Most people like travelling in groups. Be it a summer holiday with your friends or a quick winter escape, we sometimes feel more comfortable and safe travelling with someone, scared of the loneliness and the feeling of uncertainty tied to being on your own in a foreign, unknown place. I remember being younger and thinking I really wanted to go to some places, but then giving up on the idea as “no one wanted to come with me”. I am thinking of all those lost opportunities that I simply ignored, convinced that I could not do them on my own and constantly seeking for a company I did not actually need.
More recently, I finally ventured out there completely on my own, with nothing booked or planned and just a sense of curiosity and adventure leading me on. As you might remember, I talked about this in my previous post about Poland, talking about how scary it was to get to a foreign country where they barely spoke English, in the middle of the night, with nothing but a small backpack and my will to explore. In the end, it was an amazing experience and possibly my best trip so far, which is what pushed me to start advertising solo travelling to all my friends, as it’s honestly the way to go. For this reason, I decided to write a short post about why you should solo travel more, to give you an idea of what you can expect from it and why it’s so awesome.
This is the simplest reason I can give you. When you travel with friends, no matter how close your tastes are and how neatly you plan your days so that all of you can see and do the things they want, there’s always a level of tension as some activities will inevitably not be everyone’s cup of tea. It happens every time and there is nothing to be ashamed of about wanting to do the things you want first. You’re in a foreign land and you want to make the most of it, so it makes sense. Being on your own allows you to do that. You could wake up one morning planning to go somewhere, then see something online or on the street and instantly change your mind, with no one to ask if it’s okay to and no plans to mend. You are the plan. You decide what to do and you have the freedom of going literally anywhere you want. You also choose how much time you spend somewhere, where and what you eat, absolutely anything. You’re the master of the trip.
When you travel – unless you hate human interactions – you will inevitably meet people. Be it at the hostel you’re staying at, in a bar or just on the street, there will be a moment when you come across other people – locals or travellers alike – and sometimes even create friendships with them. While it is true this can happen at any time and any place, whether you are on your own or with your friends, there’s just something about being solo. You meet new people in a way that you probably wouldn’t were you in someone else’s company. It’s not about trying or not trying, but a simple matter of fact.
Being on your own will push you into talking to people, perhaps for an actual chat or even just to ask for help or information, as you have no one else to rely on. Being on your own will mean that you will be more easily approachable by people, especially other solo travellers looking for some company (winky face).
Solo travelling means that, for the most part, you will have to handle things on your own. Plane tickets, accommodation, even mere transportation and making sure you have packed everything and anything you need for the trip. Having no one else to rely on means that you’re in charge of every detail of the trip, which can be a good and a bad thing. No option of asking your friend if they have that thing that you forgot, or if they could help you with something. You’re out there on your own. As scary as that might sound, it’s actually easier once you’re actually in the situation and it can greatly help you become more independent.
These skills will be used not only in future travels, but also in life in general, as you gradually become able and more comfortable with managing things on your own, getting to know yourself better and knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It’s no lie when they say that travelling helps you discover yourself and most of all it helps you grow, so go out there and try it for yourself!
Solo travelling is also really good to manage your spendings. When we travel with people, we tend to compromise and sometimes do things we’d personally not spend money on ourselves. Sometimes it’s even an awkward topic to talk about, as some friends might want to eat out a lot while you’d rather save up a bit and do some shopping instead. At the cost of not letting people know, you go out of your way to accommodate them and end up spending a lot more than what was in your original budget, which might leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Vice versa, sometimes you might save up a lot for a trip so that you can make the most of it, but find yourself with friends who’d rather not splurge as much. While that’s perfectly acceptable, that might leave you with the feeling that you’re missing out on things.
Well my friend, being on your own solves all of these issues. You can do whatever the hell you want with your money, go to fancy restaurants every day or live off street food for most of the trip. Take public transport all the time or decide to walk instead. Pay for a tour or make your own. In the end, it’s all about the experience you want to have, with no external boundaries tying you down.
How many times have we look at pictures of beautiful destinations, maybe even went as far as finding affordable flights and accommodation, yet ending up giving up on the dream because we couldn’t find anyone to go with? Or how about that group trip, where you really wanted to go somewhere but had to go where everyone else wanted to go – perhaps even resulting in some level of frustration as you wasted money on a holiday destination you didn’t entirely desire?
We’ve all been there and those are some of the negative aspects of always travelling with other people. Solo travelling gives you the opportunity to change the game: you see somewhere you wanna go? You book the plane and set off on your new adventure. No trying to find someone to come with you, no convincing your friends that this is better than whatever else they had in mind. When you travel on your own, you have endless possibilities laid out in front of you, the opportunity to wake up one day and decide you want to go somewhere, then perhaps waiting a couple hours and booking something entirely different. Ending line being, IT IS ALL UP TO YOU. How awesome is that?
At the end of the day, solo travelling is an adventure. You meet people, you inevitably mess up or forget something – don’t lie, it happens to all of us – and you make memories you will never forget. Solo travelling means that every single moment is something precious, that will shape the remaining of your trip in ways you cannot imagine. This will lead you to collect a great deal of travelling stories to report back to your friends, from the people you met on that train to the time you got lost in the middle of the city and no one spoke English for you to ask for directions. Being on your own will make you feel sad or lonely at times, but in the end it’s all worth it and you’ll find yourself looking back on the trip with longing. You’ll spend days telling your family and friends of all the awesome things you got to do and the places you got to see, or about that spontaneous trip you took one day because you were getting bored and wanted to visit something new. You’ll have the kind of stories that will ironically make your friends sigh and say “ah, I wish I’d come with you”. But it wouldn’t have been the same, would it? 😉
So these are my major reasons why you should give solo travelling a go. If you’re scared and anxious about it, try not to worry too much – we were all the same on our first trip. Hell, I get paranoid on every trip I take. You never know what’s gonna happen and that feeling of uncertainty can be a bit hard to handle, but personally I also revel in it as I like facing the unknown. It gives you a nice thrill, you know?
To start off, I suggest perhaps selecting a close destination first, so that if all comes to worst you can go back home rather easily. Perhaps choose a country where you can easily communicate in your language or in English, make sure you have everything booked and maybe even book a few tours to get things going. I’m not saying everyone should do these things – I didn’t, for example – but I think it’s good to get accustomed to the new place. Lastly, I think it’s good to have a list of things to tick off when you get there – that will make sure that you always have something to do and don’t end up feeling lost or alone. Personally, I like to have one because it gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel a bit more secure. You can always stray away from the plan, but it’s good to have something written down to keep you focused.
With all that said, I hope I managed to convince you to give the experience a try and that you now feel a bit more comfortable with organising your new trip. If you want more information or would like to have a chat, please feel free to comment or drop me a message on here. Would love to give you more advice or even just talk travelling! I think you can tell it’s one of my favourite things to discuss haha.
I hope you’re all having a great day and an awesome summer,
I prefer travelling on my own
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It’s good isn’t it? Definitely something which needs to be advertised more!
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off to georgia and armenia in 9 weeks now – first days off this year
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Sounds like a good trip ! How long will you be there for? 🙂
I am struggling with but enjoying learning teh languages
Really enjoying your blog and finding someone with a like travel philosophy! I’ve found that independent travel is by far the most rewarding form of travel. Through it we build confidence and, like you said, become more independent. Essentially, we learn again what it means to be individuals. I’m glad to see you advocating it!
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Thank you so much for the comment! I really appreciate your blog so it means a lot to me that you reciprocate. I am also glad you feel the same way about this particular issue – solo travelling can be daunting at first, but I do think once you do it for the first time you are destined to fall in love with it. It’s a means to know and discover yourself like any other and while doing the best thing in the world, which is travelling! I don’t think there’s any better way to do it and will always be supporting it!
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