By: Jim Bamboulis
No doubt about it, having a travel companion has many benefits. But have you ever been on a trip with someone and wished that you traveled alone instead? You go in thinking that you’ll travel well together. Then on the trip, you realize that it wasn’t a good idea.
It’s common. That’s why there’s travel compatibility tests. Before you take that trip together, you can test whether you’ll gel together. Might save you some agony. Personalities and travel styles clash all the time leading to big time fights and even broken friendships.
And then there’s couples’ travel. Traveling can strengthen long-term relationships or break them up. Take the Amazing Race for example. Someone decided that a fan page dedicated to listing the breakups associated with the show was worth creating.
That’s when Bill Murray comes into the picture.
Remember this from a couple of years ago? Bill crashed a bachelor party and gave the groom-to-be a piece of advice that is bang on truth. The beauty is that it applies to everyone who plans on being together. This is both marriage and travel advice.
So what about solo travel?
Sure, it’s not for everyone and for many it’s not easy. Fear is a huge factor and cripples a lot of people from going it alone.
But, the fact is, no matter who you are and where you’re from, there’s a case to be made about its benefits.
It’s not as scary as you might think. Of course, where you choose to go is your business but some organizations have even come up with a list of countries where solo travellers are expected to have a better overall experience.
Regardless of where you decide to go, here are my five reasons why I love to travel solo. Hopefully, these motivate you to take that long-awaited trip and do it your way.
That’s a hard concept for many to understand much less execute. It’s not easy letting go and most of us can’t get our heads around doing things only for ourselves, by ourselves. Solo travel allows me to do whatever I want, as often as I want and for as long as I want to do it. The only person that you have to answer to is yourself. It’s a very liberating feeling without the need to compromise. Your trip, your time, your adventure!
And because it’s your adventure, you don’t have to deal with anyone trying to interfere with or even sabotage your plans (or non-plans). I’ve seen it over and over again. Something so insignificant happens and an argument breaks out. Feelings are hurt and you waste valuable time trying to fix a fight than enjoy your trip.
See this picture with that stuff on my face? This was taken at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. I stayed here for 6 hours. Just because.
By traveling alone, I avoid all of that drama/vacation kill. I’m enjoying my experiences, seeing what I want and having the chance to meet new people. Because you will definitely meet new and exciting people.
Meet new people
I know, it’s not easy being social, especially in a foreign country. But you’d be surprised how many amazing people are out there just open and willing to share a drink, a conversation and especially a travel story with you.
Think about it. Everyday, people around the world wake up, commute to a job they probably hate, deal with people they probably hate more, go to meetings they despise and then commute back home. That’s life. There’s little time to go out, much less have a spontaneous and exciting conversation with someone new.
It’s not about hooking up guys, it’s about human connection. It’s amazing what happens when you let go and allow yourself to have a good time with total strangers.
Time is tickin’
It’s really weird but the one thing that gets me eager to book a trip is watching old 80s music videos. Happens every time. I’ll watch a Duran Duran video and think, wow, I was 9 years old when this video came out. That feels like yesterday. Is time really going that fast?
The answer is yes.
It’s understandable if you’ve got a deal ironed out with your partner that you only travel together no matter what. Or you’ve got major family responsibilities, an elderly parent you’re taking care of or kids of course.
But If you’re always trying to coordinate schedules and feel that you’ve waited long enough, then maybe it’s time for you to go it alone. If you have the time and a bit of cash (you don’t need much to have a great time), then seize the day.
Book the flight, get on the train, rent that car, it doesn’t matter. Take advantage and take that long-awaited trip you’ve always wanted to take. You won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll thank yourself for making the most of your time.
Learn more about YOU!
To me, it’s all about perspective. You can look at solo travel as lonely or you can see it as a chance to find out who you are, who you’ve become and what you’re capable of.
This is the opportunity to take the time and really delve deep inside and give yourself a chance to learn more about you.
Scary? Hell ya. And it’s definitely a process. But here’s the thing. Investing in yourself, learning more about you, is the biggest challenge and most rewarding experience you will have. And believe me, if you’re like me, you’ll really surprise yourself to learn that you’re more than just a person who needs that ticket for the morning commute to work.
Resources to help you on your journey
Everyone is at risk of running into trouble abroad. Based on conversations that I’ve had with female friends of mine, women may have many more hesitations about traveling alone for many reasons, including and especially safety, a legitimate concern. But as you know, there are many resources and helpful tips that will put your mind at ease.
If you’re almost at that tipping point and have decided that it’s time to finally take that trip, take inspiration from other women that have been there, done that and have used their experiences to inspire others that it not only is possible but it will profoundly change you, hopefully for the better.
Wondering how you may feel after you come back from your solo adventure? This is a great read and accurate for me personally. These feelings apply to everyone who takes the time to truthfully and deeply reflect.
If you’re traveling, solo or otherwise, and would feel better letting your government know that you’ll be around for a while, this link provides you with a list of embassies and consulates in every country around the world, including phones numbers, street and email addresses.
More inspiration to get to it
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain.
- Solo female travel part 1 (solobirdofpassage.wordpress.com)
- More Thoughts on Solo Travel and Some Resources (smallworldthisis.wordpress.com)
- 9 Reasons why travelling alone is beautiful. (thetravelmonster.wordpress.com)
- Finding the Courage to Travel Alone (explorecravemore.wordpress.com)