Traveling on your own is a scary thought, at least I was scared at first, terrified actually, but I did it and am so glad I did. In my time on my own though, I learned a lot a bout what I like doing on my own and what’s better with company. These are, what I found to be, the ups and downs of traveling alone.
Not always having someone to share things with, be it a big event or a weird little trinket in a market. This an be a bit of a bummer sometimes, and a picture for back home just doesn’t suffice. It’s just not the same telling a story back home as it is actually experiencing it in the right environment.
Selfies. You say you hate them, but let’s be real, you probably take them. Lots of them. We all do it, and when you travel by yourself you will probably end up taking even more of them. Sometimes you want a picture of yourself in the middle of the jungle when you’re hiking alone. Selfie. Found a cool hat in the market? Selfie. A walk to a great viewpoint to relax? Selfie. They’re unavoidable. Unless you just hate having your picture taken, of course.
Some things are just not fun alone. These things can include kayaking, hiking mountains and volcanos, swimming, and market perusing. I don’t enjoy these things as much alone at least. To each their own of course. Sometimes it can be a nice change of pace to do them alone as well, though.
Things can be more expensive or you might not be able to do everything. Some tours only go with a certain number of people, and let me tell you, it isn’t usually one. If there is no minimum though, sometimes you get a private tour for the price of a group! In San Juan, Guatemala on Lake Atitlan, there was a wine and cheese place. I wanted to go so bad. I love cheese. And wine. But this was a group activity and I could never scrounge up enough people with solid commitments to actually go. No wine and cheese for me, thankfully I’m home now and these are both plentiful here.
It’s easier to find accommodation. Places are more likely to have one bed available than five or six. I ran into this problem when I moved on with people and attached myself to other groups. You can also stay wherever you want then, no arguing over where is better.
You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Pizza for breakfast at 10 AM? Ok! No breakfast today? That’s cool! Chips and bananas for lunch? Why not! All the food freedom is there.
You can also do what you want when you want. I spent at least four days wandering around Antigua on my own and preferred that over the few times people joined me. I didn’t have to worry about where anyone else wanted to go or if they were ok with my choice of directions. The markets were more fun with companions though.
You aren’t tied down anywhere. If you want to leave, you can, anytime you want (whenever your transportation leaves at least.) Your next destination doesn’t have to be an argument or compromise either; it’s all up to you. Sometimes, though, you just want someone else to decide everything for you.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience and wouldn’t have done it differently. I am very glad I forced myself to buy my ticket to Mexico when I did, or I may not have gone. I probably would have chickened out and stayed home working and drinking coffee like always. Do it, buy the ticket, take the trip. It’s worth it.
How do you feel about traveling alone? What do you like? What don’t you like? If you haven’t done it, would you? Why or why not?