I’ve heard the comment a number of times and chances are you may have heard it also: ‘I can’t travel by myself because I’d get lonely’. This is the most common misunderstanding of travelling solo. The happy reality is that when you travel alone you are never really alone.
The reason for this is that when you leave home you’ve immediately joined a vast global community. All around the world, there are thousands of travellers making their way on their respective journeys. Some are solo and others are in couples or small groups but all are part of the same network. Regardless of the nature or duration of your trip, it won’t be long before you begin meeting some of them and quickly making new friends.
Travellers are almost invariably approachable and friendly. This means that you are often welcome to join their conversation, share a meal or have a drink with them. They seem to have an immediate understanding of the unique challenges you may be facing and the rewards you enjoy for overcoming them. They are naturally helpful and will always offer you their best advice on things like sightseeing, transportation, accommodation, food, staying safe and saving money.
Apart from hostels and guesthouses, on numerous occasions I have met other travellers on the bus. This is especially good for a solo traveller because it enables you to prepare for your destination by asking them about accommodation options if you don’t have a definite choice in mind. On arrival, you can share the cost of a taxi if you’re all going in the same direction. Chances are you’ll then have new friends to go sightseeing with for the next couple of days.
In between meeting all these other travellers is one of the main reasons for your journey: the local people. Their unique culture and widely varying personalities will provide a virtual kaleidoscope of interest and fascination. Locals will both amuse and annoy you but I promise they won’t leave you feeling lonely. On the contrary, in some parts of the world, the attention you’ll receive as a foreigner will mean that you’ll actually appreciate the quiet time that you do get to spend alone!
The other major reason why you’re never really alone as a solo traveller is technology. Figuratively speaking, the world is now a much smaller place than it used to be and communication with friends and family is much easier. Nowadays, an increasing number of hostels and guesthouses have internet available to guests. With a Wi-Fi connection, travellers with a smart phone, tablet or laptop can easily send emails, make Skype calls and update social media pages.
As you can see, wherever you may be travelling in the modern world, it’s difficult to feel isolated or lonely. With bus journeys, sightseeing, dining, shopping and constantly meeting people, there often isn’t the time! In those moments in between, solo travel can be a lesson in appreciating and enjoying your own company and that can also be a very worthwhile experience.