15 Apr 5 Reasons Why Traveling Alone is the Best Way To Travel
by Tara of Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa
Recently while I was out with a group of friends, I was telling them of my travel plans. While I am known to travel quite a bit, it was interesting to hear one friend say how brave I was for traveling alone and that she “could never do that.” I looked at her and said, “of course you can.”
For many people, it’s a difference between wanting to do it and fearing it. When you travel alone you expose yourself to a certain vulnerability. Often times you’re traveling in unknown places that have been labeled, dangerous and unfit for women traveling alone. However, when we strip all of that down, overcome our fears and take that step of solo travel, you’ll find that it’s not all that scary and in fact extremely liberating.
#1 You travel on your own terms
When you’re traveling with other people, it often involves making compromises. Where to stay, where to eat, what activity to do can all be easy decisions, but when you throw another person into the mix they can cause stress. You’re constantly trying to keep the peace by sacrificing what you want and settling for something “in between.” I remember traveling with my friend through Europe. While it was an awesome trip, she was only traveling for a week and I was traveling for a month. Our budgets, needless to say, were very different. What she had budgeted for a week, I basically budgeted for the entire month. Lodging proved to be difficult, because where I was willing to “rough” it, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her creature comforts in exchange. In the end, we ended up compromising but that’s not to say we didn’t have a few arguments along the way.
When you travel solo, you set your own schedule. You wake up when you want to and do the things that interest you. There’s definitely a special freedom in traveling this way because it feels as though the world is at your fingertips. You are free to roam where you please without worrying if someone else is enjoying their time. And while it is often fun to share these experiences with others, it’s also nice to have that time to reflect and explore on your own.
#2 You meet new people
Meeting people is a big reason why people travel. They want to explore the people of the place they’re visiting and also hang out with like-minded travelers. I’ve noticed that when I’m traveling in a group, it’s not as easy to meet people. Often you feel so comfortable in the group that you’re traveling with, that branching out and meeting people seems unnecessary. While it is absolutely possible to meet people when you’re traveling in groups, it’s just not the same as meeting folks when you’re traveling solo.
Often solo travelers find comfort and camaraderie in the company of other solo travelers, forming a bond quicker and one that lasts. In fact, when I travel “alone” I always end up meeting amazing people along the way, making my solo travel not so independent afterall. However, the beauty in that is you get the choice to travel or not travel with someone. And because you’re meeting so many people, you build an incredible network of people from all over the world, making your experience richer and more memorable.
# 3 You have alone time
Okay, when you’re staying at a hostel with 13 other people in a dorm room, it is difficult to have some alone time. However if you find yourself in such a situation, it can force you to leave your room to take a walk, explore the neighborhood, or find a quiet spot to do some journaling.
When I travel alone, I have my essentials which include a yoga mat and a journal. Being able to do yoga anywhere I go gives me that much needed alone time to connect with my breath and settle into a new place. While having a journal allows the thoughts to flow without any judgment. It gives my mind the time it needs to assess and organize what it is I’m experiencing. Having access to this at any moment is invaluable and is often sacrificed when I travel with others.
#4 It will be your OWN experience
When you travel with others, you experience the journey together, which is all well and good if that’s what you want, but sometimes it can have a negative impact. Traveling with company can often lead to being influenced by one another. I remember traveling to Hungary with my mother, who was not very fond of Hungary. While we were there she vocally expressed what she disliked, which in turn tainted my view of Hungary ever-so-slightly. While there were many great things that came out of that trip, I couldn’t help but wonder what the trip would’ve been like had I been on my own. Exploring new places on your own allows you to form your own opinion, without being swayed by someone else.
#5 You become more confident
The more you travel independently, the more confident you become, not only whilst traveling but also in day-to-day life. When you travel alone, it’s really only you that you have to rely on. Having just yourself forces you to trust yourself more and do things that you ordinarily wouldn’t find yourself doing. Whether that’s trying to learn a new language so that you can decipher what to eat on a menu or asking a stranger for directions, each new task allows you to grow and become more open with yourself and to others. This confidence is something that will remain with you, as well, once you return home.
After being able to navigate the underground transit system of Tokyo, public transit back home will be a breeze. Trekking through the Himalayas makes that walk to grocery store seem breezy as ever. Sharing laughs with a group of people that barely speak English, will make socializing and meeting people in new situations all too easy.
When you travel alone, you bare a bit of yourself. You make mistakes and you pick yourself right back up. Some days are easier than others, but overall the experience of traveling alone is worth its weight in gold. If you’re wondering, “can I do this?” The only way to know for sure is to take the plunge. Maybe it’s only for a weekend, or maybe it’s for a whole week, but you won’t know the answer to that question until you make the decision to travel alone. When you do, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if this is the best way to travel.
Tara is an elementary school teacher, presently taking a much-needed break from teaching, and in turn dabbling in and out of different job roles. Her travels have taken her all over the world, previously living in Thailand, Taiwan and Cambodia. Currently, she’s a volunteer writer and yoga instructor at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica. When she’s not busy at work, you can find her doing what she loves, which is included but not limited to: lazing about in hammocks, eating salad, watching sunsets and reading.