Let me tell you straight away that solo travel isn’t for everyone. A lot of my friends hate the very idea of going somewhere on their own. I’ve seen a 26-year old girl literally cry when she had to take a flight alone. But although you may try and hate traveling on your own, you should still try. Because if you don’t, how would you know it’s not your cup of tea? I know I thought it wasn’t, and I was terrified of the prospect of going alone, but now that’s my favorite way of traveling. Let me tell you why.
You Can Wait Forever for Somebody to Join You
Your friends have jobs, families and other commitments, and they can’t say “yes” to every travel plan that you offer. It doesn’t mean your friends are not awesome, they just have different priorities. I remember seeing a return flight to Patagonia for just €600 from Europe, and I was so excited! I was sure my enthusiasm would spread to whoever I ask to join me, and we’ll have a dream-team backpacking to Torres del Paine in no time. I’ve asked more than ten people and none of them could go. By the time I received the last “no”, the tickets were gone, as was my excitement. Since then I’m just taking the tickets for myself without thinking of anybody else. If they want to join – great! If nobody’s available – I’ll be fine too. No stress and no frustration.
People want Different Things
Although it is theoretically possible to find a perfect travel companion, chances are you’ll still have disagreements on the road. Some may love historical museums, some weed smoking parties and some would want to just stay on the beach. Compromise is difficult. If you travel alone, you can do whatever you want and not feel your companion’s resentment. For example, one of my favorite things is finding somewhere high with an awesome view and sit there with a book for hours. It is totally impossible to do if I’m with somebody because they’ll tell me we’re wasting time. Traveling on your own will let you skip things that are boring to you and concentrate on finding what will make your experience unique and worthwhile for YOU.
Every place has its own mood. In Barcelona I get giggly and almost always drunk; Italy makes me sleepy and decadent: all I want is eat the gorgeous food and seat in the sun; Moroccan deserts and Indonesian volcanoes rendered me quiet and appreciative of the mightiness of Nature. Feeling things is as important an experience as seeing things, but these moods are very personal, and your companion may have a totally different reaction. You might want to put on some tragic music and watch the waves, while your friend is bursting with happiness at buying a new dress. Unless you are in perfect concord, it can be irritating. I find that I’m happier relishing in my mood, whatever it is, than catching surprising stares and answering the question “what happened?”
You Feel Bad-Ass
Nailing survival on the road alone gives you an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment. You’re in control, you’re a kick-ass successful adult, nothing is impossible because you’re managing such a complicated endeavor all on your own! And if you do something dumb – there is nobody to see! You can forget any of your fails as soon as they happen, and tell only the stories of success from your trips.
You’ll Get to Know People
Often people who travel in a company only hang out with each other. It’s logical and convenient, but they are probably missing a lot of encounters that could have happened if they were alone. Saying “Hi!” and introducing yourself to somebody can be daunting and stressful in the beginning, but the people you’ll meet are reward enough. Besides, you’ll get used to making friends on the go very fast. I haven’t met a single socially awkward solo traveler out there – everybody has a ready smile and an awesome story to share with you.
You’ll Get to Know Yourself
Traveling is all about adventure and the excitement of exploring now places. But the journey can also happen inside, and if you travel alone, you begin to understand yourself much better. You get to know the real you, something for which not many of us have time in our rushed lives. Once, watching the waves for hours on a lonely beach, you’ll realize that you feel comfortable with yourself, and it may be the most important discovery you’ll make on your trip.
Don’t let the lack of company stop you from traveling where you want! Put your fears aside and have a blast! And who knows, maybe it’ll be a start of a new unforgettable adventure…Written by Kate