Why I Travel Solo
Welcome to guest blogger, Andy Hayes. Andy is a professional writer, published author, and probably not
as introverted as he’d have you think. He’s the editor of Sharing Travel Experiences, an online magazine that
shares rich and authentic travel stories, whether they’re solo travel or not. Click over and check it out –
maybe you’ll find the inspiration you’ve been looking for.
There’s an awful lot of talk about whether one should travel solo or not. Sure – there are issues like safety, security, and your own physical health that influence a decision like that. But the bottom line is only one person can make that decision: YOU. I’m not going to tell you whether it’s right or wrong to travel solo, and nor can the next person. What I can do is tell you a bit about why I mostly travel solo. I hope it leads you to some internal thought and possibly a better idea of what kind of travel is best for you.
Travel Solo to Reflect. Maybe it is because I’m a writer or perhaps I’m a bit of an introvert. (Those of you that know me, stop rolling your eyes!) No, really, when I travel I like to soak up the experience. Notice the details. Feel something – the sounds, the taste, the smell. As a solo traveler, you can give your undivided attention to the experience. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy myself or the destination with another person – just to say that when I’m alone, it maximizes the potential for personal reflection.
Travel Solo for Flexibility. I am location independent so my businesses come with me while I travel – that’s what enables me to travel a lot. So I need to be a tad flexible; if a client is having a major issue, I like to be able to take a timeout and solve it so I can move on without having that on the back of my mind. Plus if say it is rainy, I can choose to spend the day holed up in a café instead of out in the thick of it, without having to negotiate it with someone else.
Travel Solo to Go All the Way. Sometimes I like to do stuff a little towards the edge of the box. And I find it hard to find a travel companion who’s in for the ride. (Ok, there are one or two I know – hi if that’s you!) For example, when I was in Fox Village in rural New Zealand there was a problem with my luggage. It’s a very long story but the thing was I didn’t have any proper shoes, just sandals. But I had planned on seeing sunrise on mirror lake the next day. It was going to be the only sunny morning so I had to go. Alarm clock at 4:30AM, 3 miles on a bicycle [no lights], and then a trek through the woods using my mobile phone as a guide [yeah, I know – no luggage]. Oh, and did I mention it was absolutely freezing and I had on sandals? And the mosquitoes? Anyway – that sunrise was priceless. Truly priceless.
Travel Solo to Understand Uncomfortableness. Ok, so I know that isn’t really a word, but it’s about being uncomfortable, so let’s get started, shall we? I’m a worrier by nature, and add introvert on top of that and I’d probably be happy in the corner of a coffee shop with dim lighting or maybe a padded cell would be better. But solo travel forces me to do all the uncomfortable stuff, because there isn’t anybody else to do it. Eating dinner alone, navigating complicated train stations, forcing conversation in foreign tongues – that stuff is hard even when you’ve got a teamwork thing going on. But solo? Yeah, it’s mildly terrifying. But it builds confidence, builds character, and makes you a better person. So lean into the uncomfortableness and roll with it.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like to download the
FREE ebook: GLAD YOU’RE NOT HERE: a solo traveler’s manifesto.