There’s something about traveling alone that’s hard to explain. It’s a pretty unique way to see the world.
Generally, as people in an interconnected society, we grow up relying on others for assistance and waiting for or compromising with them. It harks back to the notion that individuals are powerful, but as a community, we are unstoppable.
But what about the experiences of someone going through a period of their life with no one to count on, no one to consider and no one to share with? Some would say it is the loneliest existence imaginable, but others would attest it is the only way to discover your true potential.
It’s true when you are travelling alone that you run on no one’s clock but your own. You get up, eat and explore when you want, you move to cities when you want, and you stay longer if you so please. You go out when you feel like it, go on all the tours you are interested in and spend time talking to the intriguing people.
You never have to consider what the other person wants to do, where they want to go, what and when they want to eat, whether they can afford your preferred tour or destination, their emotional state or their safety.
Sounds like a sweet deal, right?
While you do gain the freedom that comes with solo travel, you are also charged with its many burdens.
When you are alone, you really are alone. Sure, you’ll meet lots of great and interesting people along the way and some may join you for parts of your journey, but you are relying on you and only you.
This means no one is helping you with your luggage or watching your back in those crowded streets, no one is keeping you company at night, laughing at all the stories of the day together. No one is beside you when you turn around to share that amazing sunrise. No one is there to split the hotel room or taxi ride; no one will cook you dinner at the hostel; no one will comfort you when you are sick or help you when you lose your phone. You are really on your own.
So which is better? The answer is neither.
There are so many pros and cons that balance each other out between traveling with a best friend and travelling alone that each will return with their own amazing and wistful memories.
To be honest, I’ve done both numerous times, and I can’t say I regret or prefer either. Solo travel naturally opens your experience up to meeting new people and sharing stories a lot more. You are inherently more open to interacting with the locals because you have nothing else going on.
When travelling with a friend, you get the chance to get to know them that much better and share in some awesome times together. Also, the friend will generally push you to go much further than you would alone, banking on their experience and expanding your circles.
So what do you prefer?
How would you add to the pros and cons list?
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