So I’ve been traveling alone for about 9 months now. I didn’t plan for this to happen, but I’m really glad that it did. I initially flew from New Jersey to Australia with a friend, but we ended up parting ways since we wanted different things. To be honest, these past 9 months were both the most challenging and possibly the most rewarding months of my life. I’ve traveled up the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Townsville, through parts of Queensland, went home for the holidays, and then stopped in London on my way to Perth, WA. From there, I joined a great group of travelers for a road trip to Adelaide, then took another road trip to Melbourne.
I’m not sure I’d have ever traveled alone had I not been thrown into it. It’s a really big step, and it can be quite daunting. However, I’m so happy that I did this, and I now encourage everyone to do the same. Here’s why:
- You get to do what you want, when you want! No compromises! Want to wake up at 5am to see the sunrise? Do it! Want to go out for a fancy expensive meal? Do it! Want to have a lazy day watching Netflix? Do it! You can literally do whatever you want to do, and it’s absolutely wonderful. There’s no compromising due to you and your partner(s) having different interests or different budgets.
- You make new friends easily! I’m quite introverted, and I still make new friends all the time while traveling. Being alone kinda forces me to talk to new people when I otherwise wouldn’t. I’ve made tons of friends through hostels, couchsurfing, Facebook groups, and organized tours. I don’t think I’d have met the majority of these people if I wasn’t traveling alone.
- You build SO. MUCH. CONFIDENCE. Traveling naturally comes with hiccups, sometimes small and sometimes big. When traveling alone, you have to rely solely on yourself to navigate through these hurdles. And with every obstacle you overcome, you become more confident in yourself!
- You meet locals! If you’re interested in meeting more locals, you’re likely to do it if you travel alone. Because if you travel with friends, you tend to just stay in your group.
So as you can see, there’s loads of things to gain by traveling solo. However, I’m not really one to sugarcoat things, so I’ll tell you now that solo travel isn’t always so amazing. I’ll list some of the troubles I’ve had below.
- It gets lonely sometimes. Even though I mostly stay in hostels and meet new people all the time, I’ve still gotten really lonely at points. I might meet 3 new people a day, but it’s always the same conversation with each person, and then one of us moves on within a couple days. The “Hi – How are you? – Where are you from?” convo gets old. Because I’m so introverted, I found this constant cycle to be exhausting over time. However, it’s all definitely been worth it since I’ve actually made some really amazing friends through hostels.
- You have to rely on yourself! Like I said before, it builds confidence, but it’s also really difficult sometimes! And you’ll DEFINITELY make some mistakes that you wouldn’t have made if you had an extra set of eyes with you.
Clearly, the pros outweigh the cons here. I’m excited to travel the rest of Australia solo this year, and I’m sure I won’t stop there. I might have been thrown into it unexpectedly, but I’m now a solo traveler by choice and I can’t wait to see the rest of the world this way.