Many people travel for different reasons; a gap year before making a 4 year commitment to university, to take a career break to see what exactly it is one is missing, or even to find oneself. Some people go with a friend or two, or to go and visit someone in a faraway land, but not a lot of people throw on a backpack and set off for adventure alone. Travelling alone can be daunting, that is a fact, but there can also be nothing better than doing what you want, when you want to do it. A life of exploration alone may end up being full of selfies up the highest peaks in the world and dinners for one overlooking the ocean, but there are so many wonderful things about travelling alone and being a solo nomad.
1- Booking a ticket to leave in the next hour
If you are travelling in a group, making decisions can be difficult when taking into consideration everyone’s ideas and plans. One of the best things about being alone is making your own choices, and deciding that you want to change the route that you had originally planned. Maybe someone has told you about a dazzling deserted beach they came across, or a boat trip they took to an uninhabited island and you decide you would like to go, you can! As long as you reach the final destination to take your return flight (if you have one), the world is literally your oyster.
2- It is more than ok to say no to fellow travellers
Sometimes it is easy to feel as though you have to say yes to going to another lead up to the Full Moon Party, even if you would rather just have an early night to make the most of the next days’ beach tanning. If you travel alone, it is inevitable that you will meet people who may want to invite you out, or even start to travel with you. In this situation, it is definitely ok to say no. Not only do you not really know those people, but you were brave enough to travel alone, so you can be brave enough to continue alone. Sometimes, time alone is good for the soul.
3- You can be as spendthrift as you like! (or not, too!)
When travelling in a group or pair, there may be times where someone buys you a drink and you may need to buy a round in return. Not only do you end up spending more than intended, but you are a backpacker, and therefore on a budget. When travelling the world alone, you can spend a little bit of extra money taking that Thai cooking class you have always dreamed of doing, or going on that jet ski in the glistening mediterranean, if you budget in other places. Spend on things that make you feel good; after all, you are travelling for some you time.
4- You will come across an eclectic mix of more than enough people to last a lifetime
When staying in hostels, in South East Asia especially, you will come across so many differently cultured people from every single walk of life. Once you have met one person and had the introductory small talks that start the new friendships abroad, you will begin to see a pattern amongst travellers. Some display their personalities from the outside, (come on, you know the ones!) dressed in ‘cultural’ elephant-laden trousers with a rainbow of bangles growing further up the arms; some ‘I’ve never been travelling before and I want to fit in’ kind of people, who wear the most backpackery looking thing they have in one of their extra large suitcases and others who just simply came to explore the continent (you might have to look hard, but, yes! They exist!).
5- Having so much choice of freedom is actually quite difficult
Where to go tomorrow? What shall I do with my day? Which country will I be in next week?
An unlimited number of choices await you upon arrival in every single destination, so which do you choose? Choose something that makes you happy, that makes you learn, and something that you couldn’t do anywhere else. A key thing to remember whilst travelling is that this opportunity may not happen again, so make it count. With so many options, which thing do I do first? People spend their lives dreaming about the freedom that travelling brings, but once that time arrives, you want to do so much that there just literally aren’t enough hours in the day. If you want to do everything but also want to move on to the next country, choose the things that you won’t be able to do elsewhere. Arrrghh!! I can’t do any of them elsewhere! Who knew travelling was so stressful?! 🙂
6- It’s ok to quit
Some people dream of a life of adventure and exploring the worlds’ beauties, but it actually isn’t for everyone. You might arrive in a place you’ve always dreamed of, and may not have even anticipated experiencing homesickness, but it happens to us all. One should never feel like they have to do something that they don’t want to, and yes, people will automatically think that something has gone wrong, or something drastic has happened for you to suddenly be home, but the most important thing is that you took the risk and stepped outside of your comfort zone. If it isn’t the life for you, it’s time for the next chapter of a very large book called life.
If things don’t work out, at least you tried.
If you walk down a path and don’t like the road, try another route.
If you don’t take chances in life, you will never know.