The concept of solo travel is taking the world by storm. More and more you hear stories about people traveling around the globe by themselves. This semester while I was studying abroad in Denmark, I found myself traveling solo quite a lot. While I would always make the effort to find people to go places with, it was hard with differing schedules and destinations. In the end, I found myself boarding a plane alone. While my parents weren’t so thrilled with the idea (sorry dad), I discovered something: solo travel is awesome!
One of the best parts about solo travel is that you get to meet so many different people. No matter where the area, I always stayed in hostels because a) they were cheap, and b) you had a better chance of meeting people than you would at a hotel. You’ll find that most people are friendly and always look for other people to have fun with. Staying in a hostel definitely does help fight the loneliness when it crept up on me, and it taught me about different cultures.
Another reason solo travel is worthwhile is that you get to see what you want to see at the pace you want to see it. I’m a power tourist. If I only have 48 hours in a city, I’m going to want to see as much as possible. The good part about being by myself is that I don’t feel like I have to compromise this by slowing down for someone else or that I am annoying them by wanting to see too much. You don’t have to check to make sure your every move is okay with anyone else. If you want to have a kebab instead of traditional food, it’s not a problem!
By traveling by yourself, you also learn about independence and responsibility. You can choose where to go and what to do without needing anyone’s permission. You’re like a bird in the big, blue sky. For some, it can be a big step; for others, more of an extension of their current independence. By the same token, you also have to learn to be responsible. You have to be on time for your flights, know the rules for entering a country, and watch your own stuff (ALWAYS be wary of pickpockets, folks). You no longer have a parent or sibling to help look out for you. It’s all you and only you. At first, this can be a lot to handle, but it definitely better prepares you for life after university.
Hands down, the number one reason solo travel is awesome is that you get to discover who you really are when there’s no one around. When it’s just you; no friends, no family, no roommates, no classmates, you may find out something about yourself you’ve never noticed before. My solo trips allowed me to discover three key things about myself. First of all, I am perfectly okay with being alone. I don’t feel the need to constantly surround myself with people and I enjoy that empowerment. Second of all, I walk way too much. I averaged between 8-9 miles a day on my trips and sometimes walked to the point of pain. In my most recent trip to Berlin, I had the worst blisters ever from walking too much. Lastly, I just love to overall travel. I love history, old buildings, and boarding a plane to discover the world. If you decide to solo travel a bit yourself, you may be surprised about what you discover. On that note, we always endorse safe travel and complete awareness of all surroundings. Always be careful while exploring a new country.
Sources: all pictures used in this piece are owned and provided by the author, Alessandra Pasquale.