When I tell people that I spent three months traveling around Asia by myself, they look at me like I’m crazy. It defies logic, they tell me. I mean why on Earth would anyone want to do anythinng alone, especially something as momentous as traveling?
But think about it. When you’re alone you never have to do what anyone else wants to do! Imagine the freedom you can experience!
When I was studying in Thailand, I went on short trips both alone and with my friends and they were two totally different expereicnes. Sure, it was nice to have company, but having to wait around for everyone to make up their minds got old pretty fast.
People often seem to wonder if it gets lonely on the road. The beauty about traveling alone is that if you decide you want company, it’s not too hard to find. It’s ridiculously easy to meet other travelers, especially those traveling solo. Right there and then you have a common bond to strike up a coversation about. I’ve met some truly wonderful individuals with who I’ve decided to travel with for days at a time. We were going the same way, so why not share transportation, meals and hotel rooms to offset the cost? And the best part is if you don’t get along, you just go your seperate ways!
In nearly every city I visited I was able to connect with fellow travelers, but the best example of this was at the “Dragon’s Backbone” Rice Terraces in Southwest China. It was a pretty remote place and I banded together with the only other tourists on the bus (a French-Canadian fellow and a French woman, as well as 5 (mostly) English-speaking Chinese nationals). We shared accomodation and spent a couple of incredibly memorable days trekking together before each going our seperate ways.
When I’ve traveled with my friends, I haven’t had these experiences where I’ve met such fantastic people. When you’re alone, you seek out company rather than being insular. Not to mention the fact that it’s easier to partake in that fantastic cultural exchange called CouchSurfing if you’re alone.
Since my return, many people have told me that they couldn’t do what I did. My question to them is, why? Sure, I was absolutely terrified before I flew off on my very first trip to Laos all those years ago, but the second I got off that plane in Bangkok, I suddenly had no clue what I was worried about.
Yes, the unkown is frightening, but it’s a truly wonderful world out there! And if you go alone, there’s company on-demand more than you’d ever expect!