Are you the kind of person who would never ever go to a restaurant or the cinema alone and has to be surrounded by people all the time? Or are you the kind of person who needs to introvert in your room to recharge and enjoy solitude a bit too much? I am the latter, more of an extroverted introvert. You might be wondering where this is going, just keep reading.
I don’t remember when my first solo travel was, but I just know I prefer travelling on my own (well, maybe until I find an adventurous soulmate who would do all the crazy stuff with me). I’ve only travelled with friends on a couple trips; it was fun but we had to compromise and it involved lots of planning (pain). There is also the possibility of ruining your friendship when you travel with even your best friends – I’m not kidding! I, am going to persuade you to travel. solo. For at least once, please, in your life, even if the idea scares the shit out of you. Or maybe you’re just uncertain and needed a push. But be careful, cuz it’s addictive.
Travelling solo is challenging. I hope you have a good sense of direction or could at least read a map, okay don’t fret, there’s something called Google Map – it’ll be your best friend. When you are in a foreign place on your own, it could be exciting or terrifying. There is no one to depend on, you have to figure everything out by yourself: how to get from the airport to city centre when you can’t read the bus schedule, which platform is your train departing from that’s leaving in 8 minutes and the most important, what to order. My advice? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask the waiter what he/she would recommend. Ask the guy in the uniform who looks really bored to take a look at your ticket and direct you to where you need to be. Ask someone who looks like a local how to get to that secret lookout which is not on the map. You’d be surprised how helpful people are.
Travelling solo is not caring. This is my favourite thing about travelling solo! You don’t have to wait for your friend to get ready. You can sleep in and no one would say a thing. You can walk as much as you want without someone complaining that their feet hurt. You can eat whatever and whenever you like. You can stay as long as you want in that art museum. You can read in bed and not go clubbing. Basically, you get to do whatever you want. No compromising. No arguing. Just you (and your book).
Travelling solo is looking inside yourself. It’s a self-discovering journey. You learn so much about yourself, what you like and dislike. You test your limit; you’d be impressed by yourself at the end of each trip and feel like you’ve accomplished something. I often see “travel solo” on lists like “10 things you should do before turning 30” – it’s cliché, but I highly recommend doing it. 😉
Travelling solo is opening yourself up. I always stay in hostels because it’s cheap and I get to meet people alike and make new friends. This is when my extroverted self takes over. Pluck up the courage to talk to the person next to you, ask them how long are they staying, where are they from, where’s next, what have they seen/done or simply what are they drinking. The more you do it, the less awkward it’ll make you feel and it’ll get easier, trust me. I love talking with people from different culture and learn new things. I met a German police officer in Lagos, he was telling me about China lol When I click with someone, I’d suggest to explore the city together or meet for dinner the next day. You never really travel alone. The world is full of friends waiting to get to know you. 🙂
I can go on forever but I think I’ll stop here. Of course there are downsides, for instance no one to share food with, which means you can’t order a lot or try many different dishes/snacks cuz you can only eat that much. Safety’s another issue. Luckily, I haven’t had any bad experience travelling alone so far cuz I’m always very cautious. I might write another entry about how to travel safely, especially for women. That’s it for now. I hope you’re thinking about doing it! Do it. Do it. Do it.