A few years ago, an opportunity presented itself, so I jumped on it.
A 2 month adventure around Europe.
Excited, I told many people and although most shared in my excitement and looked forward to hearing back from me during and after, some were concerned and even questioned my logic.
In-turn, I questioned why they questioned my logic.
It wasn’t so much about my safety or financials they worried about. Nor, was it about whether my non-existent fanny pack would show through my shirt.
They wondered why I was going solo and urged me to wait for someone to go with. This would avoid a perceived feeling of loneliness that I would surely feel. One that’s associated with traveling solo, especially for an extended period of time.
But you know who wanted to experience Paris and Amsterdam alone?
You guessed it. This guy!
I would smile and think: What’s the big deal about traveling solo? Do I really need to wait for someone to go with? But who? People can’t just take 2 months off to travel, can they? Why should I have the need to have to travel with someone? I didn’t have anyone that I wanted to travel with anyway. Besides, I don’t hate being alone. Do they? I’m not afraid of being alone. Are they?
It didn’t matter much to me. I just considered traveling solo a simple travel preference. I guess they didn’t and couldn’t see it that way.
At the time, I thought to myself: Why would I want to wait for someone to travel with? If my opportunity is here and now, why would I want to delay it for the sake of going with someone? In theory, I could be waiting forever for someone, anyone with the time and money to travel. If I wait, it would be a missed opportunity and a lifetime of regret, even resentment. There was no way I was waiting for anyone!
But over time, the more I would talk with people, the more the topic of solo vs. going-with-someone travel became an interesting observation and point of conversation.
There’s no doubt that some revel in the chance to take on the world alone. They feel confident that whatever they encounter along the way will be thrilling and spontaneous. Meeting new people alone, being dependent only on yourself and not feeling obligated to plan or even be with someone all the time is the key to a great experience. Others prefer to wait for someone. A friend, relative or group, to pick destinations, co-ordinate activities and even take turns reserving hotel rooms and train passes. Overall, they take enjoyment and satisfaction of enjoying the trip and the experience with the chance to grow and remember the adventure, together.
Whatever the travel style, solo or with a friend, we can agree that both allow for endless possibilities for incredible experiences. But there is clearly a preference.
What do you think it all comes down to?
What makes some yearn for solo travel? Why do others prefer to travel with a buddy? Independent spirit? Fear of loneliness? Financial reasons? Cultural reasons?
Have an opinion? Have a travel preference? Share it.
- How To Travel Alone (essentialtravel.co.uk)
- Recap of my first solo travel experience (travelingcoder.com)
- Travel to find yourself: Journey from Barcelona to Vienna (lonelytripping.com)
- Open Travel Diary: The Sketchy Beginnings (notesofnomads.com)