My most recent journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway, was done completely as a solo traveller. I have zero regrets about doing this trip on my own. It’s something that I needed to do and I’ve built up a lot of courage doing it. Now, bear with me a minute this might get a little corny….
Solo travelling is amazing. It’s good for you. You can do what you want, when you want. There’s no restrictions, judgements or compromises. After travelling alone it can be a little difficult to do it with someone else again – you get used to being a bit selfish and working on your own timeline.
For me, doing this trip was a challenge to myself. A few years ago I had a lot of problems with being on my own. More than a few hours with my own thoughts left me in a bad way and I was scared to branch out and fly solo. A lot of people have said that I’ve been very brave doing this trip and sometimes I do feel brave but sometimes I don’t. This journey has told me what I needed it to. If I can travel 9000 miles in 3 weeks on my own, I can pretty much do anything… even if it’s a bit scary and lonely at times.
When I planned this trip I was totally flying solo and knowing that I was leaving Hong Kong meant that I was intending on keeping this the case. Then a boy came along who made it worth reconsidering. I expected to deal with some homesickness for both sides of the globe on this trip, I expected to process leaving my home of three years and I expected to come to terms with leaving some of the best friends I’ve ever had behind. This was all in the planning notes. I did not expect there to be the start of a long-distance relationship in the mix. I haven’t let it affect the time that I’ve had and I don’t for a minute wish it hadn’t started but it has made me do some thinking about this ‘solo travel’ head that I have on at the moment.
Everyone needs to travel on their own. Whether it’s nipping a couple of hours down the road to see that exhibition no one else will go to or a relaxing break where you barely leave the hotel. Not every solo trip has to be across the globe with just a backpack and a passport – though I’d highly recommend it. Solo travelling is good for your mind, body and soul and you’ll learn a lot about the world, people and yourself. For me, personally, I think the key to solo travelling is to not let it consume you. Since travelling alone, I’ve found myself getting a little agitated and frustrated when travelling with others – I don’t think this is a good habit at all. I tell myself it’s because I’m so confident now doing my own thing and knowing what I want but that’s a pretty rubbish excuse really. If this trip has taught me anything it’s that it’s one thing to travel on your own and build your confidence and have adventures (that’s great!) but it’s another to be able to travel confidently with someone else and to have someone to share the experience with. For every moment I’ve been so proud of myself for doing it alone, there’s been another moment where I wished there was someone to watch a sunset with or laugh at me making a mistake. And there’s only so many selfies in front of buildings you can take before you start to feel like a dick.
So if you’re thinking about doing that solo trip, do it! Say yes and don’t look back. But if you’re lucky enough to have someone to share it with, give that a go too. You never know which will end up being the biggest adventure!