Why I (Mostly) Travel Solo (Part 2)

When I started drafting a post explaining how I came to adopt solo travels, I never expected to have THAT MUCH to wrote… so I thought that I would break it in 2 parts, to make it an easier read!
(In case you missed the 1st part of this post, you can FIND IT HERE.)


So here are more reasons why I chose to travel by myself, following last week’s post on the subject…

Live & Learn
On top of being a great opportunity to spend some “me time”, I also like to occasionally challenge myself… Gastronomical dares (I ate tripes TWICE since I started backpacking!), hoping to manage in a language I barely speak or understand (that poor Mexican kid who couldn’t figure out why I wanted a blender, when I thought I was asking for a smoothie!) or physical challenges (in my case, mostly hiking).

tarantula
Petting wild tarentulas in Guatemala…

Because I’m alone, I can only count on myself to interact with the locals, figure out the customs and avoid cultural faux pas. I also have to go towards other people when I need something or simply when I feel like socializing.  Not that I don’t speak to anyone when I have a companion, but naturally, I tend to mostly turn to my travel buddy for questions or to share my thoughts and I don’t “need” to go towards other people as much.  All the new anecdotes and acquaintances resulting from these experiences are as many great souvenirs that wouldn’t necessarily be if I had a travel companion.

How many times have I caught on some French guys chatting and with whom I have bonded over our common language (and our different accents, which was a great source of teasing and laughter). French and Quebecers often pretend they can’t stand each other, but in the “backpackers circle”, I have rarely met French people that weren’t nice to me. (These 4 dudes below are quite hard to beat, shall I add.)

frenchbuddies
Jonathan, Guillaume, Sébastien & Anthony – I had great times with these 4 Frenchmen from Nancy that I met in Peru…!

The Dark Side of the Force…
Just like traveling with other people, being alone has its drawbacks. It can be more expensive for accommodations (which explains why I am so fond of hostels and similar budgets hotels), for example. Being part of a group can also lower the cost of some day trips (the “single person” rate is often more expensive and some tour companies won’t guarantee an excursion unless they have a minimum number of participants to it, which can be tricky in low season).

medications-257346_640

As a solo traveler, I am also responsible of my own security and health. When I got sick in India, back in 2012, I was truly relieved that my friend was there to get me some food and meds. (I often wonder what would have happened without her!) It can be a bit tiring to be the sole person responsible of your safety, but as I mentioned in my other post, making the difference between fear and danger will give your mind some rest at least.

I was really scammed only once, after 7 years and 15 countries.
I lost $44 after buying a ticket for a bus… that didn’t exist.

Traveling alone is for everyone…
…  but not everyone is cut out for solo travel. It is the traveler’s duty to figure out if leaving alone is a safe and enjoyable possibility, after careful consideration of his/her own strengths and weaknesses. An open and resourceful mind will always remain the best travel companion, whether you’re alone, with someone else or in a group!


Are you convinced? Still have doubts?
Feel free to express yourself and ask your questions in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Why I (Mostly) Travel Solo (Part 2)

  • March 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm
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    Just found your site ———– this entry was a fabulous read. Traveled with a tour group recently, but am feeling that pull to ‘GO.’
    Looking forward to more reading.
    Have a backpack picked out and am working on stocking a few things.
    One question, hiking shoes. Your favorite, why?

    Reply
    • March 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm
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      Hey Joni, welcome to your traveling community!
      I used Merrell hiking boots and Keen hiking shoes and I have been satisfied with both.
      Merrell boots were very light, even the waterproof model I had.
      If you have bad/weak ankles like me, mid-hight/boots covering the ankle are probably best, though the right hiking/multi terrain shoes will offer quite decent support too.
      Boots tend to be warmer, if you tend to sweat or if you hate getting warm feet.
      Considering my weight – which puts extra strain and can shorten the light of shoes – Keen was tougher than Merrell.
      Finally, it could be worth it to invest in a podiatrist appointment and insoles (if you have problematic feet) for your shoes. In my case, it CHANGED MY LIFE! 🙂
      Hope that answers your question! Let me know if you need clarifications!

      Reply
      • March 15, 2017 at 9:04 am
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        Thank you Edith!
        I had been looking at Keen, saw some good comments about the toe box, and support. I was hoping that translated in to a good sturdy hiker for us plus sized gals.
        And thanks for the tip about the podiatrist too – have a few of those pesky foot issues myself.

        Not gonna stop me!

        Reply
        • March 15, 2017 at 11:13 am
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          You are welcome… that’s my duty, as a blogger 😉 If you find a specific model that does a good job, feel free to let us know here! (I own a pair of Keen “Koven”, by the way…)

          Reply

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