When I talk about traveling alone, exploring the world on your own, I often hear people argue that it could be dangerous or terribly lonely. Solo traveling requires some guts and courage because you have to take care of yourself. You are totally dependent on yourself and should therefore be able to deal with mood swings properly. But is traveling alone really that lonely and dangerous?
Last year I made a solo trip to Eastern Europe. I’m from Western Europa and Eastern Europe is often put down as poor and dangerous. I bought an affordable InterRail ticket and traveled to Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria. Most people I spoke to before my departure were surprised to hear that I wanted to do this trip on my own without any friends or acquaintances. Why would you go solo on a trip if you have friends or acquaintances who love to go with you? Simply go together on such an adventure, that’s what people recommend the most.
Uncertainty, danger and loneliness
One of the biggest objections to traveling alone is loneliness. Can you handle to be all alone and is it not terribly scary? To be long times consecutively alone you need to be a kind of person that knows how to deal with being alone. The insecurity and risk that you run is only reserved for the real adventurous. Nonsense, of course!
Especially with choices where you get out of your cozy comfortable feeling of safety, it is good to just go for it. Throw yourself into a deep horrible uncomfortable feeling and learn about yourself. During periods where you’re alone and have less distraction than you normal have, you gonna learn abot yourself and where you stand for.
I love to travel alone. During these trips I have never felt really lonely. I’m not even a person that quickly opens a conversation with other foreign people. As a traveler you don’t have to because whether you’re traveling by car, train or bike, you’ll always find somebody who shows interest in you as a traveler. On the road this is just easier than in normal life you’ll soon find someone in the same situation as you, on his or her way traveling through countries and cities.
Go where you want to go
I think the biggest advantage of traveling alone is that you decide the trip. If you’d like to go tomorrow, you can. If I would like to go tomorrow with someone else, it would be a good possibility that I still can’t leave because I have to wait that other person. Especially during my micro adventures I enjoyed every moment in being alone. I can decide to go directly, I grab my bike and start pedaling immediately.
It might sound selfish, but if you really want to relax and get yourself you got to be going alone. You pack your stuff and just go, you are flexible, you make the rules. Whatever reasons there are you don’t choose to not go.
Learn about yourself in a good way
During my solo trip through Eastern Europe, I learned a lot about myself. I was completely focused on my surroundings. People on the train, people in the city, if I did not know anything, I’d asked. And someone helped me and it would turn out in a nice conversation. Sometimes it totally failed, and I stressed out and was not sure it went well. The right direction, the right choices? But suddenly I was talking to someone from America, and later someone from Switzerland. I’m quite an introvert and that’s even more when I’m traveling alone. I think this is fine once I learned to really take care of myself. It will be all right.
Starting a conversation with another traveler and making new friends can be really hard. Are you an introvert or extravert? But also planning your journey and booking hostels. Having a conversation in a language other than your native language. Making choices where you want to go. Whether or not learn to deal with mood swings. It’s a challenge right? Don’t panic just go for it, it will change your life!
A final tip for when you’re going by yourself on the road. Take a journal with you and write you’re your experiences. Every now and then I read back my experiences of the trips I’ve made. I experience it again and that causes a big smile on my face. Go traveling alone, do it! No one has ever regretted!
And remember don’t worry. Just go out there on your own!