Let me tell you a real story. I was climbing up a challenging mountain on my own but the route was quite popular so often you would bump into fellow hikers. I met a group and chatted with one guy about my lonely endeavour. The next moment (after 3-4 tedious hours to be precise) I saw the same group but this time three (OK I will say it ladies) were lagging behind. No gentleman to accompany them, they were waiting hundreds of meters ahead. Quarrelling and angry remarks have replaced the sweet conversations. I was thinking to my mischievous self “how can you go on such a long trail alone?” , eh, now who is the winner.
- Keeping up to your own pace: How many times have you organised a trip in the countryside or in a European capital only to be awarder with grumble and constant nagging? When you are travelling alone you know your tempo, strengths and weaknesses. Visiting all the attractions in one day becomes attainable and then you can concentrate on the things you want to try.
- Flexibility: Abrupt change of plan? No worries you can sleep everywhere you have your tent with you. Spontaneity is tapping you on your shoulder so don’t waive it away.
- Increased self-confidence: “Hey, I got back from ........ (non civilized country) and I survived and saw this and that and tried that weird food...” By the time you stop embellishing you will realise deep in your heart you are in fact not the same shy person that left this city. The unknown does not scare you, anymore.
- Character mismatch: Some of your buddies may be great for a beer but when it comes to travelling in a new city you see they have a terrible habit you have to put up with (snoring). When you travel solo you avoid getting into high - tension situations.
- Meet the locals: The best way to strike a conversation is politely asking about the local traditions or customs. Some of the people will be quite willing to share the knowledge of their ancestors. (Side note: of course it varies from culture to culture – Northern Europe is a bit more reserved compared to the Southern parts)
- Orientation: Everybody gets lost from time to time. Your friend or fiancée may get a brilliant idea how to get to the destination.
- Pay more: Couples and groups sometimes get discounts easier for variety of stuff – public transport, accommodation, rent-a-car, etc.
- Risky: Nobody to rely on in case of emergency.
- Security: it can be tricky, especially for solo women travellers. Somebody may argue that men are also vulnerable. Let’s face it we live in dangerous times – one has to wonder whether the megapolis is more secure than the green fields.
- Lack of Entertainment: your companion or wife/husband will not let you feel boredom. In a different environment people try to be more open-minded and show their inner self (in my case the inner beast). You would miss all this if you are on your own, though.
Feel free to expand the list. What kind of traveller are you?