Do you want to travel solo? Is it something you’ve been pondering for a while? If you’re nodding at the screen, chances are you’ve read countless blog posts and articles about why it’s a good idea. I agree; it’s the most fulfilling thing you can do for yourself, and the list of reasons why is endless.
Now, I’m not a seasoned solo traveller by any means – I’ve really only done a handful of trips alone. I used to travel quite a bit for work, but attending conferences and exhibitions and interviewing people about overfishing in the Atlantic, or political unrest in ports, isn’t quite the same!
I recently decided to go it alone in Singapore and, to most of my family and friends’ surprise, I had the best time. So I thought I’d share a few of my own reasons why you should travel solo using the wonderful words of my favourite author, Charles Bukowski.
“Do you hate people?”
“I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.”
Strange quote, I know. It’s actually one of my favourites because I can relate to it so much! Travelling solo means you’re not bound by anyone else’s schedule or likes and dislikes. It’s me, myself and I – and it’s bloody fantastic.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having a travel buddy (my boyfriend Ro makes a pretty good one!), but there’s a real sense of freedom that comes from truly being able to do your own thing without having to think, even for a second, about anyone else.
I’m more than comfortable with myself and a lot of the time, I actually prefer my own company to hoards of other people. And you might as well enjoy your own company whilst exploring a new city or country.
If spending time alone doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, just give it a go. You might surprise yourself. Plus, that’s what hostels are for. Well, that, and cheap accommodation!
“We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable.”
Throwing yourself out of your comfort zone means your world opens up to a whole host of new opportunities. We’re not built for comfort, and we’re definitely not created to have the same experience over and over.
You are a mould that is waiting to be reshaped, and that’s exactly what travelling does. Travel solo and you’ll find that your shape becomes even more malleable. Instead of it defining you, you can define it.
“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
They say travel broadens the mind, but really it stretches everything about you – even your waistline! If you want to really get to know yourself, you need to put yourself out there. Travelling solo does just that.
You might think you already know yourself – who you are, what you stand for and how you see the world. I know I did, but it’s not until you experience a new city, town or country alone that I think you truly begin to meet the real you. Sounds cliche, but I know I’ve surprised myself countless times with my reaction to new people from all walks of life and new surroundings where only a hot cup of tea resembles anything I was used to in the UK.
I’ve also changed my outlook on the world as a whole – I’ve learned things I never would have learned had I continued to sit at a desk 9-5 back in the UK. Luckily, I made the leap of faith and quit everything to move to Canada and haven’t looked back since.
“You have to die a few times before you can really
In other words (kind of), you need to experience as many things as possible before you can really start living your life to its fullest.
And what’s the best way to fill your life with different experiences? Travel! Travelling solo just means you’re likely to have more, I think.
In my limited experience, people tend to strike up conversations with solo travellers – the opportunities for collecting stories are unlimited!
On my recent trip to Singapore, I ate dinner with a 90-year-old Singaporean man who couldn’t speak much English; I learned how to eat delicious Indian curry with my hands in Little India; and had a 70-year-old man sing the British national anthem to me in the airport! Those things just wouldn’t have happened if I had been travelling with someone else.
So I urge you to try it, at least once. After all…
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” – Charles Bukowski