I arrived on the idyllic island of Utila in Honduras alone and grumpy after 2 days of travelling. I sat and watched the sun set alone and ate dinner alone. I messaged the new friends I had just left and wished I was still travelling with them. This was definitely a lonely solo travellers moment.
Then I woke up the next morning, did the thing that makes me the happiest I can be, scuba dive, and guess what? Made new friends.
I sat in the sun and chatted with new people, from new countries and couldn't have felt further from alone. In fact, at points, I wanted just 5 minutes of alone time so I could take a nap or message the friends back who had replied to my 'I hate travelling alone moans'
But in fact, I don't hate travelling alone, I LOVE it. More than any other type of travel, and yes I have tried them all ( With friends, with boyfriend(s) and with family) however it doesn't come without its fair shares of ups and downs (even if they do only last one day) So here's my honest, uncensored advantages and disadvantages of the solo life;
(Because this outweighs the latter category 10/1)
You discover an overwhelming feeling of independence
Travelling alone can put you in difficult situations, but once you overcome them (because you always will) you feel like you can then take on the world. You realise how to be alone and how to be comfortable with that which then leads you to the feeling of complete independence and a motivation to achieve more.
. Life is on your terms
You can wake up at 7am if you want or you can lie in till 2pm. You can eat at that restaurant your friends didn't want too and you can skip that awful sounding trek that costs way too much. You have no one relying on you or dependable on you so if you don't want to go somewhere or you do, it's not going to affect anyone else.
. You can pick your friends
As bitchy as that sounds, it's not meant to be, we've all been in that situation when your friend is deep in conversation with a hot guy and you get stuck talking to his dull friend all about that time he spent 48 hours solid playing PSP?!When you travel solo you can easily walk away from that situation without having to ditch your friend, just by making the good excuse of you have to go and Skype with your family.
And then when you met a great group of fun loving girls who are leaving the next morning and ask you to come, there's no one you have to confer with and you're packing your bag before you even know where you're going.
. People are amazed at your 'Bravery' and want to help you out
They will take your bag, buy you drinks and basically shower you with 'you're so brave' and 'I wish I could do that' It reconfirms any doubt you ever had and makes you feel great that you can inspire others.
.You social skills are something to rival
Shyness, lack of confidence, and not very outgoing are not part of a solo travellers vocabulary. It is more than acceptable to pull up a chair at someone's table and introduce yourself without even thinking about it. Everyone gets a hello, everyone gets a smile, and everyone returns it. You meet some of your best friends by asking for the time or asking for directions. A solo traveller quickly becomes in the mindset that if you want to make friends you have to be approachable and approach others. It opens up a whole new world of friendships that never could of happened if you were stuck in a corner with your boyfriend looking at Facebook.
. You learn ALOT about yourself
Making your own decisions constantly and being so independent really shows you what it is you actually want. You realise that you don't really like organised tours and prefer discovering countries the unorganised way. But in all seriousness, you start to learn about what it is you want from life, maybe what career it is you want or what relationships you are seeking. Everything becomes clearer when you only have you mind to battle with.
. Getting a job is a lot easier
Have you ever tried finding a job for yourself and someone else? Trust me, it's a lot easier when it's just you. Plus, you are pretty much guaranteed new friends, new experiences and never a lonely moment. Have look here at the easiest jobs to get abroad.
. Sometimes it's more expensive
In those rare times you find yourself completely alone, it's safer to take a cab but then it's more expensive as you have no one to split it with.
. You do get lonely
You may be in a place where there are no other people around that day, or in a hostel where everyone else is asleep. This is when you become aware you are alone, and that you haven't even spoken to another person in too long. However, this is so easy to get through once you know how. I will usually watch a film on my laptop, write my blog or go out and take some photos. Find what you love and let it keep you busy, that way you barely even realise you're alone.A good friend once told me when she felt alone or homesick she would go and do a good deed or help someone less fortunate than her to help her realise how lucky she still was.
. Something amazing will happen and you will wish someone was there to see it too
You are always experiencing 'that was incredible' moments and sometimes you might be experiencing them alone, these moments are when you wished someone else was there to share it with you. But there will always be more moments, and more friends, so enjoy the freedom and cherish the memories.
As you can see the advantages well out way the disadvantages, solo travel is the most rewarding experience I know I have ever had. I feel liberated and free to a point where I am much more comfortable with being alone than I thought was ever possible. Don't get me wrong I never want to live a completely solo life, I've loved the people I've met along the way and the new relationships I've made, but I feel like I wouldn't of made those if I wasn't travelling solo. For me I was never scared or intimidated by the thought of travelling alone, I always knew deep down I'd love it, but I can totally understand those that might.
All I can say, if you're not already convinced; just give it a go... you can always go home if you don't like it (which won't happen) be selfish and do something completely for you, explore, learn,love, step outside your comfort zone and discover this amazing world that is right out there waiting for you.
Are you a solo Traveller? I'd Love to hear your Advantages and Disadvantages...
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