Traveling alone can be one of the most daunting things for some. Will people pity you? Is it gonna be just boring? What happens if you get lost in a completely foreign place and you can’t even ask for directions? Most of the fear you will experience prior to traveling alone is completely irrational but looking on the bright side, there’s something thrilling about it. Isn’t conquering fears one of life’s biggest pleasures? A trip by yourself can be a great option if there’s a specific destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting but just can’t find someone as interested in it as you are. But is traveling alone just that? Are you really going to be alone for the entire trip?
Traveling by yourself is not scary, it’s adventure in it’s purest form.
For those who don’t travel often, the biggest fear of alone traveling might be staying alone for the entire trip. Traveling alone is, however, one of the most socially engaging experiences you can have. The fact that you are alone will push you into meeting new people, it will just happen. I find that when I am in company of others, I tend to be less open with strangers. Staying in your comfort zone might not be the best thing if you’re looking for some adventure. Keep in mind as well that you won’t be the only person in such a situation, many people travel alone.
If you go to the right places, you will meet tons of fellow “lonely” travelers to spend the time with. You only need to go to the right places, like meetups and hostels. Some people will invite you for a drink and some of them you’ll invite for a drink. You might even run with them under the heavy rain back to your hostel, hoping you don’t catch a flu that ruins your entire trip the next day. And some of them you will remember after looking at pictures of your trips and laughing about how silly you were being afraid to travel by yourself when in fact it was one of the greatest experiences you had.
There is no rush when you travel alone.
There are also many things you will enjoy more when being completely by yourself. No matter how close you can be to someone, there are so many things you will never get to experience if you don’t take the leap by yourself. On my first visit to the Louvre museum, I was accompanied by a very close friend of mine. There were long hours of conversation on our way to Paris and tons of laughter and confessions after drinking some rose wine upon arriving. Next morning we went to the Louvre pretty early, it was the first Sunday of the month and that means you don’t have to pay for entrance. Even though there was a three-hour long queue before the gates, we made it before midday.
It was just when we started to look at all the famous pieces that I realized my travel companion was not the best for such an occasion. She was just speeding through the halls, getting pictures with the famous works and moving on to the next one. All I wanted was a couple of minutes to appreciate the marvelous paintings I had only seen in books since my childhood. How I wished to be alone, or at least alone for the hours I’d be spending in the museum and then get back to being social later.
There are no limits when you’re by yourself.
You can visit any place you want. When you are by yourself no place is silly, boring or scary and you don’t have on your shoulders the entertainment of someone else. You can wander for hours without the fear of someone else telling you “I’m tired, let’s go back”. If you find a special someone you are even free to spend your time only with them.
Meetups are full of interesting “loners” like you looking to meet people.
There are many groups online to help you find someone to explore the world with. Check the local Meetup site of the place you’re traveling to, or maybe groups on facebook like “new in Tokyo” or “hiking in Paris”, the events on those sites are usually full of expats who are by themselves in a new place and are more than happy to welcome a tourist. For people under 30, staying at a hostel is also a great idea, at least in Europe. The more people in the room the merrier, and I’m telling you this as an introvert. More people want to see the same landmarks as you, going in group is a great idea. Common areas, like the kitchen, are always full of conversation and strangers trying to meet other strangers. Many of them might be from the same country as you or at least speaking the same language.
In the end, you will not regret it, it might seem like a big leap for some. It is nonetheless an experience that will bring you great memories in the future.