Here is an article I wrote for the company, Globe Of Love. The article highlights the freedom behind flying solo and the rewarding attributes it brings, emphasizing to the reader how more people should try it. This company is an online magazine that provides inspiration and positive messages around the globe for everyone.
Travelling around the world and embracing new cultures, people, lifestyles, places, faces, languages and food is an immersive experience and one that I am in love with. You get the opportunity to see and understand how other people you may not cross paths with, live their lives, which for me, being an inquisitive person towards all people and places, is always an interesting insight. The first time I travelled alone I was 18, travelling around New Zealand. Yes it was daunting at first. Yes it was terrifying at times. But it’s exhilarating. I love the thrill of being dropped in an area completely unbeknown to me, and discovering everything about it and the country it’s in. It led me to travel a few months later to Vietnam by myself. And three years later, now, when none of my friends can afford to travel or everyone is in full time employment, I do not let traveling solo hold back my urges to see parts of the world I want to see.
When travelling with other people, you share moments with friends in places doing strange things you can have a giggle about in years to come (Do you remember that time we saw that ping pong show in Bangkok?-will definitely be one of those moments for me and my friend) which brings you much closer than ever before. Travelling really tests friendships for a variety of reasons: because you share 21 hour bus journeys together with no air conditioning, hike volcanoes together, lose each other, look after each other and explore together, and through this, the friends I have travelled with are now friends for life. However, I am lucky with the people I have travelled with. I have had no experiences of arguments or anger, whilst unfortunately I’ve heard from friends who have. They didn’t enjoy their trip because they spent the whole time pleasing the other person with what that person wanted to do and see or even act, which in some cases, leads to friendships crumbling entirely. The same case can be made with relationships. I met a woman in New Zealand who had broken up with her boyfriend whilst travelling in Australia together and he had flown to South America, and her to New Zealand, complete opposite ends of the world but carrying on travelling, just alone.
Whilst travelling with organised tours can also be fantastic, its hassle free, organised and easy. But you get no freedom of flexibility which you do when travelling alone, as I personally see travelling as an adventure. I like to choose where I want to go by other travellers opinions, to go with the flow and get lost in a city, whilst an organised tour to me, is sort of like cheating in travelling. The closest thing I have come to any travelling experience being organised, was when my best friend and I went travelling around Australia for four months. We booked all our internal flights in advance, 2 weeks in every state. Unfortunately some places had more things to do than others, for instance learning to surf in Byron Bay was heaven compared to feeding fish in Darwin- and yes that was a tourist attraction, meaning we spent more money adapting our travel schedule and losing precious time in certain places.
A common misconception that people think of those who travel alone is that they will feel lonely. Throughout my entirety of travels, specifically whilst travelling alone, not once has this been the case. When travelling with someone else, people don’t find you as approachable as if travelling by yourself. Whilst when you are alone, you make the effort to strike up a conversation with everyone and anyone. Last summer I went on a mini break with a few of my mates to Madrid. They got stuck in Barcelona for longer than anticipated and so I went out with people from our hostel. My friends arrived at some ridiculous time in the morning when I was getting home from the night out. They were amused by the fact that the whole hostel knew my name and my dance moves. Why? Because when you’re travelling on your own, everyone is as happy to meet you as you are to meet them.
A great thing about travelling alone is that you do what you want when you want. You get to see what you want to see at your own pace. During my travels I have shared so many moments with people from all over the world who live different and extraordinary lives and I’ve learnt and grown individually much more than I would ever have expected through any daytime job.
One moment I will always remember is hiking the Tongario Crossing which is 20 kilometres in Taupo, North New Zealand. I got on the bus at 5am and sat on an empty seat next to a girl. I soon found out she was an 18 year old German girl who was travelling alone as well around New Zealand, but hitchhiking (she had more guts than me I was on an anytime hop on hop off bus meaning an incredibly flexible tour bus) and we hiked the entire crossing together chatting non-stop for six hours. I can’t remember what she did or what her name is, but I will always remember doing that trek with her and enjoying it.
However, travelling alone with no friend, partner or organised tour, does terrify a majority of people. Safety and security is the first issue raised by family members, friends and the public. My mum is constantly worried about my safety whilst I am travelling, which is completely understandable. But the world is a big and dangerous place, and your safety could be jeopardized anywhere in the world- not just abroad. I try and hold a responsible attitude wherever I am whether in my home town, any major city, or abroad.
If you want to go somewhere, don’t let worries hold you back, just go. You will soon see that there is no need to worry, just unfold your wings and fly; you will never regret making that decision. I haven’t.