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"So wait, you're going by yourself? On your own?"
That's one of the most frequent responses I'm met with when I reveal my solo travelling plans. I have encountered it so often, that as soon as their brows start to furrow in concern or I register the "Are you mad?" tone in their voices that I start off on my spiel about how I'm not going to be completely on my own as I'm going to a hostel, I will meet people there etc etc.
But you see, I well and truly love travelling on my todd (Gettit? Anyone? Oh come on...) Admittedly, I'm at times both selfish and stubborn so probably not the most compatible traits for travelling with other people therefore flyin' solo is the best option for me. I do of course enjoy travelling with friends and I'm sure/I hope I'm not always a nightmare travelling companion (I think it's mainly when hanger strikes) but my go-to method of choice is just me.
But even for the most selfless do-gooder, having a cheeky bit of me-time exploring every now and then only boosts your travels and it's nowhere near as lonely as many seem to think. Of course, travelling solo is not everyone's cup of tea and there are definite downsides as my patchy back tan will tell you - someone needs to invent a sun cream back applier (Actually I'm going to patent that...) - and there are moments albeit few and far in between, that will have you wishing for a familiar face.
But I digress, because this post is all about the beauty and the joy that is travelling all by yourself -cue renditions of Celine Dion. But on the contrary to Ms Dion, you will want to be by yourself travelling as...
It's your agenda and your agenda only
Want to sleep in and chill? Well sleep in and chill! Fancy going off white water rafting, then bungee jump, then go out partying until the sun rises? Go ahead! Don't like where you are? Go somewhere you do! Like where you are? Stay as long as you like!
Need I go on?
*CLICHÉ ALERT* It pushes you out of your comfort zone
I dropped the comfort zone bomb I know but it's so true. Whilst there may be times where you feel you potentially will lose control of all bodily functions, afterwards you will be able to glow with the satisfaction and happiness knowing you did it. Pushing yourself to break the routine and leave the comfort of familiar faces only leaves you more confident, more independent and especially for you young'uns, as a solo gap year alumni, more mature and capable to fly the nest after.
It forces you to meet more people
And you may even make friendships or even relationships that will have a long lifespan. Several of my good friends that I am still in touch with up to this day is all thanks to my travelling escapades by myself. And it all started with just one icebreaker or asking to join in or just simply saying yes.
It offers more spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment opportunities
A group of people is more intimidating than one person so as a solo traveller, you will find people are more willing to help, have invitations to people's cousin twice-removed party or even have people opening their doors to you. This of course works both ways as there are at negatives to this but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The beauty of travelling solo is the ability to come and go at the drop of a hat.
I could go on but I'm sure that the above reasons are enough for you to see that travelling with no plus one, no companion, no one but them self is the first step to an unforgettable journey. There are of course advantages to travelling with friends which I will no doubt write about in the future but for me, travelling solo is second to none and an experience everyone should try at least. So go on, give it a go!
Have you travelled alone? What's your preferred way to travel - solo or with friends/ a partner?