Travelling is something I’ve always done. My first road trip, I was 2 or 3 months old. My parents are avid travellers and passed on the travel bug as we grew up. They took us all over Canada, as far as Alaska and Yukon, to Cuba and France. The first trip I did without my parents was a 2 week trip around Spain with my high school. The year after? I went to Mexico City with a girlfriend to visit some friends and the next year I did an exchange in Germany with my university.
Though those trips were without my family, I had never totally travelled solo until Thailand. After that, I’ve never looked back. The truth is, I went to Thailand by myself because well, no one wanted to or could afford to spend a month’s vacation. So I made the decision of going alone. I was terrified. I was going to be alone in a country I knew nothing about and whose language I didn’t speak. But I wanted to go, so I did.
Being Alone, but not really.
The thing with backpacking solo is that although you’re travelling by yourself, you will never ever be truly alone, unless you really want to be. You meet people everywhere you go, and honestly, half the time you’ll be so busy exploring and discovering new things to even care who you’re with. You never know! Asking someone to take a picture for you maybe just start a great friendship! Plus now with the internet, you have to choose to be alone and disconnect completely.
Sometimes, though, it really is nice to be alone in your thoughts. You can learn a lot about yourself but spending a bit of time with yourself.
Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want.
That’s part of the beauty of solo travel. You can go anywhere, anytime and though it would be nice to share some moments with friends or significant others, you don’t have to compromise on anything. You can make last minute decisions, and even join another group of travellers if it strikes your fancy.
You learn to appreciate the small things.
A friendly smile in the subway, writing postcards home, a bit of rain on a hot day, a beautiful sunset on the beach, or watching an electrical storm from the rooftop of your hotel. I know these are all things you can appreciate with others, but when you travel solo, these are the moments you live for. The memories that become like little secrets. Maybe you didn’t capture them on camera, but they’ll stay in your mind forever.
Travelling alone isn’t always easy. Things do wrong, flights are cancelled, you get robbed, you get lost, you miss the comfort of your own bed, or maybe you get hurt. In the end, it’s not the bad things that you’ll remember, but the fact that you overcame all of these and managed to have an exciting trip anyway. After a month of sunburns, language barriers, uncomfortable hostel beds and extreme heat, I was pretty damn proud of myself for all I accomplished. I gained so much confidence from this trip, from being able to say “I did all this, by myself, and almost without a hitch!” It definitely makes you feel like you can do anything
At first, travelling solo can be scary. Sometimes, you just need a moment of courage, and trust me, you won’t regret a minute of it.