Sometimes You've Gotta Go Solo
People often ask me what it’s like to travel by myself. They worry that it’s lonely, awkward, or hard. I’ve found that these fears above most other things are what keep people from embarking on their own adventures, and really learning to explore the way they want to. This is especially true for women, who have to worry about the added cultural implications and safety issues of being on their own.
While traveling with a friend or a group can be incredibly fun, I have found that traveling by myself is one of the most rewarding experiences I can have. I’ve felt all of the fears that my friends and family worry about, and they come back almost any time I set out on my own. But as soon as I’m in the car, or the plane, or the train all of these thoughts completely evaporate.
Traveling on your own can lead to incredible experiences. It allows you to take time to really figure out what you want, not what fits someone else’s idea of a good trip. Sometimes when I travel on my own I go sight seeing, or I wander around the town where I’m staying to see what its like. Sometimes I just scope out an awesome coffee shop and read a book. And that’s totally fine! Traveling on your own is about figuring out what you want out of each moment, and what will make it memorable for you.
Nighttime can sometimes offer its own challenges, especially when you want to go out on Friday or Saturday night and don’t have a pack to travel with. I’m definitely a people-person and I want to experience the places I go both in the daylight and under the light of street lamps. But there is an easy remedy to the aloneness! The absolute best way to meet a group of people and have a good time is to go to a backpacker’s hostel. I have yet to find a city that doesn’t have a designated meet up spot like this, and they’re always pretty easy to scope out online!
Lots of hostels will have a bar or game room in a common space, and this offers a great spot for guests and other traveling stragglers to come meet, hangout, and go out together. The people I have met at the bars in these hostels are some of the most interesting, friendliest, and most fun people I’ve ever spent time with. There is almost always a handful of other people traveling on their own, and everyone is always looking to make new friends – after all, you don’t go to a hostel to get a good night’s sleep!
During the day, these same backpacker or youth hostels will often organize excursions for groups to do an activity together. I’ve done everything from pub crawls, to canyoning, and site seeing, to hiking with hostel groups and I always have an absolutely awesome time! Sometimes it can be tough to want to get out of your comfort zone and meet people, but just remember – you all already have something in common to break the ice. You’re out in the world, exploring it! Plus, nothing will bond you faster than sharing a crazy experience in a new country.
So to all my hostel friends reading this, thank you for always making me feel welcome and loved! Every one of my trips has been better because you were in it. And for all the backpacker hostels I haven’t been to yet, -- don’t worry, I’m coming for you! I’ll meet you at the bar ;)
For those of you thinking about traveling on your own, go do it!! It is wonderful, and exciting, and teaches you so much about yourself. If you need a little boost to go strike out on your own, contact me and I’ll be happy to tell you more about my experiences!