Cenote diving in the Yucatan, Mexico, hiking up Mt. Rinjani, Lombok, camping for a week in Yosemite, California, or maybe it’s K-Pop fan-stalking around Seoul, Korea - you’ve got your bucket list all planned out and long weekends checked. The only thing left to do is find the right travel buddy.
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Now, who else is going to be as versatile as you are, with the same budget, same availability and most importantly, the same hunger for adventure?
Chances are, this part of the planning may take quite a while to materialise.
Unless... you do it solo!
The thought of traveling alone may seem a little intimidating at first, but it can also be the best thing you could do for yourself. Yes, you’ve heard that one before. That’s probably because there are plenty of people who have forged that path and shared their thoughts on why traveling alone can be good, but here are OUR five favourite reasons to travel alone. Trust us, they’re good!
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No need to wait for the “perfect travel buddy”. Just pack your bags, book your first solo ticket with Mayflower, and go! It doesn’t stop there. For every decision you need to make along the way, you’re the only one who needs to be okay with it. No holds barred. So if you think it’s a better idea to save on that airport taxi fare and take the local bus (even if it takes twice the amount of time and effort), you can be sure no one else is going to mind. Quickest decision ever.
There’s only one way to gain confidence in something, and that’s by just doing it (thanks Nike!). When you travel alone, there’s no one else to do things for you. It’s all you and it’s all good. Oh you’re a shy person but now you need to ask directions in a foreign language? Do it once, and you’ll find it isn’t so bad after all. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed if you mess up because the only people witnessing are those you may never meet again. Who knows, you may come home a different person after just three days of doing that repeatedly. Never underestimate what your travel experiences can do for you. Overcoming challenges alone while traveling may help you deal with greater challenges you’re facing in life back home.
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We may not call “asking directions” a “talent”, but finding ways to get freebies along the way probably counts as one! Free wifi, free water refills, free walking tours, free bus rides, free food, and before you know it, you’ll be that “Good Deal Guy” that all your friends can count on to get the best deals. What we’re saying is, traveling alone lets you discover abilities you never knew you had. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself too - like how you’re actually a pretty resourceful (not frugal) person. Well done. :)
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There is only so much you can understand about the world from watching videos on your laptop or the news on TV. Most of the time, what you see only portrays one angle of reality. It’s time you gained a better perspective of what’s out there, and the best way to do it is to visit those places yourself and experience those cultures for what they truly are. Korea has so much more to offer than its K-Pop music and K-Drama filming locations. India is so much more than its famed congested streets and dusty sunsets. And yes, there is definitely more to Malaysia than its irresistibly delicious food.
Beyond a change of perspective, you’ll also have the opportunity to expand your worldview because traveling solo gives you the space to really absorb the environment around you. You’re not going to be caught up in a conversation with your friend, and be influenced by the thought patterns you’re familiar with from home. You’re going to be introduced to a whole new way of thinking if you allow yourself to be fully focused on what’s happening in the present. This experience isn’t something that can be read about in books or taught by someone else. It will be something that no one else can give you. It will be fully yours.
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Finally, with everything you’re experiencing for the first time as a solo traveler, you’ll also have the space and time to process the events of your day and create something out of it.
It could mean walking slower than usual with your camera, just to capture that perfect moment where smiles are exchanged between a merchant and his customer at Morrocan market. It could mean hiking up New Zealand’s Routeburn track and spending an hour or two with your brushes and paint to appreciate nature in all its raw beauty through art. When the day comes to an end, you’ll have all the time in the world to spend penning your thoughts and experiences into your travel journal without a single distraction.
By the end of your journey, you would have made a neat collection of precious photographs, paintings, and one-of-a-kind stories to bring home and share with your family and friends. Now, isn’t that something to be proud of.
If these reasons aren’t enough to convince the talkative-extrovert part of you that needs company all the time, there is still hope yet! Because as they say, you’re never really alone if you can make friends along the way. Who knows, you might end up meeting your perfect travel buddy at the other end of the flight when you’re on your next solo travel. Now, go make it happen!