The most compelling reasons to travel solo
I wrote an article about some of the best reasons to travel round-the-world alone (versus traveling with a companion). My post is located here: why travel alone, but I will provide the full text in this thread. What do you guys think -- have I left anything important out? Or do you have any arguments to the contrary? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Why Travel Alone – The Top Six Reasons to Embrace Solo Travel
There are advantages and disadvantages to traveling solo versus traveling with companions, and it is certainly worth your while to try both styles of travel. All too often, however, people’s travel experiences are very lopsided in this regard. Most people I’ve met travel exclusively with their companions and have not given solo travel a try. This is a mistake, because solo travel is one of the most exhilarating, enriching, and personally challenging experiences you can have.
So why travel alone? If you haven’t given solo travel a try, I seriously recommend that you do. Consider some of the following reasons why traveling alone is totally awesome:
1. Meeting fellow travelers: There are plenty of characters when you’re out there on the travel scene. In fact, some of the most interesting people I’ve met were fellow travelers. These people often have rare knowledge, a great sense of humor, a unique state of mind, and experience traveling to far-flung corners of the world. Just talking to them upgrades your knowledge and challenges your old ways of thinking. However, if you are already traveling with a companion, it is sometimes more difficult to socialize with new people. The tendency, instead, is to stick with your friends, so you may be less likely to mingle with others.
2. Befriending local people: In most countries you will visit, local people are extremely interested in speaking with you. However, if you are already engaged in conversation with a friend, local people may be hesitant to strike up a conversation. This is unfortunate, because the opportunity to befriend a local can give you huge insight into the country you’re visiting and help you to really understand the underlying culture. In many cases, you will be invited for dinner, meet the local person’s family or friends, and may even be invited to stay at a person’s house. By spending time with a local, you can gain a unique and unforgettable experience that the majority of travelers simple never have.
3. Having total freedom: When you travel alone, you’ve got the freedom to do what you want, when you want to. This includes what date of departure you choose, the countries you plan to visit, the activities you engage in, the foods that you eat, the time you wake up every day, and so many other aspects of travel. It is also a much more efficient mode of travel, as any decision you make can be executed immediately. You need not consult with others or compromise.
4. Learning new languages: If you travel with companions or as part of a group, you will probably be less motivated to practice the local language or you will have fewer opportunities to do so. This would be to your detriment, because aside from befriending English-speaking locals, another gateway to understanding a culture is by learning its language. Locals that speak English well tend to be of an upper or more privileged class of people, so improving your language skills allows you to interact with more ordinary folks, giving you a more accurate perception of the country. Furthermore, local people usually love and respect travelers who try to speak their language, so your language efforts can greatly improve your overall travel experience.
5. Rising to the challenge: Being alone in a foreign country makes you vulnerable and forces your mind to work in a heightened state of awareness. You have to develop street smarts, assertiveness, and a healthy level of skepticism about everything people tell you. After some time, you will become a much stronger person and will be amazed at your ability to deal with difficult situations completely on your own. Suddenly, the obstacles and hurdles you previously dealt with in your workplace and in your life seem but trifling matters compared to the everyday travel tribulations that you navigate with ease. Simply put, traveling alone is a huge character builder.
6. Observations and Insights: When you travel alone, you are not distracted by your friend’s amusing asides or the usual banter. Instead, you have the opportunity to observe completely the foreign world that is unfolding around you. You will notice minute details and will become attuned to the invisible mood that permeates a place. In addition, traveling alone allows you more time to reflect on the day’s experiences and you will often reach epiphanies about the nature of the foreign culture and your own.
For the sake of objectivity, I would also mention advantages of traveling with a companion - which would be disadvantages of solo travel, for example:
1. Having a person near you who shares your views on the world and things with whom you can discuss what you see in new places
2. Having someone to help if you fall sick
3. Having someone to watch your luggage in the airport while you go to the WC
cybermutiny wrote:Relax busman, I posted the list to get some feedback on my thoughts. Most people like lists because they are easy to skim and get the gist of quickly.
You are likely correct in the statement about most people liking lists. Guess that's why BNA has substituted real articles with some meat in them for the innumerable list articles. The reason I never visit the article page.
Guess in this day n age of the 15 second news bite kids no longer have the attention span to sit down & read a real article containing useable information! Sad really!
BTW no feedback as I don't read list articles.
The Solo Travel Alternative: 5 Reasons to Travel with a Friend
Although there are many advantages to traveling alone, solo travel isn’t perfect. To travel with a friend has its own unique advantages as well, and it would simply be unfair for this blog to ignore such advantages. Even if you’re an avid, steadfast, gung-ho solo traveler, there’s a lot to love about traveling with a good friend. Behold some of the following reasons why you should totally consider traveling with a companion (or two, or three):
1. Traveling just got a hell of a lot easier: When you’re traveling with a friend, life suddenly becomes much simpler. You always have another person to discuss travel plans with and bounce ideas off of. You’ve got a reliable shoulder to cry on (if you’re a woman), or a shoulder to punch (if you’re a guy). You can share stories, chop up game, and get talked out of (or into) bad decisions. You’ve got someone to watch your bag when you go to the bathroom, and you’ve got a person to take care of you should you fall ill. However, when you’re traveling alone you’re missing out on this constant companionship, and travel life can be a bit more difficult.
2. You’ve got instant bargaining power: If you’re a lone person traveling, your ability to bargain for food, accommodation, goods and services is severely diminished. As soon as you travel with at least one other person, however, your bargaining power multiplies as shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and street hawkers become more willing to bring prices down in the hopes of making a bigger sale. If you travel with even more people, your bargaining power reaches incredible proportions. This is part of the genius of Israeli travelers, who you will often see collaborating in packs of 10 or more people to try to secure dirt-cheap prices for transportation or travel activities.
3. Taxis and accommodation are cheaper: Some services are automatically cheaper because your’e splitting the costs with your friend. For example, every time you arrive in a new city and need to take a taxi or rickshaw service, you can halve the costs with a friend. And unless you sleep exclusively in shared dormitories, traveling with a companion is cheaper because you can share the price of a room together. Imagine spending less money on sleeping and more money on awesome meals or drinks – solo travelers definitely get the short end of the stick in this regard.
4. You feel safer, more secure and more confident: It’s midnight. Imagine walking alone down a dark alleyway on your way back to your hostel. You definitely feel the adrenaline rush and watch your back like your life depends on it, literally. Now imagine you’re walking down that same alleyway with three or four wild, loud, rambunctious travelers who are laughing and shouting up a storm. Would-be muggers, rapists, scam artists, and criminals are definitely going to think twice about messing with you when you’re traveling with friends.
5. You can share resources: When you travel with a friend, you only need to bring one first aid kit, one swiss army knife, one bottle of insect repellent, or one package of sunscreen. Whether it involves sharing personal items or sharing snacks together, traveling with a friend allows you to save space in your luggage or save money on the items that you buy on the road.
(originally from Reasons to travel with a friend)
It was really worth reading and a good language.
Hating or liking list articles is a personal thing, it is just how your mind prefers to work. A nice and structured list can be much more persuasive than raw text (imho).
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