When I talk to people about my latest travelling plans, the most common reaction I receive is: You’re going on your own?!
Planning and executing even the simplest of international trips may seem like a daunting and perhaps fear-inducing task. However, it may also be one of the most liberating adventures you can take, and I want to share with you the benefits of setting off solo!
1. YOU decide what you are going to do.
You, and you alone, are in change of your itinerary. You get to be 100% selfish because you don’t have to think about anyone else. You only have to visit the places, and take part in the activities that YOU want to. No compromises.
2. You can change your mind as often as you’d like.
So you booked onto a free city walking tour before you left, but now you’ve arrived you’d rather just explore on your own…That’s okay! Planned on spending three days in town before moving to the next hostel, but now you want to stay another night? Go for it! No-one will know (or care!) if you spontaneously change your mind!
3. You can be whoever you want to be.
One of my favourite travel quotes features in the footer on the bottom of my blog theme: “When you’re travelling, you are what you are right there and then…No yesterdays on the road.” Travelling on your own means that there is no-one there that knows you’re terrified of the ocean, or don’t eat seafood, or are scared of heights or…anything! You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself every time you meet someone new, and the opportunity to try something that would normally terrify you. Try on some different personalities just for fun – who cares, no-one knows you here! For me personally, Travelling Caitlin likes to break a few more rules than England Caitlin!
4. You’ll make friends really, really easily.
When I travel with a friend, or group of friends, I spend all my time with them and tend not to venture much into the social life of the hostel/bar etc. You’re much more likely to talk to other people if you’re travelling solo — especially if those people are on their own as well. You never know – that could even result in a new travel buddy, free transportation to the next town, or a complete change of itinerary (see #2!)!
5. You develop independence.
Trying to navigate an international bus terminal, in a foreign language or alphabet, during a 10 minute bus connection and coming out the other side will show you just how independent you can be. This will transfer into your life back home – eating in a restaurant alone won’t seem so weird or lonely anymore.
6. It is a massive confidence boost.
Surviving to tell the tale of your independent travelling adventures will boost your confidence in your normal day-to-day life. You won’t be so nervous to meet new people, to try something new, or to speak your mind.
These are just six of the reasons I like…in fact prefer to travel alone.
I will follow this up with a post about tips for safety, and women’s safety in particular for solo travel so keep an eye out for that!