I have been on the road for just over 3 years now and the large majority of that traveling was done on my own. I have joined up with groups and met some friends for trips along the way, but in the main I have wandered the world on my own, and absolutely loved it. Many people ask me what it is like to travel alone and I wanted to give you a ‘warts and all’ run down of my experience so far. General speaking, I absolutely love traveling alone but it is not without its challenges. If you are looking to hit the road on your own this year, here is what you can expect.
The biggest benefit of traveling alone is the freedom to go wherever you want and do whatever you want, whenever you want. Traveling alone means that you don’t need to respect someone else’s wishes, you don’t need to go on a trip which you don’t want to and you can stay or go whenever the wind takes you. This freedom can only be afforded to solo travelers no matter who you might go away with.
One of the few times that I miss traveling with someone is when I see something amazing on the road, something which happens quite frequently. I remember when I reached the summit of Mount Fuji after getting up in the middle of the night to start the ascent, the walk went pretty well and I didn’t really feel alone. When I finally hit the summit however and took in that view, I would have given my right arm to turn around to a friend or a family member and share it with them. There isn’t much that I don’t like about solo travel but there are those moments when I would love to share it with someone else.
A fact that you cannot get away from when you are traveling alone is that you do not feel as safe as you do when traveling in a group. I am speaking of course about just a handful of countries as the majority of them I have felt safe both alone and in a group. I must mention that I have only been genuinely scared once or twice and what I am referring to is more the thinking that you need to be on your toes, rather than actually being frightened. Be smart and you’ll be just fine.
This sort of alludes to what I was talking about in the first section, making decisions without having to consult anyone. I have traveled with vegans, vegetarians and people who hate certain foods which has always made finding somewhere to eat a bit of a challenge. When you are traveling alone however you can eat whatever you want at any time that you want and you won’t get into any arguments or discussions with the others in your group. It may not sound like much but it is a benefit of solo travel that I absolutely love.