Everyone should experience solo travel at least once in their lives, but it is ok to not love it. If I am honest, I wouldn’t say that I love it…
Up until a few years ago, I had only ever holidayed with my immediate family, or with my partner at the time. I was always most comfortable in travelling with the handful of people who were closest to me, and really never entertained travelling any other way. As my career has taken shape over the last few years, a lot more travel has been cropping up and there have been a few trips I have had to take on my own. Yep, I had to jump into solo travel territory.
Travelling solo is a big thing for a lot of people, and rightly so; the thought of being in a foreign place with not one familiar face can be quite daunting. There is nobody to fall back on if something doesn’t go quite to plan, you have to learn to be ok being in your own company, and you really have to step outside your comfort zone to travel alone.
I learned all of this very quickly on my first solo adventure. Even just the little things – like sitting there and eating breakfast at a cafe – are very different when you are doing them sans company. And, as much as I hate to say it, I do have issues with personal safety and security when I travel alone. I wish I had more faith in the world, but I have endured too many uncomfortable situations when travelling with company, let alone without it.
Details spared, the fact of the matter is:
I am not really in to solo travel.
Well, it isn’t that I can’t and won’t do it, it is just that I would prefer to travel with others where possible. There are many reasons I prefer travelling with others over travelling alone, and safety is just the first of them.
I like having people there to talk to, to bounce ideas off and to inspire me to perhaps do or see something I hadn’t yet considered. Being able to share those experiences with others is even more rewarding.
There have been many moments on my solo ventures that I have sat back and thought ‘gosh, I wish such and such was here with me right now’. Sitting there with a glass of wine and watching a vibrant sunset is incredible, but I can’t help but think of how much nicer it is to share those moments and those smiles with other people.
In fact, I think it is the experience sharing that gets to me the most when I am travelling alone.
I feel like the wonder of travel is half as special when you can’t share the moments with someone else.
I have shared travel moments with family, with partners and with friends (remember that roadtrip I did to Denmark and Esperance earlier in the year with Tiffany and Rachael?); and I finally even experienced it with strangers.
It was after recently returning from my New Caledonian adventure with a group of strangers, that my opinions on both travelling alone and travelling in groups consolidated even more.
There was something about exploring New Caledonia with 5 complete strangers** that made me realise that this is the way that I like to travel. I like to travel with others. What could have been a disastrous clash of personalities was in fact an amazing bond building experience. We shared so many laughs, so many tears, so much knowledge, so much honest encouragement and so many poo stories in just 10 days, and it only proved to me how much more fruitful and rewarding group travel is to me than solo travel.
Some people crave the soul-searching, freedom and challenges of solo travel, but me? I prefer being able to share the amazing experiences I am so fortunate to have with others! Personally, I can take or leave the solo travel!
How do you prefer to travel?