers and will basically have to fend for myself in a country half the world away where I don’t speak the language. I think it’s going to be one of the hardest and possibly most rewarding trips I will ever take in my lifetime and I’m 100% sure I want to do this. Yet I’m also terrified. What if anything goes wrong? What if I get sick or have an accident or my luggage gets lost? I know that I will be with a group and that we have guides who know Japan and can help where necessary but still these things go through my head.

All in all I have over half a year to prepare for this trip and to look forward to it. It’s going to be the first time that I’ll be on a plane this long and it’s going to be the first time I will travel on my own anywhere outside of the Netherlands where I won’t be meeting up with friends abroad. I’m mostly hoping that my dream trip will be just that. I guess we’ll see when I get there!

The need to play solo

I’m a social person. I pride myself on being an extravert and enjoying the energy of other people around me. If I’m at home alone a lot I get depressed and I’m at my happiest when I’m in a big city surrounded by people and the buzz of city life. But sometimes I need some alone time. I’m not always super social. I’m not always looking for company of other people. Sometimes I just want to do my own thing without anyone else getting involved in it.
This is when I put my Battle.net as “show offline” or flee to my Au’Ra alt in FFXIV. Because I don’t want to talk to people. Because I don’t want my friends to “quick join” my dungeon queue. I just want to be left alone and do my own things without anyone interfering. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I’m so focused on getting something done that I can’t or don’t want to also be my usual entertaining self. Maybe it’s because even as an extravert I need to recharge my batteries a bit with some alone time.

When I was doing my Mage Tower challenges I’d often show up as offline to my friends. The whispers I tend to get were distracting me and I also didn’t really want to engage in any social chatter while trying to get these challenges done. I’ve done the same with finishing off the “Pride of Kul Tiras” questline on my Rogue. I went offline because I didn’t want to break my immersion into the quests and I certainly didn’t feel like ruining my queue times because people wanted to join when they saw me queue up for Waycrest Manor and Tol Dagor. Sometimes I just need to fly solo and that’s okay. I’ll be available another time.

It may sound weird to want to play solo in an MMO. Maybe it is. Maybe I should instead focus on playing some of my single player games when I feel like this where I know I won’t be bothered by anyone. But I like playing WoW and FFXIV and I like being able to do what I want on my own terms. Especially WoW is an excellent solo experience. Ofcourse for some stuff I may have to group up with strangers but I’ve never really had issues with that. Most of the chatter in random dungeons or in this expansion Island Expeditions is virtually non-existant. People don’t really talk and if they do it’s often only a “hello” or “goodbye”. It suits me fine. I can just focus on doing my own thing, which is get through the dungeon without dying while doing decent dps, and still get my goals done for the day. Sometimes I like to queue up with friends an have a ton of banter instead. And maybe sometimes I will choose to play that single player game and not be online for a while. This would also help me slowly plough through the enormous backlog of games that I have built up over the years. With the new WoW expansion settling in, and me probably spending less time on it over the coming few weeks, I may go into solo mode a bit more and play Octopath Traveler or a game on my PS4 again.

For now though I’m putting myself offline anytime I need some breathing space and will enjoy the game solo.