Going Solo

With Valentines Day quickly approaching, it seems like everything is about couples. Those who aren’t part of one seem either deflated or independently proud of not celebrating the “hallmark holiday” (their words, not mine). I’ve heard similar sentiments when it comes to travel. Most people tend want a travel partner, even if it’s not a romantic partner, for lack of a better phrase. But then there are those proud solo travelers who prefer to go it alone. With so much couple-ness in the air at the moment, I wanted to honor those adventurous spirits with a blog on the positives of solo travel. Don’t worry couples – you’ll get your own blog. For now though, a six reasons to travel on your own:

1. Freedom and autonomy. You decide the destination, the itinerary, the pace of the trip based your preferences and yours alone.

2. Spontaneity. While it’s certainly not impossible to be spontaneous when traveling with others, you can’t just randomly wander off in whatever direction interests you without letting the other person know – or at least not without worrying them quite a bit!

3. You make new friends. Two of my closest friends I met traveling solo. One friendship started with a chat while waiting in line to board a flight, the other while waiting to be picked up for a tour. In both cases we just started up a conversation because, quite simply, there was nothing else to do and the other person seemed friendly. Had I been with a significant other, or anyone else for that matter, chances are I would have been chatting with them instead and not met these fantastic people who I’m quite certain are lifelong friends.

4. You learn about yourself. When you travel alone, you learn what you can handle, and what you can’t. Often times, you realize you can handle more than you think you can – because you don’t have a choice. If something goes wrong, you have to take care of it, so you do.

5. It’s a confidence boost. Similar to the above point, there’s something about managing a whole trip on your own that inspires a feeling of accomplishment. Perhaps you’ve navigated a country where you don’t speak the language and can’t recognize some of the food, and you’ve done it on your own. Thinking back to my solo travels in my late teens and early 20s, I did some things while that would cause me serious anxiety or frustration now (i.e. solo 24 hour bus ride up the coast of Australia that began at 11 PM) . But I know I could do them if I had to. There’s a lot to be said for that.

6. You tend to immerse yourself more. For some reason, when you travel alone, I feel you tend to mingle more with the locals. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because in some cases, that’s who you have to rely for information, restaurant recommendations, directions, etc, especially in less touristy areas.

So next time you’re looking to take a trip and can’t find a suitable travel companion, don’t throw in the towel. You may just have one of your best vacations traveling on your own.


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