Whenever I tell others I have traveled to some place by myself, I get mixed reactions. Some raised eyebrows, “Oh, Why didn’t you go with someone?” “How do you know where to go? Aren’t you scared?” Others were amazed. “Wow, you are so brave. I wish I have the courage to do that.” And some pity me. They probably felt bad that I wasn’t able to find a travel companion, but little did they know that sometimes I keep my travel plans a secret just so I can go on my own. 😉
I have learned that solo travel is easier than many might think and completely rewarding in a way not too many other experiences in life can match. Like many people, I was afraid to travel by myself – getting on an airplane alone, eating solo, exploring a new place all by myself. As much as I like traveling with others who have common interests and traveling style, here are the main reasons why I enjoy traveling alone.
1- I CAN DO WHATEVER I LIKE, WHENEVER I LIKE.
We all know that it is not easy to plan a trip with another person or a group of people, especially when everyone is busy with work and their busy lives – picking the dates to travel, what places to see, what kind of accommodation, what to eat. But when you are on your own, there is no need to negotiate and come to a compromise. I enjoy the total freedom of planning for a trip, having a flexible schedule and the ability to make sudden changes. I can wake up any time and skip breakfast if I wish. I can stay at a cafe and people watch all day if I choose to. If I find a place interesting, I can extend my stay. I can explore at my own pace. And that is amazing to me.
2- I OPEN UP TO PEOPLE MORE.
Even though I am traveling by myself, I am never really completely alone. If I wish, I can always make new friends. I often surprise myself the way I interact with strangers differently than I would when I am home. When I am traveling with a friend, we tend to stick together and not socialize with others as much. I have met many cool people on the road whom I still keep in touch with. All of them not only had made my trip a more meaningful one, but my encounters with them have also impacted my life in one way or another. More on that later.
3- I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF.
4- I BECOME A STRONGER PERSON.
No doubt I came across many challenges along the way, such as returning back to my guesthouse at midnight to see that all my belongings have been removed from my room and thrown in the common area, not being able to get a bus ticket out of a high-elevation town in China when I was almost dying of altitude sickness, having an obnoxious guy trying to knock down my hotel door in Vietnam, being cheated by a con-artist in Bangkok. I was confused, frustrated, frightened and furious at that moment, but all these not-so-pleasant experiences are now memorable stories that I have learned from.
Traveling alone is not easy, but when I manage to communicate with the locals, navigate the different transportation systems all over the world and solve little unforeseen problems along the way, it makes me a stronger individual.
Traveling alone is an experience that everyone should try. It is not as scary as you may think. Just like anything in life, the hardest part is making the first step! The rest falls into place. You will never know until you try, and you might surprise yourself. Live your life and explore, with no regrets.