I’m Helene, creator of the HC Lifestyle Blog, where I write about food, health/fitness, and of course travel, because those are my favourite things! I started traveling solo this year because I’m single, and I discovered my love for it. Here are my top 5 reasons why traveling alone is awesome. I hope you enjoy it! And a big thank you to Elizabeth (Digital Travel Guru) for letting me post this on her blog!
#5 Taking Pictures
No, I’m not kidding. Anyone who likes taking pictures knows the eternal curse of being the photographer of the group: you want to take pictures – you stay behind. This happens to me all the time when I travel with friends. I stop to take an awesome picture, I turn around, my friends are gone. Then I have to do a semi-sprint to catch up with them. Repeat x10. And then they have the cheek to ask for my awesome photos after the trip. Don’t get me wrong, I do love travelling with my friends. But it’s also amazing to be able to take my sweet time with my camera.
#4 Choosing Places To Eat
I respect other people’s food preferences a lot, and I completely understand different dietary needs. I have friends who are vegetarians, celiac, or allergic to different foods (I myself am allergic to apples…weird, I know). How amazing does it feel when you don’t have to accommodate any of those? It’s one of the best treats of solo travel! Being able to do my research on where’s best to eat in a new place, and just going, and ordering what I want? I love it. Bonus: you don’t have to share your food with anyone!
#3 Choosing Your Destination
Very close to the previous point. How much hassle have you gone through with your friends to finally settle on where you actually want to go? And in the end, someone always ends up drawing the short straw, because they agree to go somewhere that wasn’t originally their first choice. This is all well and good, because we compromise for the people we love, but when you travel by yourself, you alone get to pick where you want to go. And that’s awesome.
#2 Managing Your Time and Your Activities
No one tells you when to start the day when you’re traveling solo. If I feel like going to a museum, I will. If I just want to go to the beach and stay there all day, that’s cool. I’m my own holiday boss. How refreshing! We all have that friend who is super proactive during holidays and wants to get up at 6 am to “explore the cultural parts”… If you like that sort of stuff, go for it! But I’m not that kind of traveler. When I go by myself, I get to make my own plans, and that feels so good. If you’re not into planning these things by yourself, join a walking tour, or any other tour! You’ll still be able to decide when you want to go, but you can just turn up without a plan. The best of both worlds, really.
#1 Personal Growth
There’s just something about traveling alone that lets you grow as a person. That sounds horribly cliché, like the whole “I travel to find myself” kind of thing, but it´s true. Let me explain. When you travel, you take a break from your usual routine. Normally, your day might look something like: get up, go to work, come home, have food, watch TV, shower, go to bed. With some workouts thrown in sometimes. That’s my routine anyway. But when you travel, you have a lot of time for introspection.
First of all, you have the journey itself. I love listening to music on plane or train journeys, and contemplating life. There’s just something about the world going by, or being in the clouds, that leads to a particular form of gentle reflection.
Secondly, there’s discovering new places on your own. With no one to talk to about it, you can hold on to those experiences as yours, and yours alone. You know that sense of awe that you feel when you see a particularly grand monument, or come across a particularly beautiful, isolated landscape? I love sharing that with people. However, I also love keeping it completely to myself. That feeling when you get to “own” a new place, and it’s entirely yours in that moment, is irreplaceable. And it leads to a completely new appreciation for beauty.
Lastly, downtime during your travels gives you the opportunity to work on your personal growth. You might not have had time to finish reading that book you started a while back. How about that article you wanted to write, but never got around to? Traveling frees you from your daily routine, and gives you time to do things for yourself that you wouldn’t normally be able to do. And that’s why you always come back a little bit more accomplished than when you left.
A Little Side Note
Even though I love solo travel (I’m sure you would’ve noticed by now…), there are still a few negative aspects tied to it. Especially concerning female solo travel. I recently came across this article that horrified me. You can read it in more detail if you want, but the gist is that this woman who travelled on her own was sexually harassed by the owner of the hostel she stayed in. It’s a disgrace that such disgusting macho behaviour is still commonplace where women are vulnerable. So I guess the message from this side note is, yes, solo travel can be absolutely enchanting and amazing, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world, but in order to stay safe from the sad reality of predatory behaviour that will persist for a long time to come, everyone should be keep their wits about them to stay safe.
I wish you all the best on your next solo trip, stay safe and have a wonderful time!
We also did an Interview with Helene – Check it out: Featured Blogger Interview With HC Lifestyle Blog.