For some people, the idea of travelling solo is repulsive. It has never been to me. I drove to England by myself when I was 20, without thinking at all that travelling alone could be scary or challenging. I loved the experience and I have travelled solo to many countries since then: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Australia, Malaysia…
I remember talking to a friend who was preparing her first solo trip to New Zealand. She was a bit nervous about it, and not sure if she would like it. I enthusiastically shared with her my solo travel experience and how I had a really good time. I loved how she suddenly got more excited about her upcoming trip. It triggered the envy to write this in an article. I hope it will help more people to erase from their excuse list “I have no one to travel with” and make them book their next trip solo!
Why did I love so much travelling solo?
Travelling solo was a choice and a challenge
I sometimes travelled with friends, and sometimes travelled solo. I never felt I had to be a solo traveller. When it happened, it was always by choice. I also took it as a chance. Not everyone is able to travel solo, for many reasons.
Travelling brings some interesting challenges, whether you do it solo or not. Some of these challenges are a lot greater when you have to deal with them by yourself. You need to develop new skills and become very independent. It’s also an opportunity for introspection to learn more about yourself.
I had freedom and no need to compromise
When it’s just you, all your choices are very selfish and made according to what you want. You can change plans easily. You can move quickly and seize opportunities at a glance. The more people travelling with you, the less selfish you can be and the more compromises you’ll have to do.
I met a lot of people while travelling solo (locals and travellers)
Travelling solo does not mean you are by yourself during your entire trip. I never experienced loneliness during my solo trips. On the contrary, it was an awesome way to meet people from different backgrounds. It was also a lot simpler to get in touch with locals for unique experiences. When you are by yourself, you are more accessible. For example, I got to chat with a waitress in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), who then took me all around the town for an exclusive visit. I also discovered Mount Nemrut with three Turkish kids as travel buddies. I had an interesting exchange with a group of women in Kuala Lumpur about travelling by yourself in a foreign country. I let my new roommate convince me to visit Dachau concentration camp.
I’m not saying you have to travel solo to get this, but when you’re by yourself, these opportunities arise more often and they are often more intense. Because I was travelling solo, my experience in these destinations was very different.
I had time to think, capture and write
I know that this will not be a positive trigger for everybody. But as an introvert, it was a real pleasure to be able to easily find personal time. I could decide to stop somewhere I liked (often in front of dramatically beautiful scenery!) and just watch it for a little while, or longer. No one could interrupt these moments.
I also remember how I was into photography during my solo trips. There was no one else to capture the moments for me… and I had all the time I needed to play with my camera to find the perfect setting.
I was travelling on a budget
There was no one to tempt me with expenses that were not necessary! I’ve realised my budget was very low when I was travelling by myself, especially for food and accommodation. Of course, this point can be debated: many will say travelling as a group is cheaper. It depends on who you travel with!
Why did I stop travelling solo?
Well, that’s an easy question to answer, for once! It has nothing to do with safety, as some may have thought. If being safe as a woman while travelling alone is a worry for you, I suggest reading these travel safety tips so you’re more prepared than scared!
As cheesy as I might sound, I stopped travelling solo after meeting the perfect partner for my travels. I now always travel with him and a group of friends, or just as a couple.
We have the same style and envies; everything is easy. I don’t feel like I’m compromising when I’m making him happy. He is so curious that he will always start a conversation with locals or other travellers – a lot more than I would because I’m shy. I need less personal time when I’m with him. It’s more meaningful to share an experience with someone you love than with strangers you’ve just met. Luckily, having a very tight budget is not so much of a necessity anymore (although we still do cheap trips sleeping in the car so we can afford to travel every weekend!). Well, I guess this could be a new topic for an article… Why I love travelling as a couple! Click here for a quick peek at a featured story about Heron Island.
I’m not saying I will never travel solo again. Or never travel with friends only. I will look at these opportunities, but they are not my priority anymore. Now that we’ve met and that I had my solo experiences ticked, I prefer to share my experiences with him than being by myself. I’ve also made many friends who share my passion for travelling. Wherever I go, there is someone to visit or who wants to join!
What about you? What’s your experience of travelling solo? Did you like it? Leave a comment below!