Don´t you get lonely? Don´t you miss your friends and family? How can you enjoy an experience without someone to share it with?
These are just some questions people have asked me in the past. Very understandable and I can relate at some level.
I have been called Lone Wolf by some nice people, I have been called weird or strange by some others not so nice.
But you see, there are so many reasons I decide to travel by myself and I would like to share with you the most important. These are not the reasons why people travel solo but I think some of you wanderers can identify with some of those:
1. Traveling solo is a sinonym of freedom
You only respond to yourself.
Every decision you make is because you are 100% comfortable with it and you are sure it is what you want to do. If you are traveling with friends or a partner, every decision you make, whether it is staying in a hostel, sleep on the night bus or camping, cooking in the hostel or eating out, that choice was made because both of you want to do that; so sometimes you have to compromise to keep the relationship or group in a happy mood. But this also means that at some points you are going to stop doing things you like in order to do things that the other person(s) want. Let´s say you want to hike a mountain but the majority of the group, or your partner wants to chill on the town, you have two options: either you compromise and chill or you go your own way and risk the other person getting mad or feeling obligated to compromise. You have to meet them halfway, but it takes away some of that sense of freedom.
2. You have an open agenda
No deadlines; no “we have to be here by this date”; no “we have to hike this mountain this day“. Sounds a bit like the last one but it is totally different. Let´s say that you find a travel partner that wants to do exactly what you like so there is no compromising your own plans. You still have to find a halfway point about how long you stay in a place or when you do certain activity.
If you have an open agenda, whether it is because you met a cute girl or you got sick of the town, you can decide when to leave the place. You are not bound to another person wanting to stay more time or leaving early, you just depend on your agenda.
3. You meet new friends, every day
If you are traveling with friends, you don´t feel the need to speak with someone, you feel secure and safe within your circel. It doesn´t matter if you travel with your boyfriend or with four mates, when you are in a group, you feel less keen about engaging in a conversation with a random guest in the hostel or this person who happens to be all alone at the beach right next to you.
It is also one hundred times easier for other solo travelers to approach you if you are writing by yourself than if you are drinking a few beers with your mates. If you travel solo, you are more approachable and appear more friendly.
It is always great to make new friends
But the most important thing about this point is, you don´t miss the opportunity of meeting great people who surely can teach you something new, you can learn from everyone you meet on the trail.
4. You don´t have to take care of people
I know, I know, I am so selfish.
Don´t get me wrong, I am not a selfish person, I have been taken care of and I have taken care of people when they get sick or injured in the trail, even people I just met the day before. But if we are cold and raw about this subject, I travel by myself in order to avoid situations where I have to change my plans because of other people. When I need to do it, I do it, but it is a lot less frequentl if I travel solo than when traveling with a friend that gets sick everytime he eats local street food.
5. You learn how to be alone, how to be with yourself
You become your best friend. As simple as that. All those lonely 4 hour rides from one town to another, the walk by the local park or beach with only your thoughts as company, that morning you couldn´t continue sleeping and woke up to no one in the hostel, those waiting hours at the airport etc. They all teach you how to listen to your inner self, to get to know you, to become your best friend.
6. You become independent and learn to rely only on Eric (or insert your name here)
No one is going to tell that you are spending too much. The only person who is going to cook for you is yourself. If you don´t wash your clothes you´ll eventually ran out of clean shirts. Getting drunk and walking home alone at 3 am in a city you don´t know will get you in trouble. That pretty girl you fancy? No mate of yours will be there to introduce her to you. In need of a hot soup for your stomach ache? No mommy or friend to nurture you, you have to do it yourself.
You become this new person. You learn how to deal with the problems life father destiny puts on your path and you realize that, without a question, you can count on yourself to solve almost any issue that you find in your way.
All of these points have a negative side and traveling with someone has its own perks, this is just something I wrote due to a lot of people commenting about this subject on my older posts. I just want you to know how I learned to always…