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.
Great article and comments! I have never had the luxury of traveling alone because me and myself are always tagging along! 🙂 Most of the time we get along fine, but sometimes we argue and have to comprimise. Granted it’s not for everyone but I think everyone should do it at least once in their life. Unfortunately, I think some who would benefit most from it are least likely to do it.
That is truly an inspiring blog for the non-solo travellers, and I have decided to do a solo trip to Kuala Lumpur this December. I am sure it would be really fun…also, as you pointed…the best thing about being solo is doing what you want and making friends on the way. I signed-up with this new platform to connect with co-travelers called http://www.mingletrips.com Its very easy, and presently they’ve a lot of travelers for Malaysia.
Wow! You’ve made me decide that I WILL travel alone if I have to. I will no longer wait for my irresponsible sister. I’ll book my ticket ASAP. Thanks for sharing your experience!
You are absolutely right! I felt the same way as you did. I know I have only try once on solo traveling to a place where I don’t understand the language and that experience made me what to do it again and again and again! It’s so exciting and it makes us feel being part of this wonderful earth that we live in. I think everyone should try it! Like it or not, you’ll never know if you don’t try it. For me, I need more doze on traveling on my own (big smile)
When will you be coming to America?
I’m 66 yo Australian female and I’m going to Canada in August for virtually my first trip overseas (a fortnight in New Zealand with my sister and her husband doesn’t really count). I’m going alone and travelling around on my own by train and Greyhound bus through British Columbia and Alberta. There’s some family history in Alberta and the Kermode bear – the Spirit Bear in BC. My bases for further exploration are Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Calgary. I have pre-booked all my accommodation and rail travel. At my age I don’t want to stay in hostel dorms or on a bench in a railway station!
I feel alternately excited and nervous but have decided that it’s all an adventure and when I try to plan any more I get depressed.
I am good on my own and I’ve checked out where the local internet/cyber cafes are near where I’m staying. e.g. there’s a great cafe in Prince Rupert – i mean great food, coffee and computers. Just got to remember to take along a list of my internet passwords.
I’m thinking of writing a wordpress blog for my trip and include what has worked and what hasn’t for others planning a similar adventure.
it requires lots of guts to do solo travel, maybe for men it is easier, for more women it would be quite a challenge. I prefer traveling in pairs, so that I have a friend to look out for me when I am lost or need some help with carrying the luggage. But on hindsight, solo traveling does forces one to make a conscious effort to speak and know the locals to make new friends (instead of just chatting with your travel buddy).
If you could please email me, I’ve some fan-based questions for you.
Im traveling solo in europe fed 2013, and im actually shit scared! im not one to really do a lot of thigns on my own. lets hope ill last and not fly back home early.
I read this post over and over and over again before I backpacked around Europe by myself. I was soo nervous and scared I couldn’t sleep but this blog gave me hope! And after being back for only 2 months I’l be heading off again … SOLO!! I had soo much fun and I totally agree with everything you have to say! After my experience I have told many people you have not traveled unless you traveled by yourself!! Keep up with the good work your awesome!!
So 28 yr old – going through one of those saturn returns , so I’m told lol
Never left Australia and had a brain wave to travel to Europe in May 2013 . I have never done a single thing on my own , ppl in my life to date are rather involved . However reading this article has given me some confidence and reassurance that I haven’t gone mad , well for tonight anyway . This may be the dumbest or best thing I will ever do , but the fact that I decided to do it and do it alone – that makes all the difference.
Good post about traveling solo! I traveled solo in Asia for 10 months. I was shitting my pants when I passed the gate at the airport in Holland to fly to Bangkok. Now almost 2 years later I am still traveling solo and I love it. I learned so much about myself! Traveling solo is, besides seeing beautiful countries, also a great inner journey. You will discover so much about yourself.
Great blog btw! I’ll keep following it! I’ll mention your post in my article about 10 reasons to travel solo!
Great read T.A.N and from a fellow Aussie as well. I am currently planning two weeks solo in India for next year and looking at experiences like yours, even though I will miss the companionship of others, continues to reinforce my decision.
I am female and started solo travel at 60. I had so many places still to see and waiting for someone to go with, it would never have happened. I had the first bit planned so felt confident. So many people talked to me, shared interesting places. Just sitting having coffee, someone hears your accent and they start a conversation. I had people give me their spare tickets to events. One tip is to research how to get from airport to hotel without being ripped off. Take local transport everywhere, walk, ask when you don’t know. I have found the huge majority of people over the world are helpful, even through language barriers. Don’t wait, just do it.
Great post, I never thought of travelling solo in this perspective until I read your post. I am a young student studying at university and have never thought of the confidence you could receive from travelling solo. Your post has opened up mind so travelling by myself as I would love to gain the confidence when I start applying for jobs after the completion of my degree. However, I do think its good to travel with at least one person so you can always have someone to relive and share the memories with after.
I’ve just come back from a Europe trip myself, did 3 weeks in Poland visiting the family, and 2 weeks hopping around. It was an amazing experience pushing my comfort zone, every time I’ve jumped off an another country not knowing what to expect. The thing I’m wondering is how to keep that growth going following the vacation. Any ideas on how to push oneself for further growth at home? Or is this more of a personal diagnosis?
Hi Razz, keeping the excitement of overseas travel going when you come home is a challenging one for sure. I’ve recently moved back to Australia and maybe its just because I’ve been gone so long but I find that I look at everything differently now. What was once a town 60km away is now the place with that historic building or cool walking path.
To then take it further for your personal growth I’d look at treating a weekend away as you did travelling Europe. Ignore the fact your are the local and look at is as being a tourist. For me its all about the way you perceive what you are doing, if you can adjust that then the skies the limit.