I always earn a lifted eyebrow, a weird look or the words “I wouldn`t be able to do that”, when I tell people, that I´m travelling by myself. This happens here in Germany as well as anywhere else. Sometimes the message is admiration, sometimes it`s the question “what`s wrong with you?” hidden between the lines. What`s true? None of it? Both? I don´t know and i don´t think it`s important. It`s not like I refuse company while travelling. I actually do enjoy meeting friends during my travels or meeting new people along the way, who I can share some travel time with. But if i`d always waited for someone, who has time and is interested in the same places, I´d probably still not have made it very far. So, I just decided to give solo travelling a shot. And I liked it. Here I´m going to try to explain, why i even enjoy it- mostly.
Yes, it was scary at the beginning. And yes, it is exhausting. Every day, I have to take care of where I m going to sleep the next night, where and what to eat, how long I m staying at one place, how and where to go next… It feels like I need to make a million little decisions each day and as many things to organize without any help. Sometimes I´m really jealous of couples or travel buddies, who are able to share this work. One figures the best way of transportation while the other one searches for accommodation.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. – George Bernard Shaw
But the freedom to decide when, where and how feels so good despite all the downsides. The decisions are all mine. No need for any compromise. I get to serve my needs and don`t have to balance them with someone else. But first of all, it is about knowing what my needs are. This could be the tricky part. Then it would be nice, to have someone who I can transfer the responsibility to. I know I tend to do so, when I´m not really sure what I want. Or sometimes it takes me forever to decide. Comparing the pros and cons, searching for the best possibility and thinking of the consequences takes a lot of time. But that´s exactly the lesson. I`m learning to decide more spontaneously, listen to my inner voice and trust it.
GETTiNG TO KNOW MYSELF
Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others. ― Charlotte Eriksson
Like most people, i have some emotional baggage I never worked on, always suppressed and successfully cover being busy with normal life. Travelling by myself offers the space to get to know myself better and to confront some of these things. There`s no one else to blame when I´m facing a difficult situation. I have to deal with myself when situations or people trigger inappropriate reactions or feelings. For example, I sometimes catch myself getting angry or showing another weird behavior, trying to cover my despair. By myself, I am able to uncover and accept my despair and helplessness, to search for the reasons and work through it. Travelling by myself helps me learning myself better, processing some deep buried stuff and letting it go.
GETTiNG TO KNOW NEW PEOPLE
We don`t meet people by accident. They are meant to pass our path for a reason.
Of course, this doesn`t mean I´m spending all the time alone. Solo travelling also means meeting more new people. It expands my horizon and makes me overcome my insecurity. Without a travel buddy, I need to ask more for help or assistance. Plus sometimes it`s just nice to have a conversation with a waitress or another traveler, who`s having dinner at the table next to mine. That`s one of the challenges I face while travelling and I oftentimes get rewarded with very interesting encounters. Like this I met many awesome people, who I would have missed otherwise! Even deep friendships started like this. It seems like it`s also easier for locals and other travelers to approach me, when I`m by myself. It`s just wonderful to experience that openness and willingness to help is deeply rooted in human nature!
BEiNG iN THE MOMENT
Being in the moment. That is what I enjoy most while travelling. And it´s way easier while travelling than at home. Why? Because everything new and unknown pulls me into the present. All senses are open and ready to perceive. In my familiar environment I tend to lose this ability, because my brain already knows everything and starts to categorize. My thoughts wander away and I start planning or keep myself busy running errands instead of being in the moment. My mind is more in the past and the future than in the present. In a new environment and by myself, nothing and nobody is distracting me and I don´t have to meet any expectations. Like this, I´m able to open my eyes and my heart to the beauty of the world, to dive into a new culture and to just live in and enjoy the moment.
To me, solo travelling means personal growth and meeting the world and myself in a very authentic way. I strongly recommend trying it!
But of course, there are also moments when solo travelling sucks. For example, there is no one to care for you when you’re sick. But it`s especially the most beautiful, impressing and happiest moments I miss someone to share and remember those moments with. Shared joy is doubled joy!