As an adult, I’ve always travelled alone. Sometimes wanderlust is greater than waiting for friends to be equally optimistic about making plans and going somewhere. Rather than sitting around, I grabbed my bags and set off.
It sounds intimidating at first – you’re unsure of what you’re going to do, where you’re going to go and what dangers lurk nearby. And just like everything else in this short lifetime, there’s the good and the bad to this as well.
1. You get to do what you want to do
Do you remember the time you travelled with your parents and you wanted to visit that museum of vintage cars, but they didn’t let you because it wasn’t on the tour itinerary? Now that you’re a lone adult, you can tailor your trip to the way you want it. Whether it’s sticking to a strict schedule like a princess on tour or walking on to a labyrinth of streets and getting lost in the mood, the day is yours, and what you see or do is your story.
2. You make new friends
Not always true, but meeting new people inevitably happens. Whether it’s the caretaker of the lodge you’re staying at who’s curious about your country or fellow travellers you meet on the way. Being wary of strangers who want to take advantage of your acquaintance is part of the equation. It’s all a part of your intuition.
3. "Me Time" becomes an adventure
At home your "me time" might be binge watching your favourite TV show or texting cuties on Tindr, but while on the road, your "me time" is what you want to do ‘now’ and what experiences you’re going to discover. Whether it’s exploring the grand forts of Rajasthan and learning what happened on the exact spot you’re standing on or trekking across the hills, you don’t need something man-made for visual or emotional stimulation.
4. It will boost your confidence
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the same applies here. My vegetarian friends survived Japan without the knowledge of what "Konnichiwa" means but it made them feel confident enough to plan another trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Even if your travel scrapes are embarrassing, it teaches you a lesson on what you did wrong and what the local culture is like. If you could survive a place that no one ever goes, you can visit any part of the globe.
The Cons of Travelling Alone
1. You feel kind of lonely
Despite how liberating it is to finally do something on your own, you miss the company of someone who would have enjoyed that destination with you. There’s no one to talk to about your experiences and your thoughts are often confined to your own mind.
2. You are the target of tourist scams
Alone and ignorant, scammers are always coming up with new ways to trap tourists in their nasty schemes. Their easiest targets are often single travellers who look a little lost and intimidated in a new environment.
3. Sometimes a book, MP3 player or the internet isn’t enough
If your trip is long you probably won’t hear your voice for quite a bit. In Japan, I was pretty much silent, unless I had to ask for directions or say thank you after someone offered a gesture of kindness.
Even though you get keep yourself preoccupied with a book or a device with a screen, you will crave conversation with a human soul, once unread messages on WhatsApp no longer appear.
4. You wonder if you have actually travelled
Have you actually made memories or did you just go to different places and click pictures of them?