It may sound selfish: if we feel so good in the company of other people, why would anyone want to go on a trip without them? People who prefer to travel alone do not feel offended. Instead, they say that having to make compromises when on a trip is almost blasphemous. They also say it’s a way to save time, make friends, and grow as a person.
Here are all the reasons why you should travel alone, it’s great.
Why You Should Travel Alone
1. The logistics are simplified
Getting from point A to point B is probably what takes the most energy when traveling. Travelling alone allows you to take the last seat on a sold plane, to have a place in a crowded bus, or traveling with a motorcycle taxi instead of taking a tuktuk. It also allows you to avoid negotiating with your travel companions before having to negotiate with the autorickshaw driver!
2. You meet many people
When traveling with friends, you remain with friends. When traveling as a couple, you do not automatically talk to the person at the bar sitting alone to ask where he/she comes from. And when you’re in your home city, conversations are more difficult to create. Montreal is cold, and the people are even colder.
When you travel alone, a simple “hello” can turn into a million words. We love those moments where other travelers, or people who live in the place we visit, are also alone in a public place. The conversations are so easy to start, people look forward to talk to strangers and in places where travelers are visible minorities, conversations develop naturally. You are free to decide if you want to sustain them!
3. You’re not accountable to anyone
You don’t like when you’re told what to do? Travel alone.
When you’re travelling alone, you do everything you like and nothing you don’t like. And you never have to endure the complaints of others!
It is possible to have a specific plan, to know exactly where we’re going to avoid some of the tourist attractions at expense of others and it gives you the freedom to choose to travel with a certain budget, big or small, whatever that means.
It also allows you do the exact opposite if you feel like it: to have no plan, let chance guide you, glean information from everywhere, or even stop completely and do nothing for a week if you must! Some prefer to travel as if it were a race: at full speed, two days here, two days there, and assiduously follow a check list of attractions. Others prefer to stay in one place and taste the local flavors. Some also prefer big cities, while others want to see the countryside.
When you’re on a trip alone… there isn’t any negotiation. Come on!
4. Immeasurable feeling of freedom
Traveling alone has the power to bring together two seemingly irreconcilable things: the feeling of having infinite power over its own destiny (see # 2), and the feeling of being smaller – and meaningless – an ant on this immense ball that is our planet. And these two sensations, one of greatness and one of smallness, serve to remind the solo traveler that the freedom he has is infinite. A man only has power over his own will. And life is hanging by a thread.
5. No group pressure
Group dynamics always includes its share of challenges. Is there going to be a leader and followers? Is it necessary to discuss each decision until everyone agree? Will there be someone who refuses to cooperate but never suggests solutions to problems? Instead, will there be a single inflexible person who will want to make all of the decisions?
And then, when a decision is finally made and the plan fails, will the resentment of others facing the plan organizer make him a reject for the rest of the trip?
When traveling alone, there is no stress, no pressure. The plan fails? Too bad, go to the next one. Want to stay in bed this morning? No need to fear what your companions think. Short on money? Eat a piece of bread and ham bought at the supermarket without feeling ashamed.
There is no drama. There are no crises, no debates, no grudges. In fact, can we say that people who travel alone tend not to worry about what people think of them? See number 6 …
6. Dealing with your insecurities
For sure, traveling alone can be an opportunity to face your insecurities. Many people – especially people who have a great social life at home – base many of their actions on the possible reaction of people affected by them. When traveling alone, the only person who is affected by each of the actions is that of the traveler. The opinions of friends no longer count.
For other people, it may be difficult to get out of their shell and talk to others. Travelling alone allows you to force yourself to face this discomfort.
Be careful, though: reducing your insecurities and accepting your flaws may shock those who stayed at home.
So getting out of your “comfort zone” necessarily means that you learn more about yourself. Which brings us to number 7 …
7. Travelling alone strengthens personal growth (and makes you become amateur philosopher)
When you travel solo and you made a mistake, you can not blame anyone but yourself. You are therefore forced to learn from your mistakes.
In this hypersocialised world – social media, online dating, etc. – some people are afraid of being alone, afraid of facing themselves, afraid of silence. Travelling alone allows us to grow and to accept the silence, to accept that it is part of life, and sometimes even appreciate its true value.
As a solo traveler, we must also strive to chat with strangers. Find things you have in common with them – that helps to make friendships and it’s a good lesson that you have to do the same at home.
Many people who know what they do not want, but do not know what they really want. When traveling alone, the feeling of joy – or nervousness, or disgust – is increased tenfold, since it can not be shared. When we are solo, we learn to take the initiative to move toward what makes us comfortable, rather than simply reject or accept what comes to us.
He who travels solo often founds himself out of his comfort zone, allowing him to learn more about his behavior in a certain situation. He will know how to react when he’s thrown out of his comfort zone back home.
The value of money takes on another dimension when you’re on a trip alone. If there is no peer pressure to go out every night or eating out constantly, will we make the right decisions?
Self-confidence is something that can be difficult to achieve. However, knowledge – and acceptance – of self is a source of personal dignity. Travel allows you to understand and accept your own limits, which leads to confidence. And this truth is tenfold when traveling solo.
Compassion is a subject that can seem taboo. Travel, especially in poorer countries, is forcing us to confront human misery and have more direct feeling with it.
Being grateful for what we acquired and to those who have given us everything, our parents among others, is a difficult task for some. Traveling alone is forcing us to be humble, leading us to recognize the efforts other people have made for our little happiness and finally to get out of the immaturity of those who think anything is permitted.
This is not an easy task, traveling solo. Good luck!