Traveling solo has always been my dream and it’s something I want to do time and time again. Whether it’s just a short solo holiday or going to live abroad – I keep doing it.
I enjoy the feeling of being independent, free and able to do all the decisions on my own.
Yet, there are some downsides to traveling alone too.
When you find yourself going to the airport alone (one time after another) you can’t help but think: would it be nicer if I shared this with someone?
Here I’ve listed some pros and cons of solo travel that popped into my mind on this dark august evening, while I’m trying to pack (read: TRYING) for going back to Boston.
1. Like mentioned above: DECISION MAKING IS SO EASY!
This includes decisions about food, accommodation, transportation, activities, nightlife, shopping….
You only got to fight with your inner voices when deciding which activities to do or where to go for dinner.
Also, nobody gets annoyed if you want to change plans right out of the blue. If I decide to go hiking one day
and then I mentally shake hands with myself on it – I don’t get upset if the next day I don’t feel like hiking. We’re doing something else. Me, myself and I.
2. MAKING NEW (TRAVEL) BUDDIES is waaaay easier when going somewhere new alone.
Usually when I’m travelling with friends I don’t really feel the need for making new friends or I’m simply just having too much fun with my buddies to forget that other people even exist.
What I have learned on my few solo trips is that you’re easier to approach when you’re alone. And for me it’s also easier to go in a new group when it’s just me derping there. Especially when I stayed at some hostels, I went to the common areas and just sat on a random table and started chit chatting with whomever there was. I ended up having some amazing conversations – and had nice company to spend a few rainy days with. People you meet during your travels are wonderfully weirdly unique and they all have amazing travel stories to tell. Just go out there and socialize!
3. CHALLENGING YOURSELF
There’s always something that doesn’t go according to your plans when you travel. Whether it was a solo trip or a group vacay – there’s always SOMETHING that could freak people out somehow.
For me the challenging things have been just managing alone and stepping out of my comfort zone.
To not freak out if there are problems with my flights or hostel bookings. Trying to stay calm in situations where I realize I have absolutely no clue where I am, or I’ve been sitting on a wrong bus for 1 hour, or trying not to care when people look at me funny while I’m taking photos with my pink selfie stick.
All of these points lead us to the point number four…
4. The feeling of I CAN DO THIS! YAY ME!
1. Not being able to share things immediately with the loved ones.
This is what has been bugging me basically the most while I’m abroad. So many new and cool things happen in my life, and my friends’ and family’s lives that we can’t keep up with all the stuff that’s going on.
Thank goodness we have our smartphones nowadays for fast communication BUT…it’s still not the same. You can’t tell every funny detail on a whatsapp-message or facebook status. And usually the funny things turn into “you should’ve been there”-jokes.
Going to the airport used to be an exciting thing for me, hyping with my friends about a new adventure. Now that I have to do all the hyping alone it doesn’t feel that special – and in fact i feel my travel enthusiasm annoys some of my facebook-friends.
This brings us to the next con
2. Homesickness & feeling lonely
These are the two worst feelings I’ve experienced during my stays outside Finland. Everything goes well while I’m busy and on the go. But when things slow down, or especially during some big holiday…I feel homesick. Seeing families celebrating mother’s day or other special days, only makes me think about my family and how I’ve left them again.
During my travels I’ve also faced to feeling of loneliness. Some days I choose to be alone, but still sometimes it hurts when there’s no one to talk to or tell about your fantastic day. There can also be days when your only source of communication has been at the diner when you ordered some fries.
I love chilling by myself, reading magazines and travel guides but sometimes I get too self-conscious to realize some people might be staring at me. This happens especially when I’m taking selfies. Wonder why.
When I have lived abroad I have almost never felt unsafe, it was the traveling part in new cities which made me feel little insecure about my safety. You’re easier to approach and come to talk to, which means that you are also an easier target for possible attackers, especially as a solo female traveller.
That’s why I try to avoid walking on strange areas after dark, or try at least look like I belong to a group or something. What I always do is that I talk on the phone. Sometimes by myself just to give the impression im about to see someone. “Oh honey stop pumping iron, I’m there in a second” and other stuff like that.
But the fact is that, in a totally new place I feel the safest when I’m NOT alone.
Despite the few cons I’ve listed here, I encourage each and everyone to go on a trip alone!
Even if its just a week long holiday to your neighbor country, or finding a new job from across the country…just ask yourself WHY NOT?
Life is all about new experiences, not all of them can be great…but what if your next solo trip changes your life? Think about it!