Europe

4 reasons why you should travel solo now!

By: Jim Bamboulis

“…but I can’t travel alone”.

“…she doesn’t have any more vacation time left, so I can’t go”.

“…I’d be lonely and I don’t know how to meet new people”.

And the list of shitty excuses as to why you shouldn’t and can’t travel alone goes on and on.

Blunt Fact #1: If you want to and can travel, you’ll do it no matter what. And that includes traveling solo.  So any excuse you come up with is just lousy…and you know it.

Blunt Fact #2:  And by coming up with them, you’re wasting more of your time.

Blunt Fact #3:  When you depend on your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, BFF, GFF, etc. to get time off work, school, etc. the more you will come to regret that you didn’t take the leap of faith and book that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Resentment might even start to set in.

Let’s face it. You have the travel bug. But you just can’t bear the thought of going at it alone. So what’s the real issue here?

Physical obstacles? Maybe. Medical concerns? Legit. Financial concerns? Understandable. You really want to see Paris with someone?  Ok, fair enough.

However, more often than not, for many people, it’s the dreaded F-word.

Fear.

Of the unknown. Of the unexpected. Of new experiences. There’s no shame in that but I hope that after you read this post, you’ll stop making excuses and take your travel bug by the…itinerary.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s a particular type of person that has the balls to travel solo.  Because it does take some balls.  They are male, female, single, married, young and old, black and white. Independent minded people, from all walks of life, who aren’t afraid to take risks. They have an open mind, look at life in general as an adventure more than a daily grind. They accept who they are and who they see in the mirror.

They are just like you.

Blunt Fact #4: If you prefer to wait for a travel mate, for whatever reason, that’s cool.  But if deep down, you really want to take that trip and don’t want to wait, you can break the barrier than stands between you and an exciting solo adventure.  Many people do it and so should you.

Here’s the thing: solo travel isn’t as scary as you might think.  It has major advantages that you may not have thought of. Perks that may motivate you to take that step, book that trip, follow through on a long-awaited dream trip.

Reason #1 – The feeling of pure exhilaration and adrenaline that comes from raw independence. You don’t have to make someone happy by doing shit you really don’t want to do. For example, if you want to go to the beach, you go to the beach.  Want to spend the day in a museum, up to you.  You want to go out for a drink with that person you met in your hotel elevator…and see where it goes, you’re call. Feel like spontaneously flying to Bangkok the next day…instead of Rome? Cool. The whole idea is to use your time, your way with no regrets, no questions asked, no consultation or approval needed.

Reason #2 – No drama.  Think about it. How many times have you been on a trip with someone only to have a couple of major fights (sometimes in public) about the stupidest, most meaningless shit (ie. sleeping in – see Reason #1). When you’re alone, the only drama you have is squeezing in as many things you want to do (or don’t want to do) on any given day.

Reason #3 – You gain valuable perspective and learn not only about your travel destination but more importantly you get a chance to look deep inside yourself.  To learn more of what you’re made of, gain valuable knowledge about yourself and what you’re capable of doing when alone.  There is no greater sense of accomplishment than conquering an important personal goal or milestone, especially when done with you alone.

Reason #4 – Time waits for nobody. So why should you wait for somebody? You only live once. And living is what it’s all about.

“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.

What’s your travel style?

By: Jim Bamboulis

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.

Nope.

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.

Both valid.

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.

 

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