That's the question I've been asking myself recently!
First of all, I have a confession; I don’t currently own a selfie-stick as I keep breaking them, but for the most part, I’m a “solo travel girl”, and being solo goes far beyond travel.
I generally do a lot by myself as I just enjoy my own company. However, over the past few years (with all this growth and all), I have been putting in effort into being more social and engaging in more group activities. Surprisingly being “Social Shanya” is also fun.
My friend and I were recently talking about our upcoming vacation plans, and she mentioned that she might be able to join me on my trip, and I got excited about that possibility -I haven’t traveled with another person since my birthday in 2016. My excitement resonated with me even after our conversation, which led me to the question, I love solo travel, but am I growing tired of going alone?
Am I tired of asking strangers to take my pictures, dining alone, paying more for tours, and sometimes even completely missing out on tours (because they require at least two people)? Am I tired of paying more for transportation, hotels and having conversations with randoms? I usually don’t stay out late at night and I always have to take my entire luggage to the airport bathrooms, as I never have anyone to look over them for me. Really, am I growing tired of it all?
I think of all the money I could save on these trips and the nicer hotels I could stay at if I were splitting the bill with someone; of the many cool pictures I could have taken if someone else were around, and the crazy nights and adventures my friends and I could reminisce about, if we actually travelled together. I’m beginning to wonder, are the perks of solo travel all worth it?
I buy plane tickets, change or cancel them if I have to; my trips are usually very “wing it” styled, flexible and a bit of a hot mess. I owe it all to the fact that I travel alone. Would I have it any other way?
I’ve booked my ticket, I have no plans, and only two nights hotel stay. Let’s see how it goes from there- winging it, as usual! 2018 is going to be a great year for travel and living!
Till then, here are some of the reasons why I love traveling alone, and you should too!
1. No Pressure, No Worries: Sometimes when traveling with others, you may feel a pressure to have a fun and epic trip- especially if you planned it. You may ask yourself, did I pick the right cities, are the hotels good enough, what about the itinerary, or the fact that you might not have a set one? Being a travel solo girl means that you can embark on your vacation with no pressure, no stress and no expectations!
2. Flexible A.F: Maybe you planned on going island hopping the next day, but woke up next morning and decided to choose another activity, or to move on to another city, guess what? You can just change your mind without ever considering what the other person on the trip wants, because there is no other person! You are on your own beat, on your own timing- free to be as consistently indecisive as you’d like!
3. Mood Swings: I have them, and I love that I don’t have to be around others when one hits me while on vacation. I’m sure that you also have them too, it’s a part of life, especially a part of #womanhood. No travel pal = no one to make your mood swings worse.
4. Whiners (not-so-anonymous): It’s probably the thing I hate most about traveling with others. I can’t take the whining! I think this is self-explanatory, and you know you hate it too…unless you’re one of them! Haha Sorry?
5. Rich Bitch: Maybe you can’t afford to go all out on a luxurious trip, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t want to indulge in some “rich bitch” shit along the way. Traveling alone means that you can, whenever you want to, as you avoid the other person on your trip saying that they can’t afford to “live it up” with you.
6. Picture Perfect- As a solo traveler, you are going to need to ask strangers to take your pictures (unless you’re ok with only selfie stick shots). Strangers have taken my best travel pictures! You can make it easy on them and yourself, if you just have three poses that work! Line up your shot, jump in the frame, 1,2,3 strike and presto- awesome vacation pictures created! #vacaflex
7. Reflection- Probably my favorite thing about traveling alone is the quiet time that I get and use for reflection. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I really know who I am, and throughout my life I’ve taken the time to learn more about and work on me. Traveling alone has opened me up to a new level of self-exploration, and I’m sure that you can also attest to that if you’ve journeyed solo.
8. Live a Little- Going alone makes you a lot more open-minded, and this transformation has happened quite organically for me. If you were traveling with someone else, it would probably make it a bit harder to be open to new experiences and a little more hesitant to try something daring.
What if your travel companion doesn’t want to try and also convinces you not to, or you think that they may judge you as what you would like to do is out of character for you. As a solo traveler you never have to worry about these things and the judgment that may follow you back home! I’m not saying that you should whore out on your trip, but I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t, because you know what they say, what happens in Vegas...
9. New Ones- I love my Day Ones to death, but traveling solo is a great way to meet great people, and some of these souls may even become your friends. I think the coolest thing about making friends that live all around the world is that you can also visit them in their hood and get a real local experience of a city. #freeaccomodation! Haha just kidding!
I met the most amazing lady from Israel on my El Nido trip named Sarah; a 79-year-old retired policewoman, now fashion designer, who was on vacation with her 85-year-old husband. They both had great style and were as active and energetic as anyone else on the tour! We were on a boat, and they were jumping into the water, snorkeling, and doing everything else that we young people were all doing. Sarah told me that they had visited over 25 countries in 2017! #couplegoals
10. Go Further & Bravely- Solo travel makes you more aware, confident and comfortable with being in unfamiliar places. As time goes on, you take more travel risks, go further, and are able to calmly deal with upsets on the road.
11. EAR it out- During my trip to Boracay I witnessed the beauty in connection. Two strangers started chatting at the bar and just opened up to each other. This white American woman shared her story with a gay, South African of Indian decent, about how she was abused by her brother. She poured her heart out, and it seemed as though she just wanted someone to listen to the pain and anger it caused. She didn’t hold back, and also didn’t care who was listening #liquidcourage.
This warmed my heart, especially with all the hate, prejudice, homophobia and racism that’s still ever present in our world.
It’s what happens when you travel alone. Many times you would find yourself sharing your darkest experiences and deepest, most intimate thoughts with strangers- and that’s quite ok. You will leave your trip lighter, and maybe even inspire someone by your words.
I could go on and on, but this post is already too long! Truth is, I love solo travel, but I’ve grown to be open-minded about a lot, including spending time with others, even on the road.
Maybe at least one time this year I’ll challenge myself to make it happen. Till then, I’ll go out and buy another selfie-stick, perfect my poses and make my way on to this upcoming solo trip!
Till next time loves XX