If you aren’t married or have a kid to drag around, planning adventures with another person can be tough. Not everyone has Fernweh like you do. Your best adventure buddy might not care for a trip to that third world country or alternative museum or vegan restaurant. You have two options in this scenario: don’t go, or go alone. I choose the latter, every time.
Of course, there’s benefits and detriments to every adventure, and being alone does have its risks. Let me break it down for you.
- You get to do what you want, when you want. No more unsynchronized bathroom stops, no more arguing over which restaurant to go to, no more panicked seat swaps with grumpy airplane passengers so you can sit together because booking last minute seats in the same aisle is legitimately a miracle.
- You will talk to other humans aka locals. It’s so easy when you’re traveling with a buddy to just talk with them the whole time. Being alone, you gotta ask questions, get to know the locals, maybe learn some of the language or history of this rad place you’re visiting. Who knows, you might even make a lifelong friend from another country!
- You can shamelessly post selfies on social media. If you don’t have a buddy to take pictures of you, mention that in the caption and you’re good to go! You are a strong, independent person who don’t need nobody to have a good time.
- You get to practice your photography skills without time pressure. That’s right, if you wanna sit on your camel and take pictures of the pyramids all damn day, you can! No one is going to tell you they are bored and want to leave.
- You will feel so damn good about yourself. Being a full blown adultie who can navigate public transportation, find that historical landmark, get through an airport, and have an amazing time by yourself is incredibly empowering. You feel like you can accomplish anything and be happy anywhere after you make it to your destination all by yourself!
Some aspects of solo travel can be tough, however. It isn’t always magical. It can be scary. I don’t like to sugarcoat things, so here’s some of the downfalls:
- It can be dangerous. Going out at night, traveling through regions with high criminal activity, and being alone in the wilderness can get scary. It’s comforting having a buddy watching your back, but no matter how big your travel group is, you won’t be safe if you aren’t aware of your surroundings and prepared for the dangers. Keep your stuff close, don’t walk around staring at your phone, and know basic self defense and first aid, and you will more than likely be fine.
- It can be lonely. If you are a social butterfly and this is your first time being alone for more than five hours, you might be uncomfortable and/or very lonely.
- You might have to beg strangers to take pictures of you. I said before that selfies are justified, but personally I have ever only posted one and almost deleted it immediately from shame. I blame society. And the pictures that the stranger takes of you might not be in focus or very good.
I’ve been going on more solo adventures this year, and I’ve never felt more secure about myself and my friendships. I don’t rely on other people to make an experience fun, which has made me feel so empowered and strong.
Recently I took a solo trip to Monterey for the day. I had so much fun, stopping at exhibits in the aquarium at my own pace, chatting with other tourists, and taking iPhone pictures of the incredible fish, and didn’t once regret being alone! I posted my first ever selfie on Instagram from this trip, and only hated myself for a minute!
Get out there. Go alone. Do your research, charge your camera battery, and go.