You could not imagine how many years I choose not to travel because I had the thought in mind that I had no one to travel with. I turned 18 in 2001, and it might have been a challenge to travel due to money at this point time. But it took me another nine years to finally take the step and travel overseas, and that trip saw me travelling solo.
That first trip took place in October 2010 and saw me travel to five countries. The trip went from Vancouver to Seattle, on to Las Vegas and Toronto, before a week exploring London and a stopover in Hong Kong on the way home.
I took the whole trip solo and once I found my feet overseas, loved every minute of it. Of course, the rest is history with another three major overseas trips and a couple of other shorter ones. Now with some 35 countries checked off the list.
Travelling solo does make for a very different experience to travelling with others. I won’t pretend there are not some downfalls. Things like feeling alone at times, and the added cost of the dreaded single supplement. But at the end of the day, I think the advantages of travelling solo far outweigh the downside.
So you may be wondering what those advantages are. I think they are going to vary a little between people. Especially since everyone has different likes and dislikes, different personality traits and different expectations. But today I want to share with you the advantages I see in travelling solo.
Freedom To Explore
When you are travelling alone, it turns out there is just one person that is going to guide where you go. You!
You get total 100% control over where you go, what you see and how you do it. Well, that is the idea anyway. There is no one else that is going to hold your hand or take you somewhere that you do not want to go.
If you love visiting museums, you can visit every single one in each city. Art galleries your thing fantastic you can see as many as you like. But then again maybe hiking bush trails and exploring nature is your thing, take to the trails.
You get to hold your trip exactly how you want to. Which also means you get to take the trip at your pace. If you want to race from place to place, that is possible. But so is taking it slow and enjoying every moment.
Make New Friends
When you travel alone, there are many opportunities to make new friends. The added benefit of travelling solo means that you do not feel guilty speaking to a new friend and not the friend you are travelling with.
Over the time that I have travelled there are dozens of people that I have met and spent time with on my trips. In many different situations. But the ironic thing is that I am in many respects an Introvert. I don’t like the idea of approaching or interacting with new people.
But when you are travelling alone it seems that the tendencies to be introverted do somewhat disappear. You meet people everywhere, and often in situations where the barrier of approach is very low.
Consider being on a tour bus, there are other people there, and you just start chatting. The same has happened on many occasions sitting down for meals on cruise ships.
Sometimes if there was not a particular situation, then it comes to making use of services available. Websites like Couch Suffering make it quite easy to find other locals or travellers either individually or at local events.
No One To Push You
I am sure that many of us may have done things that we did not want to do due to peer pressure. When you travel with one or more friends, this can lead to some situations that you may not always enjoy. Big nights out, trying something a little more adventurous. It may turn out to be fun, but sometimes maybe not quite what you expected either.
Well, that is the great thing when you are travelling alone. No one will push you to do anything that you do not want to do. Even if you come across someone trying to sell you an experience, that peer pressure is not there. If you walk away no one knows the difference.
It can apply even to the most mundane of experiences, not just those adventurous experiences. If you couldn’t care less about seeing a museum, no need to go. You don’t need to feel guilty because you friend is going alone without you.
You Find Out Who You Are
In some ways this one I find rather hard to explain. In some respects, it is a product of the peer pressure mentioned above. But at the same time, it is the complete opposite.
You see when you are with friends and family there are times that you feel like you need to conform to expectations. You might do something because you feel that it is what they want you to do. Maybe you don’t do something because they might think differently of you.
When you travel alone, you have freedom to dig in and find out who you are. What you are about. Sometimes you even find that you surprise yourself with what you discover about yourself.
Helps Expand Your Comfort Zone
In everyday life, there are many situations that we get comfortable with. But when you are travelling solo, there is a range of new situations that you need to get comfortable with.
Of course, the number one biggest thing is being comfortable being alone. You find yourself suddenly without anyone familiar around you, and that can be a little confronting at first. However, once you get in and start experiencing where you are that passes.
There are also the simple things like going out to a restaurant to eat and sitting alone. There are times that this can be quite uncomfortable for some people.
It’s hard to tell what is and isn’t going to be in the comfort zone at times. But you just need to believe that when challenges arise on the road travelling solo, you will be able to overcome them.
So what have you been waiting for? Have you been waiting for friends or family to travel with? Does it seem like the timing can never line up? Why not consider taking off and travelling solo? If it sounds good to you, it might just be what you need to do.