Traveling alone has become a cool status than the actual travel. In this digital age, millennials have jumped on the bandwagon to entitle it. The glorification of these two terms “SOLO TRAVELER” has reached a stage where it has become an obsession. It is like a new wave in the travel industry.
Everyone is trying to embrace it without knowing whether solo travel is for them or not. Especially, the self-proclaimed Instagram celebrities, upcoming travel bloggers, and the younger generation are aping the concept of solo travel. Not for the sake of travel, but to build their online image on the rising social media.
The excessive hype created by the media about Solo Travel has made a few travelers an exotic breed in the crowd. The niche marketing of solo travel on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook has created a parallel world of travel.
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I AM NOT AGAINST THE IDEA OF SOLO TRAVEL
In spite of my above statements about Solo Travel, I have never intended to discard the idea of traveling solo. I do appreciate the fact that there are many who love to travel alone. They are doing it successfully without getting hassled. Traveling alone has its pros and cons. Nobody can deny both sides.
I also admire, especially women who prefer to see the world without any companion. This is absolutely fine. Every traveler has his/her own traveling style. We should respect that irrespective of our own likings or dislikings.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to explore the world at your own risks and terms should be encouraged. It is a matter of choice than force. I am not against the idea of Travelling Solo rather I AM AGAINST OVER GLAMORIZATION OF THE CONCEPT OF SOLO TRAVEL.
PRACTICAL PERKS OF TRAVELING SOLO
- Travelling alone is a liberating experience.
- You don’t need to depend on anyone for your travel schedule. You become more responsible. You own everything.
- You follow your own itinerary and follow your personal schedule.
- It makes you independent and efficient. You become expert on solving your own problem.
- It makes you a self-aware person. You become conscious about your surroundings. It enhances your judgement power.
- You meet new people and make friends easily while on the travel.
- It boosts your confidence.
- It gives you enough time for self reflection. You get “Me Time” to indulge.
- You don’t just conquer fear, anxiety and uneasiness, but you also discover a lot about yourself.
- You do get introduced to your real self.
But the fact remains the same. Solo travel is not for everyone. It is imperative to find out your travel style. Jumping on something which makes you uncomfortable can ruin your travel experience. It is absolutely OK not to travel alone.
You are not going to miss a thing if you choose to travel with your partner, travel companion, or with your family. The idea of traveling is not to prove a point to anyone but to travel and explore it the way you want to.
Traveling to places is equally liberating, enriching and fun with your companion as it is without anyone. It is not about the confidence to go on a solo expedition, but about the choices you make. No one should be ridiculed for not choosing to travel solo.
There should not be any added pressure to prove anything to anyone. Travelling is a personal affair and it is your own. One should not push yourself to do something if you are uneasy, only to prove a point to the world of social media. This is absolutely unnecessary.
What will you miss if you don’t travel solo?
Why is it so important to travel solo, at least once?
Will it change your life forever if you travel alone?
I had traveled to a few places solo in my earlier days of travels. I enjoyed the initial phase of traveling alone, spending time with myself, sitting alone, and admiring the stunning landscapes. But it was momentary. My honest confession is that I absolutely hated it. I felt lonely.
Homesickness was hovering over my mind. I was constantly yearning to be with a companion. I missed being with someone with whom I could share my emotions. Eating alone, exploring the most beautiful places without your travel partner, and even sharing your luxury room alone were not fun. Doing everything alone freaks me out. There are numerous reasons why I hate solo travel.
Though everyone is busy painting a rosy picture of traveling solo, no one tells you the downside. Let’s find out, The Other Side of Travelling Solo
It’s a lonely affair
Yes, traveling alone is a lonely affair. Whether flying, exploring places, eating a meal, or sharing a room, you are ALONE. No matter how many random co-travelers you meet on your way, you have to pave your way alone. Imagine exploring a place, you discover something unique; you have nobody to share your joy with.
Similarly, finding a great restaurant to have your comfort food in a strange country, you will have to sit alone at a table. In a strange situation like getting lost or facing any kind of danger, you just can’t rely on strangers. You have to manage everything alone.
Your every emotion like frustration, anger, joy, you have to deal with it alone, at any given point. After a successful expedition when you come back to your hostel or hotel, there is no one to listen to your story or give you a warm hug.
Though you meet a lot of people during your travels, there is hardly anyone you can rely on for anything. Finding like-minded people is easy when you travel alone, but keeping that friendship for life is not guaranteed. It is quite momentary.
I remember being invited by a luxury resort in Coorg, Karnataka for a four-day experiential stay. It was one of the most gorgeous properties, located amidst a huge coffee plantation. The luxury cottage with a separate living room, bedroom, two verandas, and a swimming pool was given to me.
It was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. It would have been ideal to share that experience of staying at the property with someone, but unfortunately, I had to do it all alone. I ended up feeling lonely during that trip.
No One to Share Special Moments
Imagine being awestruck by a spectacular landscape or a breathtaking sunset. You want to jump in joy, shout and hug your partner. But you will not find anyone next to you, because you are traveling alone. How will you feel at that moment? It is hard to explain the feeling of missing that one special moment with your travel companion, partner, or friend.
Some moments can’t be captured in the lens, they are meant to be lived. It doesn’t matter how desperately you wish to share it, you have to live it alone. What’s the point of creating beautiful memories when you don’t have the luxury of sharing it with someone?
I still remember the moment I landed in the Maldives. My jaw literally dropped seeing the endless turquoise ocean in front of me. It was dreamy. I was on a Press Trip along with one more journalist from a reputed newspaper. I was thrilled and wanted to jump in joy after reaching the super luxurious resort in Finolhu Island. During those 5 days in the Maldives, indulging in various activities like white beach parties to sunset cruises, I felt lonely.
In spite of being in the company of another person, I couldn’t express my emotions the way I wanted. Because she was not like-minded and had a rigid personality. I felt alone all the time. It’s an irony. Even though I saw the most gorgeous sunset, went on a glass-bottom boat ride, saw sea turtles, jumping dolphins, I couldn’t share those real moments with anyone at that time.
Well, when you are out of your home country or comfort zone, you are on your own. Safety is one top priority for each traveler and one shouldn’t compromise on it. When you are on a SOLO trip, you have to make conscious efforts to keep yourself safe in any given situation.
No one can predict an unannounced emergency situation. It is always advisable to have your travel insurance before you land in a new country. At least it eliminates a few unwanted situations like losing a passport, medical emergency, loss of luggage, flight cancellation, etc. There are a few specially designed Online Travel Insurances for digital nomads as well.
It makes it hard sometimes to deal with safety issues all by yourself. Whether it is stalking, theft, misbehavior, or any tough situation, being a solo woman traveler, makes your life way tougher than a male counterpart. There are many cases of cheating, theft, or people getting conned on their trips.
A fellow travel companion can be of great help in such cases. Whether you face any kind of harassment, danger, or any uncomfortable situation in a new city, traveling with someone and a group is way safer than traveling alone.
It is Expensive
Whether you agree or not, a solo trip can be expensive. Whether it is paying for a meal a cab fare, or a hotel room, you have to bear everything alone. There is no one with whom you can split the bill. At times, it can become really expensive for solo travelers and it can make a big hole in your pocket.
Especially in expensive European countries like Finland, Norway, or Iceland, everything out there has a freaking high price tag. It becomes quite problematic if you are not well-prepared before the trip.
After traveling solo for a long, one feels homesick. It is quite obvious that you start missing your life back home. You yearn for being with friends and family. Sometimes, the best of the exotic locations and the best gourmet food also can’t uplift your mood.
The long term traveling alone can make you crave everything you considered boring earlier. I know travelers who often suffer from homesickness so badly that they had shortened their trip and came back to their homeland. This is absolutely normal.
I remember going on a luxury cruise trip from Dubai to Kochi in India with the Princess Cruises. It was nothing less than a dream trip. Everything was going great. The life on the cruise was beyond luxurious. But one of the days was quite tough as we were sailing on the rough sea for more than 12 hours and it made me nauseous.
I felt sick and couldn’t sleep the entire night. I felt absolutely helpless as I was in the middle of the ocean. As far as your eyes could see, there was only seawater beyond the horizon. At that moment, I was suffering from homesickness. The luxuries of cruising felt nothing. All I wanted was to be back home as soon as possible. At one point, I became so restless that I was questioning my decision of coming on a cruise trip.
Apart from these major reasons, I like to confess the fact that I am a people person. I always like to be surrounded by like-minded people. I enjoy a place more with a travel companion than by myself. Dining alone is another problem which I hate to do whenever I am traveling.
Being a travel blogger and having an active presence on social media, I like to be photographed in different locations to post them on my channels. Traveling alone also makes it really tough when it comes to clicking your own photos. You hardly get anyone to click that perfect shot with a great composition. To be honest, it does get boring to travel solo sometimes.
Embrace your own traveling style. Enjoy it, celebrate it and own it.
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