I think everyone should at least once in their lifetime take a solo trip. I find solo travelling liberating and fun for multiple reasons. I’ve taken a few solo trips in the past few years – some have been a bit longer, and others were just quick getaways or city breaks.
You will meet people.
I think solo travel is fantastic as you’ll meet some amazing people. These people probably won’t be your friends for life, chances are you will never see them again, but at that moment they’ll be there, and it’ll make your trip so much more exciting.
I’m a sucker for romanticising the people I meet while travelling. Serendipity. There is something magical with meeting another human being at the most random location on earth at the time that you also happen to be there.
When I was in Rome (this was my first solo trip a few years back), I met two Aussie blokes, and we had so much for two days – we drank way too much wine and played too many card games. Recently when I was in Bordeaux, I went to a French rock opera with a complete stranger and had a blast. While I was travelling in Australia, I met a German girl, and we spent a day together in Melbourne.
I’ve met many more amazing people, and while I’ve never spoken to these people ever again, there is something beautiful about the memory of them.
I’m selfish, and when I’ve been saving up for a trip, I want it MY way.
Travelling with groups is so difficult as much as you may love your friends, chances are you have different interests or what you’d like to do. I love art museums and markets, so I make sure that wherever I go, I want to see the Contemporary Art Museum and a local market. I also prefer to see places rather than chill on the beach. My friends’ not as big fans of modern art.
For years now I’m always the persons that says: “I’m cool with doing my own thing during the day, see ya in the evening?” Alternately some people get upset over that. When I’m at a new place, I want to be selfish, and I want to do what I want and what interests me. I’m more than happy for others to chose what we do on any Saturday/Sunday evening or at a place I’ve already seen.
It teaches you life lessons.
I’ve been robbed; I’ve been lost, I’ve been wandering in the dark, I’ve missed flights and buses, I’ve had my flights cancelled. Shit happens.
When you’re on your own, and you have no one to rely on, you quickly learn efficiency. Lost luggage or cancelled flight no longer bother me – I just get on with it. Being lost? – try walking trough Bronx in the middle of the night on your own. I got back to my hotel in one piece, is all good.
You learn to problem-solve without stressing, freaking out and drama. There is nothing worse in a stressful situation than having someone having a mental breakdown next to you. When you’re on your own, you ought to stay level-headed. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish when you’re thrown into the deep end, and you have only yourself to count on.
Best things come out of your comfort zone.
Travelling solo is intimidating, but best things also happen when you’re thrown out of what you know well. It is so god damn amazing to be able to sit down for an amazing restaurant meal on your own. I went to one of the best restaurants in Bordeaux on my own. It was a somewhat fancy restaurant (the type where there is a specific fork for a particular course), it was intimidating, but I also had the best wine and food. Liberating. It was liberating.
Some of the all-time favourite trips I’ve taken have been those I set off to do solo. Yes, when I travelled AUS and NZ last Christmas, I was meeting up with loads of friends on the way and again imagine how much harder that would have been if I had decided to take that trip with a friend. Awkward. I was seeing and spending time with people from different friend groups, doing a solo trip just made far more sense!
My point is – don’t knock it till you try it. Take a solo trip with kindness in your heart and see where the adventure takes you!