There are many people roaming the world on their own; traveling solo and enjoying their trips on their own accord. I have met many of them before I started doing it on my own and it is one of the most peaceful and at the same time exciting adventures you can embark on.
A friend of mine enjoys going to bars alone and striking up conversations with strangers. I always found that to be odd but now that I think about it, I really enjoy traveling solo, and isn’t that just a very long bar trip? It’s not so odd after all, because traveling solo basically means enjoying your freedom, meeting new people in random places, getting to know yourself better and learning a lot of lessons in spontaneity.
Not to make a point against traveling with friends or family, but traveling on your own is a special experience, you are completely free. Yes, at home you can also decide what you do. We do have free will after all, but if you are in a foreign country, in a strange place, all that matters is what you want to do. You are absolutely free to do whatever you want. Backpacking includes a certain level of spontaneity when it comes to deciding your next move, very few travelers map out their journey from head to toe beforehand. Being able to decide at any point what to do, where to go, maybe to jump on a boat for an island-hopping trip, all of that gives you a sense of freedom and self-governance that our corporate world just doesn’t offer.
The first time I traveled around Thailand, for example, I went on an Andaman Coast Trip by myself and the freedom of spontaneously continuing my journey or deciding to hang around on an island is as refreshing as it is freeing. Torn between leaving Koh Lanta towards Phuket or towards the Phi Phi Islands, I decided to just take off to Koh Phi Phi and avoid the long journey to Phuket. It was all a spur of the moment decision, but since I could afford it time-wise, so I just went with what I felt like.
The feeling of freedom is just one part of the enjoyment of traveling solo. More than anything, you’ll get to meet awesome people!
Probably the most exciting part about traveling solo is all the awesome, like-minded people you will meet on the road. Who hasn’t joined a spontaneous game of beer pong in front of a slightly smelly dorm room in a hostel? Travelers on their own tend to get very communicative and make friends with mind-boggling efficiency. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a dorm room; bars, hostel hangout areas, buses, trains, there are travelers dotted all over the place and I can promise you, they are all up for a chat or even a mutual adventure.
Remember when you were a kid and you could just talk to another kid and decide you are now friends and will play again tomorrow? Have you tried doing that in your twenties or thirties? Not that easy anymore, is it? But somehow, when venturing around the globe, that old shtick works again!
Get to know yourself
In my opinion, being with yourself is a good thing and I think many people would agree. You rely on yourself, and you learn to trust yourself. It is personality- and confidence-building and very rewarding. It is a combination of the two points made prior, you are free and rely on yourself, but you also go out and meet a ton of new people. You will discover things about yourself that you didn’t know before, I promise.
Not sure what to do? Just pick something and go for it. Chances are you will have a great experience and meet cool people. If not, there will be something to remember and talk about regardless. If you don’t have every step along your journey laid out perfectly, then this is your chance to decide what to do on the spot! The world is literally your oyster and you can pick whatever pearl you want, so why be shy?
From the outside, it might seem weird or somewhat lonely, but it is far from that. You’ll meet people straight away and you’ll never really be alone if you don’t want to. It’s not that hard to do, the ingredients are always the same: research, plan, book and go!
If you need a bit of a nudge or some inspiration, there are digital solutions that help you find travel buddies based on your and their trips around the world. Apps such as PackitUp help you find interesting trips and inspiring people around the world. You can also create your own trips and get in touch with other travelers and find your next travel buddy!
As mentioned before, going to a bar alone or going on a journey alone is not weird. It’s a lot of fun and almost everyone I’ve met (including myself) who is doing it, can probably recommend it. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get traveling!