All the discussions about how different and unique it is to travel solo and how it should be done at least once in your life is really utter drama. Sure, travelling by yourself can be amazing sometimes and there are certainly benefits do doing it at least once, but it’s about time someone laid down the facts about what it’s like to travel by yourself. Solo. Alone. With no friends. Not even one.
Find yourself a travel buddy. An acquaintance. A lover. Anyone who will turn your solo adventure into a trip to remember and one you can share and reminisce on in years to come. I do not want to say that travelling solo is a sin but here are a few reasons why I feel that travelling along with someone can be interesting not only for the obvious philosophical reasons but practical as well and a good company all the way makes the needed difference.
When you are travelling by yourself, everything is so much more expensive. There’s no one to share that expensive taxi ride with you. No one to rent that car with. There’s no one to split the costs of a hotel room.Would you go to a restaurant back home by yourself? Didn’t think so. Trying to find restaurants where people won’t judge you for being alone is an absolute pain. You either sit in a nice place nervously, wishing your food would arrive faster so you can leave quicker, or you succumb to only eating at crap fast food joints so people won’t have enough time to see you eating alone. Half the enjoyment of eating out is sharing a meal with others, tasting their food and enjoying some good conversation.
Anyone who has travelled alone even once is sure to have mastered the art of a travel selfie. But there are only a few angles where you can click your face with the antique statues, the museums or the gigantic monuments, mountains and landscapes in the background. Continually having to ask strangers to take your photo while you stand alone and pose can get tiring pretty fast, and you also risk your camera or phone getting stolen each and every time you hand it over.When you travel alone, you are taking a risk. You will always be an easy target and will, sadly, might even have some really horrible experiences. You won’t have a buddy to fall back on. You will have to defend yourself. There will be no one to help when your wallet gets stolen in Barcelona with all your money and cards or when your bags get taken after you have fallen asleep on a 12 hour bus ride and the next time you wake up and you do not know where your personal belongings are. By the way these are real incidences that have taken place just this year with few of my friends and this can be really depressing in a well planned journey.
Have you ever walked up to a group of people in a bar and tried to make friends with them? It’s hard,at times. They will most likely smile and might ignore you unless you are a very hot girl of course or a handsome hunk, jokes apart, not being racist, but impressions matter and attract. Making friends while travelling could be really difficult. Sure, you may find some like-minded people in hostels and in bars on nights out, but those people move on or fly home and leave you right where they left you, looking for new friends.They are the hippie mindset.
Unless you are an introvert who likes to hang out by yourself all day back home, solo travel can get boring. Quickly and Steadily. There are only so many museums you can visit by yourself, books your can read and activities you can do before you start to wish, “Man, I seriously wish I had a friend to do this with”. Cycling around a city by yourself? Boring. Doing a sightseeing tour by yourself? Boring. Even mad bucket list activities like skydiving or shark cage diving are a million times better if you have someone to share the adrenaline rush with. Spending a little bit of time alone is great. Spend too much time alone and suddenly your mind starts to fill with endless thoughts about life choices, your career, past relationships and what direction your life is going. The smallest things, like seeing kids laughing or watching the sunset, can trigger a waterfall of emotions. A little bit of deep thought can never hurt anyone, but it can get too much when you become overrun with emotion throughout your trip.
When you travel with a friend or a group, it is so easy to laugh off the small things such as missing your train or getting extreme diarrhoea or getting scammed into buying tickets for a bus that does not exist. When you are alone, these problems become magnified and, at times, make you want to cry, scream or even pack your bags and fly home.
Even your friends and family back home, who I’m sure love you dearly, will only be able to cope with 2-3 days max of your endless travel tales. They get it. You spent some time abroad. You met up with some unwanted insight that you feel was needed at any cost. You eat pork and beef. After one week, they won’t want to hear about it. If you have travelled with others, you can spend as long as you like reminiscing about that crazy boat ride in Dal Lake Kashmir or those amazing pretzels in Stuttgart, or those midnight feasts at Gokarna. You will always have that bond between you and your travel buddies, and it is an incredible bond to have.
Rucha Sudhir Khot