People often ask me, “Tosh, why do you travel solo?“…”Aren’t you afraid?“…”Don’t you get bored?“…”Why are you such a loser and have no friends to go with?“
Just kidding on that last question, but seriously, I’d like to set the record straight and I’m not bullshitting you when I say, SOLO TRAVEL IS AWESOME!!
Sure, the first time I went away alone was kind of daunting, and there were definitely a few “oh shit” moments, nothing serious though *knocks on wood*. When you end up missing a connecting flight, or two…almost three due to short connecting times, weather etc (happened to me my first time solo to Norway), you learn A LOT about yourself and how to deal with situations that are entirely out of your control. You literally have nobody to bitch and moan and complain to, you have nobody helping you drag your luggage around, nobody to help navigate foreign streets, but you learn to deal with it, suck it up and figure it out. Usually, things work out and you realize, hey, I’m pretty good at this and it’s really fun! It’s a total confidence booster.
I’ve listed a few reasons below as to why I love travelling solo, and maybe, just MAYBE, you’ll be inspired to try it at least once!
Read more: What Solo Travel Has Taught Me
1. World of Discovery
You know that famous saying, “The World is your oyster“…It’s more like “The World is your classroom and its people are the teachers.” Ya, I just made that up now, pretty good huh? Seriously though, there is a plethora of things to learn while travelling solo and I know from experience that when I’m alone, I tend to pay more attention to the people around me and the sights around me, because it’s a lot easier to pay attention and concentrate and be more aware of your surroundings when you’re by yourself. I tend to ask more questions, or strike up a convo with a local to learn more about a historic building, their viewpoints, opinions and experiences as well.
2. Meet New People
I have so many stories of people I have met so randomly on trips. You can’t be afraid to strike up a convo with other people just because you are by yourself. They won’t bite, I promise, and if they do, well…that’s just messed up and you should run away and report them immediately, maybe even get a tetanus shot. Anyway, while in Norway, I was hanging around waiting for the funicular car to take me to the top of a nearby hiking trail and I heard a couple speaking English, so I just asked where they were from and if they are travelling anywhere else in the region. From that initial question, we ended up talking, taking photos for each other and chatted about our travels so far. We said our goodbyes and that was that. It was a short interaction, but like I said, don’t be afraid. That same day, I was walking around Bergen and met another solo traveller, a girl from South Korea who had the hardest time pronouncing my name. Pretty sure she kept calling me TORSH. Whatever, she was nice. We walked around for a bit, laughed, took photos and then hugged and said goodbye. In Germany, I saw a couple during a tour and noticed that the girl’s jacket looked familiar, turns out they were in line in front of me at Heathrow, lining up for the connecting flight to Munich! Small World! I ended up tapping her on the shoulder and telling her that I noticed her, I know, not creepy AT ALL. We ended up hanging out the entire day and took photos, chatted about travel and exchanged names, numbers and contact info. In Heidelberg, an older man struck up a convo with me as we both ate alone and we chatted for hours. We exchanged email addresses and to this day, I still email him and his wife to say hello and see what’s happening in Germany! These are interactions that, if I was with someone else, probably wouldn’t have happened, because most people tend to stick to their group of friends if they’re away. So, don’t be afraid to meet and talk to strangers, you’ll more than likely survive!
Read more: 5 Solo Travel Myths That Need To Be Debunked
3. Come & Go At Your Own Pace
Feel like taking a nap half way through the day? Want to saunter around the city centre all afternoon? Want to go visit a restaurant on the other side of town and people watch all day? Want to take a train out to a neighbouring city for an impromptu day trip? Solo travel allows you to do what you want, when you want! Not having to consult with with anyone else regarding plans allows you to make your own itinerary and stick to it, or not…it’s up to YOU!
4. Confidence & Independence Booster
Nothing says ballsy and confident like deciding to book a trip, booking the ticket and trekking through unfamiliar countries on your own. It’s an exhilarating feeling exploring an unknown country for the first time, and solo to boot. Having to rely on yourself to catch that plane or train, find the first hotel with a map and no WiFi, or battling a language barrier, which does happen here and there, makes you feel really accomplished and confident once you have succeeded through the first little ups and downs. It’s like a little light bulb goes off in your head and you think, “Hey, I can do this on my own, and actually get through things without help.” This is where point #2 comes into play again. Meeting and talking to strangers/locals in a foreign city is also a sign of building confidence. Even at home, I wouldn’t approach nearly as many people on the street and strike up a convo with them like I would abroad. It’s weird to say that, but it’s true.
So go ahead, gather that confidence, take a deep breath and book that solo trip. Get away from the everyday routine and familiarity of being around people, streets and restaurants you know. You’ll be glad you did…trust me!