Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Many people never go Solo Travelling and get to experience travelling alone. It’s not what “normal” people do. Which is a shame – for them. They’re really missing out on great things! Solo Travelling can be the greatest adventure, and it’ll for sure throw you into situations you would never end up in otherwise!
1. Meeting new friends
First of all, they’re missing out so many opportunities to meet new friends! That’s my favourite thing about Solo Travelling. I get tons of new friends, all around the world. People often say I’m crazy because I love travelling alone. But the truth is that you’re never really alone. Only the first couple of hours or maybe in the airport. As soon as you check in to a hostel, you’ll find some friends! I always choose a mixed dorm room so that I can get friends from both genders, which is way more fun.
I’ve met some truly inspirational people from all corners of the world. Australia, USA, Namibia, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, almost all countries in Europe – you name it! Because when you’re travelling around and stay at a hostel, many of these other people staying at the hostel is in the exact same situation as you. They might not know anyone either, but dammit then we’ll all get to know each other! Everyone travelling is open to meet new friends. If not, they wouldn’t have chosen to stay in a hostel! So don’t be scared about being alone, you’ll meet someone as soon as you step in the door.
Don’t be scared! Like the time I went to Morocco, I didn’t even know the guy I was travelling with! I just (for once) didn’t feel like going to a Muslim country alone. So I simply found someone who was willing to travel with me. We didn’t know each other before, but now we’re friends!
International friends have more fun! These are all girls I met at random coincidences, and now we’re the best of friends!
2. Taking responsibility
When you’re travelling alone (no matter how many friends you get along the way), you’re 100% responsible for yourself. You have to be able to take care of all the papers, the visas, the finance, and what else might come along the way.
When you’re standing alone in the airport and have lost your luggage for the second time in a couple of months, you need to be able to take care of it yourself. Your mum ain’t gonna be there for you. Of course there will most likely always be someone that you can ask, if you’re completely lost. But all in all, you have to take care of it yourself.
Same goes for when meeting these new friends. You’re responsible for being outgoing and do your part to make friends. Once you’ve made some friends, you might go out for a (crazy) night of partying. And then it can be your responsibility to drag their way-too-drunk asses home. Not everyone can handle the insanely cheap (€1!) buckets of Pub Street in Cambodia (I speak from experience). So no matter what, you learn a lot about responsibility in every way.
I went on a Solo Travel to Namibia to work with wild animals – like this sweet baboon
3. Getting out of your comfort zone
When travelling you never know what life might bring. Let alone if you’re Solo Travelling. Maybe you meet someone in the hostel, who has this crazy idea for a tour to the mountains, to another island or going flying on planes. And remember to grab these opportunities! They can be rare and will most likely end up with unforgettable memories and crazy stories! Like the one time you flew from Sydney to Cairns only to dive at Great Barrier Reef, or when you spontaneously meet a sweet guy and run away with him for the weekend. Meeting strangers can indeed result in you getting out of your comfort zone. Go ahead and do it. Have fun. That’s where the magic happens.
Yes, this is me. Piloting a plane. Scariest thing I’ve ever done! Much scarier than skydiving if you ask me
4. Being alone and enjoying it
I know I just said that you’re never really alone. But sometimes you really need it. When you’re out travelling for months at a time, where you’re always surrounded by other people, you really need some alone time.
So a thing I’ve gotten really good at while travelling, is to do stuff alone. Wether it’s walking all the way from Elizabeth Harbour to Circular Quay in Sydney, going to the movies or going to a restaurant alone. I will be the first one to admit that it wasn’t fun the first time. But you just have to be okay with it, and it’ll be okay.
The first time I went to the movies alone was in Sydney. I had just arrived at my hostel (I always stay at 790 on George Street Backpackers), and no one from our 6 person dorm was home (for once). I was exhausted, it was dark and rainy, and I just needed to relax. The wifi was not working at the time, so I figured I would just go to see a movie.
When I was standing in front, waiting for the movie to start, I felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me. Like “Who’s that weirdo, going to the movies all by herself”. But as soon as I sat down in the theatre, I could see that there was others, who were also alone. And as soon as the movie started I forgot all about being alone (I had my popcorn, that’s really all I need). So now I actually enjoy going by myself.
The same with going to a restaurant. I’d been out travelling for 2 months, and we were 8 girls trying to agree on where to eat dinner. I’ve always been quite set in my ways, and I just really craved Indian food. So after discussing for 20 minutes (as we did almost every night), simply said “I’m gonna go have Indian, anyone who wants, can join me. But I’m going”. And so I did. Alone. The girls thought I was mad at them or something, but I wasn’t. I just really wanted Indian food.
It was horrifying sitting at the restaurant alone. Especially because all the waiters kept asking me if I was okay. And I was. I truly enjoyed having some time for myself for the first time in months, and finally getting what I wanted, and when I wanted it.
That’s the beauty of being alone. You are in charge, and you don’t have to compromise with anyone else. Because of this, I actually prefer to be solo most of the time. Which leads us to the next point.
Nothing calms me like the ocean. I could sit here for hours alone
5. You get to do what you want
This is definitely one the best things about Solo Travelling. You chose what you want to do, when you want to do it, in what pace you want to do it. There’s no need to argue or discuss with anyone else. Find out what you want to do, what trip you want to go on, or where you want to go next – and just do it! Because when you’re Solo Travelling you’ll experience a whole new kind of freedom. Which is addictive! This is mainly why I like to travel alone. I get to do what I want, in any way that I want.
I also don’t need to wait for anyone else so safe up and decide if they actually wanna go. Have you also lost count of how many friends you’ve made small deals about going travelling with? And how many is actually gonna happen? Maybe not even half. There’s always something coming up, either studying or money, or something else. So the key to avoid this mess and disappointment of it not happening? Solo Travel!
Solo Travelling allows me to do what I want and when I want. I don’t have to wait for anyone else
6. Packing efficiently (solo packing)
Because nobody else can help you carry your shit! And you can say to someone “you carry this, and I’ll carry the other thing”. There’s no sharing, you’re alone on this. I’m still practising with packing lightly. I can when I want to though! The first time I was going on a long travel around the world, I packed so light, that out of all the travellers on that trip (with the exception of one guy), I had the lightest luggage! I was really proud of myself.
Admitted, I didn’t have any fancy clothes or anything nice with me. I had to buy a little top from a small tailer in Nha Trang in Vietnam, and later I got my mum to send me a shirt in New Zealand. Not that anyone cares when you’re at a backpacker bar. You can basically come in your pyjamas and people wouldn’t care. But it’s always nice to look nice, you know?
Anyway, I have tons of tips on how to pack efficient and save space. Maybe I’ll write another post about it at some point. But when you only have a backpack to have everything that you’re gonna use for the next couple of months, you really learn how to limit yourself. And pack really smart.
I never thought I could live in a bag pack – but turns out it’s no big deal!
7. You’ll get the coolest selfies
Because who else is gonna take all those photos of you? You can’t stop some stranger every time. Now it might sound like it sucks, but I swear you’ll get some selfies that are worth bragging about! Handheld or with a selfie stick, they’re gonna be awesome!
Is this the coolest selfie or what? Do I need to say more?
8. You’ll get so good at finding your way around
And even if you should get lost, it’ll be okay. When you’re solo, you’ll get so good to know your way around. You know many people have the tendency to just follow blind when they’re walking with someone else. They wouldn’t be able to tell you the way, even if they tried. Because they simply didn’t see it and didn’t have to. It happens a lot with my friends (and my mum – sorry mum). They just follow me because I always know the way, and then they have no idea where we are or where we came from. But if you’re Solo Travelling, you’re forced to know.
Trying to get a good outlook of Barcelona
9. You’ll really get to know yourself
Now, I’ve always thought this “get to know yourself”-thing is super weird. Like, if I don’t know myself, who the hell do I know then? Of course I know myself. And I still stand by this. But maybe it’s because I’ve always been one of those people, who truly rests in myself, and I’ve always known who I am.
I know a lot of people might not feel this way, but I promise you Solo Travelling will do that for you. It still has taught me a thing or two about myself, like how I am in certain situations, and especially in terms of what I’m really capable of. So even if you think you know yourself, Solo Travelling will undoubtedly teach a thing or two more!
I’ve always found more comfort in animals than in people. This is who I am. A crazy animal lover
10. The stories are yours alone
You will get stories, that you’re not sharing with any other person. Sure, sharing fun stories with your friends is fun – but it’s far more interesting to share your stories with your friends! And of course you’ll share some of the stories with friends, that you met while travelling. But then it’s one traveller friend in one story, and a couple of other traveller friends in other stories – from the same trip. So your story from your trip will be only yours, which will make it completely unique. You will get such amazing stories from Solo Travelling.
Walking the sweet cheetahs like they’re dogs. I also shared a sleeping bag with one!
If you haven’t considered Solo Travelling until now, I hope this blog post has inspired you a bit, and made you brave enough to take the leap. I myself got an even stronger urge to travel just by writing this post. I promise you – Solo Travel is where the magic happens!
Disclaimer: I wasn’t alone for any of these photos (with the exception of the selfie). I asked people, either friends I made along the way or strangers, to take a photo of me 😉