When I first told people I was going to travel through South-East Asia alone, they were shocked.
A lot of people told me that while they thought that it was great that I was doing it, solo travel was something that they could never see themselves doing.
Now, while I’ll be the first to admit that it does take guts to embark on your first solo adventure, I firmly believe that everybody should travel alone at least once in their lifetimes, and here’s why:
1. You Will Meet More People
This may sound strange in an article about why you should travel alone but hear me out. When you travel with people, whether it be a partner or group of friends, you won’t tend to befriend as many people as you do when you travel alone. It can be tempting, when you’re travelling with a group, to choose more private accommodation (such as a bungalow over a dorm in a backpacker hostel) and do everything together, as a group, but by isolating yourselves in this way, you miss out on making great connections with some incredible people.
As a solo traveller, it is so easy to meet people, and every hostel has a whole new group of interesting people just waiting to get to know you.
2. The World Will Not Seem as Scary
When you’re used to travelling with groups of people, it can be easy to depend on them, and to panic at the thought of having to do anything by yourself. However, as soon as you begin to travel alone, you realise that the world isn’t as difficult or intimidating as you first imagined! It’s actually very easy to get from A to B, and there are always people along the way who are willing to help you out if you get stuck!
The world really isn’t as dangerous as you think, and whenever I travel alone, I’m always surrounded by people who are trying to help me out! In fact, I always seem to be on the receiving end of random acts of kindness, from the woman who gave me her spare coat when I was freezing in Ukraine, to the hostel receptionist who gave me a free lift to the airport when my taxi didn’t turn up in Bali!
3. You Can Travel the Way YOU Want to Travel
Perhaps the biggest reason why you should travel alone is that you can travel exactly the way you want to. You can wake up as early (or late!) as you want, you get to choose exactly how long you stay in each place, you have complete say over which accommodation you opt for and there is nobody around to force you to hike up a volcano when all you want to do is go and get a full-body massage!
While it’s certainly important to try new things when you travel, you should be trying them for YOU and nobody else. If you’re taking the time (and money!) to travel, then you should be able to do it exactly the way you want.
4. Your Confidence Will Grow
Whether it’s getting used to approaching strangers, having to be responsible for all your valuables (because nobody else is there to nag you) or becoming accustomed to eating in restaurants alone, you will find that your confidence will sky-rocket when you travel alone.
It’s all too easy when travelling in a group to rely on other people. You get lost somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, where none of you speak the language, and everybody is arguing over who has to be the one to approach the scary looking woman to ask for directions.
‘You ask her!’
‘No, you ask her!!’
I’m guilty of it myself. We all are. But when you travel alone, you have no choice but to depend on yourself, and think for yourself, and so you quickly learn to trust in your ability to fend for yourself.
5. You Begin to Figure Yourself Out
Now I don’t want to say that travelling alone makes you ‘find yourself’ because honestly, most people aren’t lost to begin with, and also, it’s so cliche. However, for a lot of people, solo travel can really help them to enjoy their own company and figure out what it is they actually enjoy doing.
For example, before I travelled, I used to think that all I wanted was a huge friendship group who would never leave me alone. I envied people like my ex boyfriend, who always had about six of his mates in his living room playing Fifa, or whatever it is that twenty-something guys do when they’re alone together. I thought that it was a bad reflection on me if I didn’t constantly have an army of people around me.
However, when I was on the island of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, I actually found that I didn’t like that way of living after all! For the 10 days that I was there, I stayed in a super sociable hostel, and while I loved everyone to bits, I often found myself sneaking off to a different beach to have some alone time.
So there we have it – 5 reasons that I think that everybody should travel alone at least once!
What are your thoughts? Do you like to travel alone, or do you hate it? Do you think that solo travel is okay but that travelling with friends is more fun? Why? Let me know in the comments below!