You’ve thought about it. You have the time. You have the money. But…
Surely it would be more fun to travel with a friend, right?
It’s pretty common to think about travel as a social activity that you need to share with someone else. Often we think it will somehow be easier, more fun, or safer with a friend.
I’m writing this post to say that that’s not necessarily the case. Here are some reasons why you should travel alone– if only once in your life:
4 Reasons to Travel Alone
1. To remember just how amazing you are
Too often when you travel you will find yourself doing something amazing– seeing famous places, meeting interesting people, or taking your first ever train ride, for example.
When you do these things with another person, you don’t tend feel like “you” did them– you feel like “we” did them.
When you travel alone, though, suddenly there is nobody else to give credit to when you manage to order lunch in Spanish or find your way back to your hotel at night. You’ll have to realize just how amazing you are.
2. To learn about your faults
Just as you will give yourself credit for the good things that happen during your trip, you will also have to recognize when bad things happen.
If you lose your hotel key while traveling alone, you can’t blame your companions– it’s all on you!
Accepting responsibility for your actions and learning to see your faults helps you to grow as a person. You’ll become more aware of your own limitations, and more comfortable with yourself as a person.
3. To discover your true interests
When you’re alone, it’s all up to you. Whether or not your friend wants see the modern art museum is completely irrelevant.
Should I stay and watch the funny mimes on the street, or head to the museum before it closes?
If you want to stay, you can! If you don’t, then don’t! My favorite moments are when I find myself trying to decide what to do next.
Should I go out for a drink or should I head back to the hotel early?
Normally there are other people involved when making these decisions. Even when we’re alone at home we tend to think about getting things done in the interest of others– sleeping early to not make your boss angry by being late, going to the museum because you told a friend that you would, etc.
When you travel alone, though, you’ll be forced to form your own preferences and opinions. As a result, you’ll come to more fully discover your true interests.
4. To meet the locals
If you’re traveling with others, it’s much more difficult to speak with the locals. You might be embarrassed to try speaking a foreign language in front of your friends, or just more focused on your own conversations than with striking up a dialogue with somebody new.
You can meet the most amazing, interesting people when you travel. And when you travel alone, you’ll be much more likely to approach a new person– or have a new person approach you.
Have you traveled alone? How did it go?
[Cover Photo: Sheep and shepherd on the border between Portugal and Spain.]