The Needy Solo Traveler – knowing when to travel solo.
He spotted me as I was standing in line to board the bus that would take us to the Ferry heading from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, Chile – the gateway to Patagonia.
I could tell that he spotted me and I also knew that I didn’t want his attention.
I was traveling solo and so was he. I found my seat and, unfortunately, the seat beside me was still available when he got on board. Sure enough, he sat down and started talking.
He was in his 7th month traveling solo. He had left his home frustrated by life, in search of life. And he wasn’t quite sure what that was. He was lonely. He needed companionship. He was needy.
The Wrong Time to Travel Solo
I was recently contacted by a young man who is homeless and wondering whether traveling solo, long term would be right for him and, if so, how he could make it happen. Wow. That’s a pretty heavy question to ask a travel blogger. What do I know of his life, his health, his family situation?
Thinking of this young man made me think of the man on the ferry and that there are times that are right to travel solo and times that are not. If you’re going short term, for a week or two. the issue isn’t so great. A couple of weeks of peace, to clear one’s head, is typically a good thing. Long term travel may be another story.
You Can’t Run Away from You
Long term travel requires more personal resources than short term. If you’re going through a phase when you are less sure of yourself than normal, if life is off kilter, it may not be the right time to go. While in most situations solo travel is confidence building, if you are actually trying to run away from your life issues, you may find that they follow you and compromise your ability to cope, never mind have fun.
Traveling long term requires the personal strength to be completely responsible for your own safety, to handle every decision to be made and navigate every logistical situation. It requires you to spend many hours – even days – on your own and to handle difficult times like getting sick. Clearly, traveling long term solo is better for those who are healthy physically and mentally.
The Right Time to Travel Solo
But all needn’t be perfect to travel solo long term. Such trips can change lives – for the better. They are great if you are:
- Confused and trying to figure out your next step after university.
- Struggling with a career crisis
- Getting over a lost love.
The point is, it’s the right time to travel solo long term if you are addressing an issue in your life. However, it may not be if you are addressing your life in general. Naturally, there will be exceptions to this but I do caution people from taking off on a long trip solo when their personal issues are high and resources are low.