When I started drafting a post explaining why I travel solo, I never expected to have THAT MUCH to write… so I thought that I would break it into 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 this week’s first 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!). Physical challenges (in my case, mostly hiking).
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 feel like socializing. Not that I don’t speak to anyone when I have a companion… But naturally, I tend to turn to my travel buddy for questions or to share my thoughts. I don’t feel the “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.
Dear French backpackers…
How many times have I caught on some French guys chatting and with whom I have bonded over our common language? (Our different accents and expressions always end up being 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.)
The Dark Side of the Force…
Just like traveling with other people, being alone has its drawbacks. It can be very expensive for accommodations. (Which explains why I am so fond of hostels and similar budgets hotels.) Being part of a group can lower the cost of some day trips. (The “single person” rate is often more expensive. Some tour companies won’t guarantee an excursion unless they have a minimum number of participants, which can be tricky in low season).
As a solo traveler, I am also responsible for 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 for your safety. As I mentioned in my other post, knowing the difference between fear and danger will give your mind some rest.
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. It’s all about a careful consideration of his/her own strengths and weaknesses. An open and resourceful mind will always remain the best travel companion. That applies whether you’re alone, with someone else or in a group!