Forget the contiki tours, 2 week trips away with the boys (or girls) and seeing the world as a couple. You will learn more about yourself and become better for it if it’s just you and your trusty backpack to keep you company on the road.
OK so before you grab your pick axe’s and begin to beat me half to death proving why the above mentioned ways of travel are better hear me out because I already agree with you. There is no best way to travel… period. I’m talking more from a character building perspective.
Leaving everything behind to see a part of the world that is as foreign to you as the language, is at it’s hardest when you are doing it alone. You have no-one to lead you by the hand from place to place like a tour will, there are no mates for backup when you get lost and for the couples well boys there will be no girlfriend there to save your ass either.
Taking off to travel solo builds self-confidence which to me is something everybody needs in huge doses. Especially with a world that is constantly beating us down because we don’t look a certain way, have a certain education or act a way that the world perceives as correct.
I look back now and wish I’d thought of/been pushed into travelling after high school instead of now. I left Australia with what I thought was a fairly high confidence level. After two months travelling Europe I soon discovered that what I thought was high, really only filled up to my reserve tank level.
Be it the people you meet (both local and travellers), the places you visit or the things you do everything is off your own back and it forces you to grow as a person (this is a good thing people).
To tackle university or a job with that kind of experience under your belt would have been a major bonus to me. Not only because you get to make everyone jealous with your travel stories but because you have gone out there on your own and proved to yourself you can do it.
If you could navigate getting from foreign city to foreign city where you don’t speak the language and enjoy yourself without the usual support you get at home, then presenting yourself for that job interview should be a breeze. The feeling of having conquered something on your own is a major part of what drives me each day when I’m tackling a difficult task. I walk around with my head up because I know deep down inside that nothing is impossible if you try.
I don’t want to say you can’t do all of this as a couple or group travelling but there is that inherent feeling that you won’t talk to others because you have friends etc with you already or won’t push the envelope as far. I know personally I’d have stuck to my ways from home more had there been a friend with me while travelling. I wouldn’t have been pushed as hard or been as far from my comfort zone because there was always that safety net there.
To me solo travel was a shot in the arm that unleashed a better more confident person that was ready to tackle anything life had to throw at me. If you have travelled do you agree/disagree? I’d love to know what you think.