A lot of people look at me funny when they hear I actually PREFER to travel alone. It’s not because I have no friends 😉 It’s just that I find the pros far outweigh the cons. But just like one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, my pros and your cons may be the same. What works for me may will definitely not work for everyone else.
But for people who are still in the ‘contemplating traveling alone’ phase… Maybe I can help.
(1) You can take as many selfies as you like
Yeah, okay, this may sound like a silly point, but it’s very true. No, really. On one particular hike, I think I took over 200 pictures (and I had to delete most because my phone ran out of space 😛 ). Definitely figured out my best angles… They’re all selfies, even the ones that don’t look it. I’m even pretending to talk in one. How cute.
(2) You can do what you want
Seriously, I don’t like to see museums. I really don’t. I’d much rather spend hours getting lost in the city and spend some more hours finding my way back to where I need to be. When I’m alone, I can actually do that.
Also, I love walking. I walk insane amounts. I never buy public transportation tickets, unless I’m staying really far from the center, because I just don’t need them. On some days, I’m pretty sure I walked well over 30kms. I don’t think anyone else can keep up with me, and I actually get quite annoyed when I’m forced to get onto the bus or metro or a cab by my travel companions.
(3) You can spend what you want
I think this is important. Different people have different budgets. And sometimes I’m not up for paying 30 Euros for dinner because someone in my group wants to eat fancy, nor do I want to eat 2 Euro fast food from an international chain for dinner when I really want to try a local restaurant.
(4) You can eat where you want
The previous point brings me to this one. I HATE eating at McDonald’s and Starbucks and Burger King and Subway, and all those places I can eat at back home, when I’m traveling. I don’t care if I sound horribly politically incorrect, but I think people who do that are stupid (unfortunately, that includes a lot of my friends and family. I guess we just have to agree to disagree)
(5) You’re not accountable to anyone
I got to couchsurf, jump off cliffs, hitchhike and eat all kinds of shady food only because there was no one glaring at me and saying no.
And the Cons
(1) Sometimes it can get really lonely…
…Which is not really a con per se, because to beat the loneliness you learn to talk to anyone about anything. (Social skills, anyone? 😀 ) I did find myself talking to imaginary friends a few times though 😛 And then when I finally did get back to being around people I knew, it took me a while to get out of the ‘zonked’ phase.
See? New friends!!
(2) There’s no one to go to in times of stress
I’m not ashamed to admit it… There were a lot of times when I sank to the floor and cried my eyes out (yes, in public places) because I was so stressed (two incredibly heavy bags, one bus company that apparently doesn’t exist, friends that aren’t replying to texts and family that is not picking up the phone can do that to the best of us… Other times include watching your train leave in front of your eyes when you’ve been waiting at the station for over 3 hours but on the wrong platform, finding out that your carpool group left without you because you were apparently waiting at 2 different supermarkets with the same name, trudging from hostel to hostel finding them all full because the day you chose to visit a city also happened to be the same day Robbie Williams was playing there… I got lots more. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger I guess).
(3) The food may become a bit too much 😉
It’s a problem for me… I want to try everything, but I don’t have anyone to share it with. Uuuuuffffff!!
There’s no denying this one. All in all, though things usually work out fine… Maybe there are a couple of hikes I would have liked to explore if I had someone with me.
(5) TAKING PICTURES!!
Hahahaha! I had to save this one for the last. I LOVE being in pictures, and really, it’s a b*tch to constantly have to go up to strangers and do the whole ‘Could you please take a picture of me?’ jig and then end up with blurry photos, photos with fingers in them, photos without the background, and best of all… No photo at all (because they pressed the ‘back’ button instead).
Really, if there’s any reason I would say has a chance of influencing me to go over to the other side… It would be this one. Seriously, check out the giant finger…
So for me… Pros>Cons 🙂 What about you? What are some pros and cons you’ve experienced while traveling alone? Do you prefer going solo? Or do you prefer going in a group, or with another person?