But, I laugh them off because I have secret insights as to the many perks of traveling alone that my fearful acquaintances don't understand. Here are a few:
- I'm accountable to no one. If I want to sleep in to have breakfast in bed or if I want to sit on a beach watching the sunrise--it's my decision alone. I don't have to explain it to anyone. I am tied to no one's agenda but my own. Now that's freedom!
- Easily meet new friends from all over the world. There's something about being solo on a trip that makes people want to include me in their conversations. Perhaps they find it odd that I'm alone or maybe I just have that non-threatening look about me that allows people to strike up an easy conversation. Whenever and wherever I travel, I'm not alone all the time. People at the bar or on excursions are quick to ask me to join them for dinner or meet them at the beach. The best thing about this is that I have connections from all over the globe--and I get to choose my company and how long I stay with them. I'm never 'stuck' in an uncomfortable situation.
- Speaking of uncomfortable situations, have you ever traveled with a friend you thought would be fun on a trip only to realize once you're on vacation that they whine about everything? But you're stuck with them--trapped in the role of 'travel buddy' when all they want to do is complain about the food, the weather, the people, the heat, the cold--you know the type. As a solo traveler, you have the power to control your own experience at all times! If there is ever a situation where someone is making you uneasy, it's much easier to part ways with a stranger than with a friend you need to see back home.
- Flexibility is another perk. If I'm disappointed about where I'm staying or the destination itself, it's much easier as a solo traveler to change plans on the fly.
- But what about eating alone? (This seems to really freak some people out--I hear this question all the time) Umm...it's never once bothered me. Yes, depending on the country, there is a strange reaction to a woman showing up for dinner alone at times, but that's on them not me. If I am sitting in a coastal town with a table overlooking the ocean, believe me when I say I am fine with not needing to make small talk or entertain someone else. If this is an issue for you, grab take out and head to your room or find a place in a park somewhere to have an impromptu picnic. There are solutions to this relatively minor situation.
Solo travel is empowering on many levels. Not only do you have the freedoms I mentioned above, but you come to connect with yourself on a much deeper level. You gain confidence about what you're able to do on your own, which only strengthens your independence.
Don't let being solo stop you from having the adventures you dream of. Even if you're not single but your significant other doesn't want to travel somewhere, go alone and embrace your individual power.
When I was only twenty-one, I headed out on my first solo travel adventure around the world. It scared me at first--perhaps intimidated would be a better word? But soon I learned some life lessons that have stayed with me for twenty years--people are innately good all over the globe whether we speak the same language or not and you get what you put out there so always be kind.
Go forth and have a good time. Life is short. Don't let a silly thing like being single ever stop you from enjoying this beautiful planet we call Earth.
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