This post is a bit personal, but I wanted to share the joys and pains of travelling solo. I have learnt over the years I travel best on my own or with a few very select people. I don’t work well in groups, or I haven’t found that group I click with. Nevertheless, I have accepted I’m someone who can travel alone and not be afraid.
Firstly, I believe everyone should travel alone at least once in their life. This is an opportunity to discover who you are as a person and what your real comfort zone is. Your comfort zone is probably a lot larger than you realised but you haven’t tested the waters yet.
I don’t want to hear the excuses, oh it’s not safe, what if I get lost, oh I don’t speak the language etc. Please stop being a child and grow up. Being at home is not safe either, you’re in a country you feel comfortable and relaxed in and no longer see the dangers, but it doesn’t mean it’s safer than another country. What are you scared of? Really? Being alone? Yourself?
I embrace travelling on my own; I feel I get to be my own person and see the things I want to look at. Taste new food. Appreciate the history. Embrace the culture. Meet new people. We are stuck in our social circles so much; we fail to meet new people who can show us something new, help us experience the world.
I’m a firm believer if you spend your time waiting for others to travel with you, you will never leave your front door. You will miss the opportunity to hike the Lares Trek, stay in a homestay and be part of a community that takes you in without a second thought. Why would you miss this opportunity? This world has so much to offer; there are seven continents, 195 countries (193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and two countries that are non-member observer states) and over 4,000 cities in the world and you want to stay at home?
However, there is a downside to travelling consistently on your own. If you’re not used to your own company, loneliness can hit you hard. When I first started travelling, I used to feel lonely; I would read a book to keep me distracted. I would listen to music. I’ll be on social media to stay connected. Now, I don’t. I’m too busy staring out the window and taking in sites, listening to people speak in their local dialects. Finding new people to talk to and appreciating where I am.
If you become ill while you are travelling, you are on your own and have no one. If you hurt yourself, you are alone and have no one. If something happens and you want to relive the moment with someone, you can’t. If you get lost, no one knows but you. Sometimes you see a group of friends, enjoying and you wish you can be with them. You want a full-length picture with the Great Pyramid of Giza, but there is no one to be your tripod. This is all temporary, and there are ways to overcome all.
You’re not on your own, unless you choose to be.