Travelling is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Exploring exotic lands, discovering new things, and generally experiencing a change of scene is good for the mind and the soul. However, the one potential hitch is, funnily enough, deciding who to go with. Questions such as how many people, just girlfriends, guy friends as well, lovers/partners – and then there’s sharing vs. not sharing a room, hostel or hotel, compromising on destinations, activities, what airline to fly, blah blah blah. While this may seem like an exciting prospect, pretty soon tempers can fray, to the point where your relaxing escape has turned into one long tantrum before it’s even begun.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution; travel alone.
I mean it. There is such a stigma on gathering a group together to take on the world, but a solo hiatus is often the best thing for you. There are so many wonderful things in the world to do; wouldn’t you rather be accountable only to yourself while you do them? To experience the world on your own terms, without inhibitions? Here are the top 4 reasons why travelling alone is the way to go.
- It’s easier to pay attention
Walking through the streets of a strange city with your friends is always fun. You can chatter and marvel at the sights and sounds around you. That is, the sights and sounds you notice. While you were distracted by your buddy’s gruesome recount of the Tower of London’s torture chambers, you missed the homeless man selling peanuts to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. You missed the daffodils that line the streets of London in the early spring, and the squirrels that poke their adorable heads out from behind the plane trees. If you were meandering through the city accompanied only by your own thoughts and agenda, you would see things that are unique to a particular place, but not usually noticeable.
- Stay out as late as you want
So long as you play it safe, you can leave your hotel room for three days without returning if you feel like it and nobody will anxiously call you at three in the morning, demanding you return to hold back her hair as she vomits away her pre-hangover (yes, I’ve been on both ends of that). When you finally return at whatever odd hour you decide on, crash through as loudly and clumsily as you want. There’s nobody there to wake up angrily and throw a pillow at you (yep, been there too).
- Eat as much as you want
Not everybody has this problem, but I certainly get a severe case of stage fright when I eat out with other people. Maybe it’s the years I’ve spent in the dance world, but I never feel I can fully indulge in exotic food when other people are watching. I know I’m not alone in this. If you’re all by your one-sie, you can go to whatever decadent Spanish tapas bar you can find and eat your way from one side of the menu to the other. The only judgment you will face is from your empty bank account the next morning. Two, four, six, eight; bog in, don’t wait!
- You will make the wackiest friends
In my time travelling alone overseas, the weirdest, wackiest, best-est friends I made were the ones I ran into completely by chance when I had nothing to do. With them I shared some of the most interesting (and sometimes questionable) experiences I have ever had, and remain in contact with them now, even though we are separated by several time zones, oceans, and the odd language barrier. The whole point of travelling is to experience the people as well as the place. What better way to do that than being forced to make friends because you’re travelling without them?