I wanted to write a post in regards to my latest trip through Europe. For the past two years all my journeys were solo ones, I loved the freedom of being able to pack my bag on any given day without any consultation and just leave for a new city or country. However I also lacked the companionship and even cost efficiency of traveling with another person. There were moments when I would have given anything to have one of my loved ones share a moment with me halfway across the world.
On my journey through the Balkans a dear friend who lives in Italy joined me and it was such an enjoyable experience to travel with a like minded soul that it reminded me of how nice it is to travel with others.
So I want to write about the pros and cons of traveling solo, it is a highly enriching experience and should be tried at least once in your life but you should be aware of the problems that can arise while on your own. I believe that we are social creatures and are meant to share our lives with other humans but I also think that we sometimes need to get the confidence of doing things without a support network, and lets face it we are never really alone are we?
Traveling Solo Pros
We have full control of our journey, we get the self confidence that only comes when we do things on our own, we open ourselves up more to new experiences and people, become more social and more aware of our surroundings. We learn to be alone with our thoughts, trust our instincts and take pleasure in solitude.
Traveling solo Cons
Loneliness is a real thing, there is nobody to share a moment with or support you after that 10 hour bus ride that dumped you off in the middle of nowhere. Safety can be an issue as you don’t have someone to watch your bags or walk with you down a deserted alley. Prices are also more high if you are booking a room in a small village as you have noone to split the costs with. Depending on your mental state being alone with your thoughts can be detrimental.
If you want to travel but can’t find anyone who is able to go with you then one option to get you started is to take a group tour. It’s a good way to try something alone but at the same time have the support of a tour leader and others to spend time with. Personally, having done a group tour, I would highly recommend doing something alone afterwards once the initial tour is over as traveling in a group is a very different experience from real backpacking and it is important to not become disillusioned with the drop off and pick up approach to seeing a country.
To summarize I would say that given the right travel companion traveling with a friend can be much more enjoyable than travelling alone, but I feel that I learned allot more about myself as a person by traveling solo. I pushed my boundaries and forced myself to overcome fears and insecurities. The difficult times in life reveal your inner strength and it’s a priceless lesson.