To take your friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, grab your backpack and start traveling the world seems like an extremely exciting concept for some people and a completely crazy one for others. To grab your backpack and begin a solo journey requires double the craziness, as solo backpacking isn’t made for everyone and it’s surely not the most hygienic trip you’ll take (remember my Trans-Siberian trip?) but it is definitely a great experience – an experience worth living as it completely changes you day by day, helping you constantly evolve through it.
Let me just explain you how…
- Going out of your comfort zone
Solo traveling is a deliberating experience but you shouldn’t be confused: it isn’t a relaxing or carefree one. At least not from the beginning as stepping out of your comfort zone means you’ll be away of your safety net: away from your everyday life, your friends and family. It’ll be you against the world. You against a foreign culture and language. It may sound horrifying but it is not.
On the contrary, traveling solo means you’ll have the chance to take more risks, be more ‘open’ as a person, socialize a lot more and above all, it will make you realise that the world is out there waiting for you to explore it!
2. Meeting new people
What do you mean why? Because as much as you love your freedom and loneliness, there will be moments that you’re gonna need to share a few words with someone else. When you’re traveling with friends, there is no chance you’ll seek the company of a stranger – you’ve got someone to talk to when you need them.
Traveling solo means you’ll socialize more and feel a lot more comfortable talking to people you don’t know, hanging out with them and sharing your thoughts and ideas with them. That is why a backpacker will choose a solo traveler to talk to instead of a group of 2 or more people – it’s like an unwritten rule.
3. Not having to settle for anyone
Wanna wake up at 7 am and go trekking in the mountain? You want to explore the city non-stop or make a coffee break every hour? Do you need some moments of relaxation away from your ever-complaining friends?
Surprise, surprise! You can do everything – or nothing at all – based on your own schedule and preferences. That is the essence of traveling solo: you’ll do anything you want and never have to settle. You’ll make your own plan for the day and choose whether you’ll follow it – or not.
4. Being yourself
When you’re traveling with friends or family, you’re “that guy/girl”. That person who has a certain behavior, a certain list of preferences and dislikes, a certain part to play inside that group of people, along with all your ‘baggage’ – meaning your responsibilities and obligations and everything that stresses you out. You’re just who you are back home just re-located. Ideally, that shouldn’t be happening.
Traveling alone offers you the chance to get rid of your old self and your burden in order to enjoy the trip and liberate yourself from everything stressful that keeps you back.
A solo traveler is completely ‘naked’. Naked of everything familiar, free to be who he wants to be. Traveling between strangers means you’re given the opportunity to express yourself without second thoughts. You’re just who you wanna be – no shyness, no restrictions. And the best part is that everyone else, accepts you like that. No one will care who you’re back home – all that matters is right here and right now. That exact moment – not the future nor the past.
5. Being more spontaneous
You’ve booked your ticket back but suddenly decide you’d like to spend a few days more on that place? You’re way out of budget and all you can do is couchsurfing? You fell for that Australian surfer and you decided you’ll follow him on an island instead of going to that city you’d planned to? Or did you meet a group of backpackers leaving for Patagonia and you wanna join them? I got news for you: you can! ‘Cause you’re alone and you can do whatever you want without asking or depending on anyone.
Last minute decisions are the best and noone will feel annoyed from a change of plans.
You know how’s this called? Freedom!
All of the above and many more – that I’m still figuring out – are the reasons why you should get yourself by the hand and take him on to the trip of its dreams without hesitating or waiting for anyone else to join.
It won’t be easy at first but trust me, you’ve got a lot to win by doing that. You’ll get in touch with yourself and your deepest needs, you’ll realise what you find fulfilling and dissapointing, what scares you the most and what gives you the strength to keep on going, who you miss and who doesn’t belong in your life anymore.
And of course, above all, you’ll have the chance to meet new people who, if you’re lucky enough, will share a lot more with than their facebook profile and phone number.
It’s a great thing to know that you have someone in every part of the world. Someone you share common memories with whether that is of a few moments or days and months.