Ask any person for their reasons to travel alone and many would answer: “I just need time for myself.” There is truth to that statement. Solo travel does give you time for yourself plus a whole bunch of life skills and realizations which will come in handy as you journey through this unpredictable world. Here are reasons to travel alone and why, I think, you should do it at least once:
It’s you, your journey, and your destination. You navigate unfamiliar terrain by yourself and while you can ask around for directions, you will only have yourself to rely on when it comes to making decisions where to go the next day, how to go there, or where to eat for lunch. You learn to stand on your own two feet. My 16-year-old self didn’t like this but if you are to ask me which of the many reasons to travel alone do I like the most, it is this one.
I love travelling with my friends but sometimes there is this pressure to visit three or four sites in one day even when your feet can’t take it anymore. There is constant pressure to check with your peers where they want to go next. Travelling alone eliminates that because there is only one person you need to consult – yourself.
It’s inspiring and interesting to listen or read stories of people who travel alone because the fact that they made it on their own is a story in itself. How they find their way after getting lost in Paris is more exciting to listen to than looking at the picture of the traveler with the Eiffel Tower.
There is a huge difference between a traveler and a tourist: a traveler listens, a tourist hears. A traveler knows what real experience is and it is not just about postcard-perfect pictures. The traveler learns to be more open and accepting to any beliefs, ideologies, and cultures.
And by “more” I don’t mean quantity. Travelling alone makes you enjoy moments at a certain pace that you want. You don’t need to zoom in and out of one place. You can stay in one village for five days if you want to and live and act like a local. There is more to it than having your picture taken in front of an ancient pagoda.
You can be aloof and snobbish and no one will tell you that you are being anti-social. You are not required to constantly smile or be approachable and friendly. At the other end of the spectrum, if you want to socialize, go ahead. There are people in hostels, tourist sites or even the local supermarket who find it interesting to talk to a traveler.
Sometimes you don’t realize this when you’re in the company of friends or family because there are just so many things that are said and done. Solo travel makes you reflect more because there is more time to sit down and marvel at the beauty of the scenery you failed to appreciate for years.
Have you traveled alone? Which is your favorite destination for solo travel?
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