I’m writing this post on my flight to Panama City (and posting it a little late…) It feels a little weird to be boarding this flight alone. When I left New Zealand I had completely different plans, although Panama was the end goal. In the past four months, my life has done a complete 360, but I’m learning to roll with the punches.
Over the years I’ve traveled with lots of different people; friends, friends I met on the road, boyfriends, my little sister and, of course, solo. Right now I’m really missing traveling with my fellow travel blogger Stacey from OneTravelsFar as we just ‘got each other’ and it was really easy. Plus, it is really great traveling with a former travel agent.
Despite missing her awesome company (and that of many of my friends) there are things I LOVE about traveling solo. The truth is, when I do travel solo I am rarely by myself, except for during transit. Even then, you are only as alone as you want to be.
Not convinced of the benefits of traveling solo? Check out the reasons that I love to wing it alone
1) You Don’t Have to Compromise
Want to stay in bed until 11am and then have ice cream for breakfast? When you’re traveling solo you don’t have to justify it to anyone. Compromising sucks, especially when you have a limited time in an area. Couple that with someone who doesn’t want to do the same stuff as you BUT doesn’t want to be alone, ugh, nightmare!
2) You Can Be Whoever You Want to Be
While I love all my friends dearly, there’s something extremely refreshing about turning up to a new location with a bunch of people who know nothing about you. While I haven’t made up any elaborate stories about myself (yet) it’s nice being able to choose what you reveal and don’t reveal.
3) You Have More Local Experiences
When you’re traveling in a couple and too busy sucking each other’s face off next to the Effiel tower or too busy arguing with your sister on the sidewalk, there’s not much room to meet local people. You probably scare them off, actually. When I’m alone I tend to interact a lot more with the world around me – including the people. Traveling alone is much better for my photography.
4) You Grow a Lot
There’s something both daunting and exhilarating about turning up to an airport alone, with no one waiting for you. It can be scary in the sense “it’s all on you” to make everything work out: getting to your accommodation, ordering something edible in a foreign language and making the most of your time there. While not everyone will get stabbed like I did, crap happens on the road that can be much harder to deal with than if you were at home, surrounded by loving friends and family. Having the support of a friend with you when something goes pear shape is nice, but there’s a real sense of growth to be found in dealing with it alone.
5) Anything’s Possible
I feel there’s a lot more freedom with traveling solo. Don’t like a place, move on. Don’t like a group of people, move on. It’s a little bit harder to ditch your travel buddies if they’re long time friends or partners… My favourite way to travel is on one way flights solo, spending short segments of my trip traveling with others.
Do you prefer to travel solo, with your partner or with friends? Have you travelled solo? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.