10 Reasons You Should Travel Alone

This is far from an original idea for a blog, I must have read well over 20 similar articles just before I decided to travel despite the fact my friend couldn’t come with me, but that’s exactly why I wanted to write it. The pure number of these articles convinced me to give solo traveling a go, so nearly a year later I’m going to add one more to the ever-growing list of lists online.

  1. You never have to compromise. Probably my favourite reason, because it is so true. I’m sure traveling with friends is great fun sometimes but what about when you decide you love Ecuador and want to stay an extra couple of weeks and they aren’t keen and want to head to Peru a couple of weeks early? Having to compromise on every step of your trip means you do things you don’t want to do and miss out of things you do.
  2. You can work on ticking off your bucket list. About this time last year I got chatting to an elderly lady on a train home from London and when she learned I was 21, she said the thing she wished she’d done at 21 was write a bucket list, I already had but suddenly it became much more serious to me. Traveling alone is the perfect time to work on making, or ticking off yours.
  3. You are so much more approachable. I noticed this a lot on my trip, although I predominantly travelled alone, I spent a couple of months in the middle of my trip traveling with a French guy, Thomas. When we were staying in hostels no one approached us, and on greyhounds we just chatted to each other, this wasn’t a conscious decision but when you are with someone you know a little about you are going to slip into the familiarity of their company, however much you tell yourself you won’t. And wherever you are, you aren’t going to be approached by as many people, if at all, you don’t invite people to come say hi.
  4. You will learn about yourself. Having the time to reflect and process which comes with solo traveling means you learn so much about yourself in such a short amount of time. Having to put yourself in new situations and step out of your comfort zone are the times throughout our lives which really define us, and traveling is a constant procession of these one after another.
  5. You’ll take more photos. (see photo at the end for exhibit A). The 2 months I spent traveling with Thomas I took considerable less photos than the 6 months I spent alone. Some of my favourite photos were taken when I felt a bit lonely or didn’t know what to do with myself so I reached for my camera for comfort. You can also spend an hour trying to get that perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge without someone hurrying you, and then not have to wait for your friend to take photos of something you really don’t care about.
  6. It’s cheaper. You can take the last bed at the really cheap hostel you heard great reviews about and be squeezed onto that amazing tour into the Amazon which is nearly booked up. Not to mention the people who are going to be more willing to host a single traveler, or offer you a ride.
  7. No judgement. Your best friend knows you better than you know yourself right? More reason to not take them. Being able to be whatever version of yourself you want is one of the more liberating part of traveling, and one I remember discussing with other solo travellers often. It gives you a chance to try out the difference sides to your personality you don’t always show back home, and no one around you knows any different.
  8. You can be more flexible. Sadly I don’t mean you will be able to touch your toes without bending your knees. But I’d argue this is better, when I met Thomas our original plans meant we would be in the same place for one week then go separate ways, because we were both traveling alone we changed our plans and ended continuing to change them until Thomas flew home two months later, and I got to meet a new best friend that I wouldn’t of if either of us had decided to stick to plan A. Flexibility is definitely a travellers best friend.
  9. You’ll actually write in the journal you told yourself you would. Probably 80% of solo travels I met kept a journal and 5% of travellers travelling with others did. It is easy to see why, fall asleep reliving your day with your best friend across the hostel room, or sit and write it down? I know which I chose to do when I had the choice but I am incredibly grateful for the nights I only had my journal to write in because those memories and feelings I wrote down will now last years, and I’ve already forgotten most of the conversations.
  10.  It is so so empowering. I am yet to experience a moment more terrifying than when I got on the plane at Heathrow, I felt physically sick for the whole 19hours of traveling and it was horrible. But after I had landed it started to fade and then I wasn’t scared at all and preceded to have the most amazing 8 months of my life. You become the best version of yourself and come home with added confidence and knowledge of the world. I wish I knew the perfect words to explain just how amazing your trip will be so I could convince every single person to take one. Honestly, you will have the time of your life and not regret a second.

If you are reading this and considering any travelling trip, solo or not, I can not encourage you enough to go, the self-growth and memories will last long after you return and you will have the time of your life! And if you are terrified about going alone and sitting up the night before your flight regretting the decision and feeling physically debilitated with fear, I was you 12 months ago and it took every once of courage for me to not chicken out and I don’t know enough adjectives to tell you know grateful I am that I didn’t.

As always I’d love to hear reasons you love to travel alone, or if you think it’s better to travel in a group or really any opinions on anything travel related.

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On a beautiful forest walk I took by myself on Denman Island, BC, Canada.
Shot on 35mm film with my trusty Canon EOS SLR.

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