First things first – Travelling solo doesn’t mean you’re a loner. You do things you want to do, the way you want to do and at your own pace. It’s much more convenient and self-satisfying.
I’ve travelled with family, with friends, with a group of friends, with a significant other and in packages/groups. Nothing is as pleasant as travelling solo. It’s sometimes not as glamorous as it looks but sometimes it just turns you into a storyteller.
Here is why you should travel alone at least once in your life –
- It will feel a bit lonely but only for the first few times – I still remember on my first unaccompanied trip I was a bit awkward. I couldn’t get out of my comfort zone. I was always worried about my budget and I was eating alone (which I hate more than waking up in the middle of the night and hitting your baby toe to the furniture). It will take a couple of trips alone to figure out how it’s done and once you do it you won’t get enough of it. It’s like that first chip you eat out of the bag, once you start you cannot stop.
- Every bit of it is an adventure – The thing with packaged tours is – every move of yours is planned – where to go, what to do, which hotel to stay in, where to eat and you move around in a bus. I am not saying it’s bad, any travelling is good travelling but It’s like you want to eat but someone else chooses the restaurant and what you should eat. Some people will call it marriage but I am single so I don’t get it. When you travel alone you push yourself to talk more and see more. I’ve walked into really dingy bars while on my way to get a coffee, I’ve trekked onto mountains to visit isolated churches – You don’t know what’s going to happen, you leave your plans open for anything and that’s the best part about it. Right from partying all night long with complete strangers on the streets of Ibiza to walking alone on the streets of Harlem in New York – I’ve done it all only when flying solo.
- You’ll learn more about yourself and others – I personally feel that you don’t observe much when travelling in groups. You are less approachable because you look busy all the time. You do and see what the guide wants you to see and the free time they give you to explore on your own is never enough. You converse amongst each other; you eat together – you get so involved with each other that you ignore your surroundings. If travelling makes you a smarter/better person, then travelling by yourself makes you a super smart/better person. Once you set off on a solo journey to an unknown place, you start getting to know yourself much better. You are on your own, it’s very liberating. You notice yourself better and your point of view on others and their way of living changes.
- You meet new people and make new friends – If you’re an extrovert like me then it’s a wonderful way to meet new people and make new friends and if you’re not then you push yourself to talk to others. The beauty of solo travel is the people you meet. Not only it’s a huge confidence booster but it also tests you. Strike a conversation with fellow travellers and locals (My favourite thing to do), no one can tell you about the place where you are better than a local. I’ve befriended people on a metro, the taxi drivers, in a bar, at my hostel, while asking people just to click a photo for me, went on impromptu dinner dates etc. Trust me, walking up to anyone and starting a conversation is an unwritten rule of solo travelling, also no one minds it. Here are some really hazy memories.
- Your terms, your rules and no drama – Do everything when you want and how you want. I am sure you must have tried making travel plans with your friends a lot of times but there is someone or the other who drops out at the last minute. People start leaving your travel related WhatsApp group one by one and people who manage to go with you tie you down. When you’re alone you’re not obliged to entertain anyone. You can waste your entire day sitting on a beach sipping on drinks or you can go for sightseeing – you’re not answerable to anyone. Logistics become simple. Don’t wait for someone to join you.
- What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas or any other destination – Do anything without the fear of being judged. I have this thing where on one night I just take a metro and get down to an unknown stop. Look for speakeasy places. I’ve had some really fun encounters there, some I’ve shared and will share in the future and some I just keep to myself. Travelling turns you into a storyteller but also makes you learn how to keep secrets.
That’s it folks, find a world map, spin a globe, open your atlas or you can be a bit less dramatic and book a flight to a dream destination. I don’t care how you do it, whatever your choice is, make it a point to go, if someone joins you – amazing and if someone doesn’t, take that plunge alone. It’s safer than you think, it’s much more fun than you think.
Happy Wanderlust 🙂