Solo Travel, for a lot of people, is a thing shrouded in mystery. I mean, why would anyone “want” to travel alone? Contrary to popular opinion, no, solo travel is not a last resort – well sometimes it might be- but more often that not, to travel solo is a conscious decision that individuals make. Lovers of solo travel are not necessarily introverts, friendless, recluses or what have you. We’re just normal people who like to travel by ourselves. For real.
In fact, there have been times when I’ve travelled with friends and wished I was travelling solo instead. In one instance I actually insisted on parting ways because I couldn’t handle my travel buddy’s whining anymore.
There are so many joys of travelling solo and recently after seeing a bunch of solo travel related myths doing the rounds of the travelosphere I decided to have a little myth-busting session here on my blog. Here are a few of my favourite myths coupled with their truths (or at least, my perception of the truth)
It’s A Big Bad World Out There: You will hear this all the time when you announce your intent to travel solo. Ask solo travel deterrents this: Is a trip from your home to the office or the grocery store 100% safe? Nope, and why is that? Because really, nothing in this world is 100% safe. Similarly, just because there is a 1% chance that something might go wrong do we take that to mean we should never ever travel, explore and experience new cultures?
If anything, solo travel actually teaches us that the world is a much better place than we are taught to imagine. It’s when you’re alone in a new country, lost and confused that someone will walk up to you and explain to you how to get to your destination – even if they don’t speak your language. You’ll be witness some really memorable random acts of kindness, which when you come back home, you’ll want to pay forward. So you see, solo travel actually ends up making the world more beautiful.
|Travel Solo! It’s a much better world out there than we are taught to imagine|
You Will Be Very Lonely: First off, if you’re travelling solo you’ll do well to like yourself and to be capable of enjoying your own company. That said, don’t worry, you’ll meet plenty of people on your travels both locals and other travellers. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself making new friends who might just last you a lifetime.
When you travel solo, you’ll notice that you’re a lot more open to meeting other people without even making a conscious effort. You’ll pay more attention to conversations around you and similarly, there will be a lot more likelihood of you being invited to join in conversations, meals and even trips.
A good way to meet locals and fellow travellers is to use websites like Couchsurfing and MeetUp and you can also stay in the homes of locals/expats using sites like Airbnb and Roomorama. One of the highlights of solo travel is the bond you end up forming with other travellers and locals you meet along the way. Don’t miss out on this experience just because of your fear of being alone.
|Meeting other travellers and locals while travelling solo is easier than you would imagine|
Don’t Speak To Strangers: Why travel if not to completely immerse yourself in another culture? And how can you ever experience a new culture in its entirety without knowing its people?
Think of it this way, even your best mate was once a stranger. You’ll end up missing a very important aspect of your travels altogether if you are paranoid about meeting and talking to new people. Some of your most amazing travel experiences will be a result of conversations with strangers. Invitations into homes of locals, a meaningful chat in a café with the person sitting on the table next to you, a riverside walk with a new friend from your hostel are all memories that are only possible if you give strangers a chance.
Remember not to lean completely the other way either, instead just learn to trust your gut. If your instincts scream “This person is a psycho”, it’s probably a good idea to run in the opposite direction.
|Why travel if not to immerse yourself in another culture?|
Solo Travel Is No Fun: This myth could not be further from the truth. Imagine not owing anyone a thing, imagine being able to change your plans at the drop of a hat and imagine being literally able to go wherever your heart likes. Solo travel is the best way to experience complete freedom.
For starters, if company is a major concern, unless you’re backpacking in say Mongolia there is every chance you’ll find a travel buddy doing the same route as you. And what happens when your plans stop intersecting and you want to head out on your own? No problem. When you travel solo you are not answerable to anyone nor do you need a group consensus to take a discussion. Simply bid farewell to your new friends and be on your own way to wherever you like. No hard feelings.
Impromptu plans are always the easiest to make when travelling solo and any traveller will tell you that it’s the impromptu moments that make the best travel memories.
|Solo Travel is experiencing freedom in its purest form|
Solo Travel Is Boring: You know what’s boring? Watching the same TV shows, eating the same food and meeting the same people every day. Being out there in a new place, swimming in the big blue ocean, hiking through evergreen forests and indulging in a cuisine you’ve only read about before is by no means boring. So, does being by oneself take away from these experiences?
For a few maybe but for most people travelling by themselves, the adventures are only enhanced further on a solo trip. You never know who you might be sharing your meal with…it could be a great book, an intelligent local or a charming co-traveller you met yesterday. Way better company than the annoying friend you decided to travel with last minute only because you were afraid of the unknown. Just give solo travel one chance and who knows, maybe you’ll return an addict.
|Solo Travel is adventure, adrenalin, freedom and memories combined. It is anything but boring|
Solo Travel Is A Crazy Idea: Yes, there is a bit of truth in this myth but solo travel is crazy in a completely awesome way! Don’t knock anything until you’ve tried it. For a lot of people who will deter you, solo travel is basically some crazy idea you’ve come up with to get yourself killed. The truth is far from it. In fact, solo travel is a crazy idea you’ve come up with because you’re seriously laden with wanderlust and can’t wait to get out there by yourself and experience the things you’ve always dreamt of.
Travel Solo because you want to and because the very thought of it thrills you and sends tingles all the way through your spine to the end of your toes. Not everyone you meet in life will feel the same way about solo travel but then again, not everyone has the same spirit of adventure as you.
|Travelling Solo is the good kind of crazy|