The Best Things About Traveling Alone
1. It’s always a judge-free zone. Gelato before dinner, yes please.
2. Traveling is my new form of meditation. When I am walking alone, I focus on my breath and try to let go of all the other thoughts.
3. I feel stronger. I feel extremely independent and proud that I can navigate around cities that I didn’t even know how to pronounce until I stepped foot in them.
5. I can spend as much or as little money as I want. It’s my budget, so I don’t need to conform to the restraints of anyone else's wallet .
6. I have time to read, listen to music, and write. Since I often eat alone, I spend this time journaling or reading. I now seek out cafes that have piles of books and enjoy a leisurely tea or crêpe.
An underground cafe in Aix en Provence I spent 3 hours in reading and savoring a Nutella crêpe
I talk to strangers more than ever when I’m alone, which means I make wonderful new friends from around the world almost everyday.
New friends I met in Altea, Spain at a yoga center.
8. I try new things constantly. When I am with friends, we often fall into a pattern or routine. This is not the case when I am solo.
9. I don’t drink much. I’m not a big drinker, so I don’t miss being peer pressured to chug a beer.
10. I have complete freedom. Tomorrow I could take a flight to Iceland and climb a glacier if I wanted to. I absolutely love the feeling that the entire world can be my trail to blaze.
Made friends at a hostel in Alicante, Spain and we adventured to the top of the Santa Bárbara Castle
The Worst Things About Traveling Alone
1. No one can watch my suitcase when I have to go to the bathroom. This is by far my least favorite thing about traveling solo. Having to lug a suitcase to a small bathroom stall sucks. The fact that this is my number #1 complaint shows that traveling solo really isn’t all that bad…
2. I have to navigate 24/7. Sometimes I want another person to take a hold of Google Maps and steer me towards a delicious meal-but that will always be my job.
3. It gets lonely at night. This can happen even when I am traveling with a group, I know from experience. However, I know that I always feel better in the morning.
4. Swimming at the beach is hard. No one is there to watch my purse or clothes. I have now mastered a lounging position with my purse as a pillow and my feet in the water. It’s quite a talent.
I had a lovely Airbnb host that took me to a secret beach on the Côte Bleue
5. Going out is tricky. Sometimes I want to have a wild night, but as a safety precaution, I never have more than 1 drink if I am alone. I prefer to keep my awareness especially when I’m in a new city late at night.
6. Sometimes I want to cry, and my best friends are thousands of miles away. Thank god for Skype, is all I can say about this.
7. I can’t share food. For example, in Spain, tapas and paella are best with a group. I want to eat all the things, but that’s pricey alone.
I specifically hunted for a paella place that would serve 1 person in Valencia (usually there is a 2 portion minimum). I then devoured the entire thing.
8. Hostels and Airbnb’s can get tiring. Sometimes it’s nice to be with people you know and you don’t have to tiptoe around at night (or hear teenagers vomiting at 4am in a hostel).
9. Staircases are my nemesis on travel days. Having a buddy to help move a suitcase up the stairs is definitely appreciated.
10. I miss my friends and family. Being alone makes me so grateful when I return to those I love or meet up with friends along the route.
After being alone for weeks, meeting up with a wonderful friend in the Alps was absolute heaven. I appreciated the effortless friendship we have rather than the effort of starting a new friendship more than I knew before.
Before I started this trip, I had intense anxiety and almost canceled it 4 times. But as soon as I embarked on my first flight, that anxiety vanished. It was replaced with a lightness I hadn’t felt in months. I am thankful for the meditative state travel puts me in. Transit days are often some of my favorite times to reflect on my favorite aspects of my journey and life.
The beauty of solo traveling is that you can meet people who could change your life as you turn the corner of an unexplored city. My first day traveling alone, I met a wonderful woman from England who shared with me incredibly touching advice.
She told me, “Travel now. Be on your own now because you know what? I got married at 39, and I loved being married. Absolutely loved it. But my husband died 5 years ago, and now traveling alone is much harder. Because I know what I am missing and who I miss being with. So go travel.”
I am so grateful for the experiences and people who have impacted me along this journey and know that this is just the beginning.
If you have been considering traveling alone and are freaked out, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com!