“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
Let me be frank – it’s not for everyone. But it’s totally worth finding out if it’s for you. Waking up in an unfamiliar place, amidst unfamiliar people can definitely be unnerving but that’s precisely what makes it so intoxicating! It’s hard to go. You will often feel frightened and lonely. But it is also an unforgettable and soul-smashingly beautiful experience!
My first solo travel experience was not a matter of choice. The couple of weeks I got off from work to travel weren’t seeming quite enough. So a friend and I decided to quit our jobs to be able to travel for a few months. Very promptly, I had the difficult conversation with the boss and put in my papers. My friend on the other hand got a promotion. She couldn’t join me for more than a couple of weeks! I was in a fix – I did not want to shorten the plan and the thought of going alone frightened me. I dreaded never being able to break a conversation with a stranger and getting extremely lonely. After a lot of contemplation, I decided to set out on my own. And I must say, that has to have been one of the best decisions of my life!
I realized that solo travel makes you a better traveler. People tend to be most perceptive when they are out of their comfort zone. They observe and feel a lot more, making the journey more meaningful. They absorb the cultural nuances of a place better. A greater effort is made to interact with strangers thereby leading to a lot more of those beautiful serendipitous encounters.
You also meet and get to know some incredibly interesting people. Spending time with locals, helps you get under the skin of the place and enriches your traveling experience. And exploring with other travelers you meet along the way sometimes takes you beyond the place that you have physically traveled to. Over time, these conversations and encounters with some beautiful strangers have inspired me like nothing else has.
Another reason I love solo travel is the fact that you get to just go with the flow. Your days plan can completely depend on who you meet, what you see and what you feel like doing. You can do everything you want to and nothing you don’t want to. While traveling in a group, everyone tends to have a different preference that you have to accommodate. There are no such pressures when you travel solo.
There are so many reasons I have grown to enjoy traveling by myself. But the most important of them all has to be that feeling of freedom, independence and liberation that comes with it. The freedom to set the pace of your own journey. The freedom from judgements and opinions that society abounds with. A freedom stays with you forever!
Well, these are some of the reasons I enjoy traveling by myself. And you?
Travelling alone for the first time? Here are some tips that might come in handy.