Why Travel Solo?

Why travel solo? It’s become one of the big questions I seem to hear over and over again; Won’t I get lonely travelling solo? Wouldn’t it be easier with some one else? Is it dangerous to travel solo? Are you worried about being able to meet people?
Fresh Coconut milk!
As a human being with my own wandering mind and natural anxieties all of these questions had crossed my mind. Sure it would be easier and probably cheaper to travel with some one and I’m sure there would be a slight increase is safety but safety isn’t something that bothers me. For the most part I’ve found even the so-called ‘dangerous’ third-world countries like Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala to be some of the most friendly and inviting communities I’ve come across.
For all of the benefits of travelling with a friend there’s an equally big and inviting list of travelling solo.
Freedom: Is there anything as freeing as waking up in a new place filled with endless opportunities for exploring the sights, culture, people and cuisine? I have endless opportunity for exploration and it’s not marred by the usual indecision that comes between people trying to decide what to do. This allows me to go with the flow, ran around town guided purely by my own energy and desires.
This is why I travel.

This is why I travel.

Meeting New People: As I found out on my last trip, when you travel with friends from home it becomes far too easy and comfortable chat with them rather than getting out there and meeting people. Travelling solo you don’t really have a choice; either you meet new people or stay in your room alone. I met some fantastic people on my last trip, people that I will consider friends for life but I feel I only met a fraction of the people I could have met had I made more of an effort. At the end of the day, it will sound cliche but backpacking is as much about the relationships you form as it is about the actual destinations.
Stepping outside the comfort zone:  This is a big one for me. It lies at the core of my backpacking philosophy and it’s the stand-out reason I’ve picked India as my next journey. Travelling for me isn’t about 5 star hotels and first class flights, I want something that will challenge me. It could be anything from skydiving to trying to order food in a foreign language, both these things and everything in between give a great sense of achievement . All forms of backpacking are going to come with moments where you take a trip outside your comfort zone and this is only multiplied when you decide to rock it solo.   Adversity goes hand-in-hand with travel, inevitably you’re going to miss flights, check into a dodgy hostel, maybe have something stolen or trek around a town trying to find accommodation. It’s not all doom and gloom though because it’s when you get forced outside your comfort zone that the next point really takes place.
Tarantula's in Guatemala
Character Building: I learnt more about myself in 9 months of travel than I had in any other period of my life. I feel as though from the moment I left to the moment I got back I had completely transformed myself as a person. I gained an entirely new perspective on the world around me and discovered passions I wished to pursue, one of them being further travel.
I don’t think you’re ever quite alone when you’re traveling, the backpackers trail is so full of amazing people that you very quickly forget that you got there alone and often end up on adventures you’ll never forget with friends you made over a beer at the hostel the night before.

10 Thoughts on “Why Travel Solo?

  1. I like traveling solo as much as I like traveling as a couple with Jack, my partner in crime. Being able to do both makes me appreciate the pros and cons of each.
    jill recently posted…Le Road Trip: 5 Awesome Highlights Driving Through Quebec Eastern TownshipsMy Profile

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  3. Some great reasons! I definitely prefer it. That picture of the spider on your hand really freaks me out though! I can tell by your face you weren’t loving it too much either!
    Arianwen recently posted…Flying High at Happy Valley AdventuresMy Profile

    • theboywander on August 8, 2013 at 9:39 am said:

      I was certainly not in my most comfortable state as my travel buddy at the time frantically tried to organise the camera to capture my facials. The funny thing is because it had a zoom lens on it she had to run 10 metres away just to get me fully in frame.

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  6. I say YES (!) to the four reasons you wrote there.
    Sony Fugaban recently posted…Weekly Photo Challenge: HorizonMy Profile

  7. Great post Nick! Getting out of my comfort zone has been a huge one for me since I started travelling solo. I used to travel as a couple (in fact, I moved to Australia from the UK and spent 2 years travelling and working there as part of a couple) but then, when we arrived in New Zealand in 2012, I found myself single again for the first time in 6 years.

    It was SO scary at first, because I’d never travelled on my own before (and I was on the other side of the world to all of my friends and family) but I soon made friends and, to be honest, being a solo traveller has given me so much more confidence in myself and my abilities. Sometimes, honestly, waking up alone somewhere new CAN be lonely, be the rewards (freedom, the ability to plan a trip around your needs/wants and not someone else’s etc) definitely outweigh the bad bits :)
    Beverley – Pack Your Passport recently posted…How I Spent 48 Hours in GdanskMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment Beverley. There’s no denying that it can be lonely but as you said the rewards definitely outweigh the negatives and I’ve already found so many oppurtunities being opened to me that just wouldn’t have happened had I been with other people.
      theboywander recently posted…Desert Days in JaisalmerMy Profile

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