I’ve always been an extrovert. I am most comfortable and thrive when I am surrounded by other energetic people. I’ve never been one to do much alone. Besides the occasional solo studying, reading, or gaming alone, I’ve always surrounded myself with others. So when it came to the second half of spring break, I was a little nervous to spend 10 days touring Europe alone. I had the experience of a lifetime traveling around on my own, and really got to experience the pros and cons of traveling solo.
- Money: Obviously one of the best things about traveling alone is spending your money when you want to. You choose the restaurants you want to eat at, what attractions to spend your money on, and modes of travel. Because you are budgeting to your solo wants and needs.
- Scheduling: Similar to money, it can be a blessing to do what you want, when you want while traveling. You choose what you want to see and how long you want to see it. It can be great and relaxing to be able to decide what kind of day you want to have, and not having to entertain what others want to do.
- Food: You get the whole basket of bread to yourself. You want dessert? No one is there to take a bite of it away from you. You get to eat whatever you are craving, no need to make a group decision on food.
- Travel: I’m a fan of the overnight bus while traveling. Cheap transport and is cheaper than getting a hotel for the night. I know this isn’t everyone’s preferred choice of travel, but it works for me and it was nice being able to set my own travel schedule.
- Meals: Being able to eat what you want, when you want is awesome. However, eating alone can be… well… lonely. The occasional solo meal can be refreshing, there’s only so many times you can read a book or look over the menu before solo meals get to be way too quiet for comfort.
- Sharing Opportunities: I saw so much while traveling. So many iconic places and so many treasures off the beaten path. It was fulfilling and memorable seeing all these things, but everywhere I went made me think of someone I know who would love being there too. I’ve got plenty of stories to tell, but less stories to share.
- Knowledge: There is only so much research and knowledge I have while traveling. I was able to peg some places I wanted to go and learn what I could, but I’m sure there are a ton of places I missed out on. While traveling with others you can sit back and relax while other people make decisions. When traveling alone, you don’t have that luxury.
- Travel: Small talk passes time. The scheduling of traveling alone is great, but if you don’t have a good book or a movie downloaded, long bus rides can be a test to your patience. Not to mention the game of chance you play with whoever sits next to you. The people you dread sitting next to include: the snorer, the leaner, the cougher, the sniffler, the crying baby, or the worst.. the stinker. Not having a good travel buddy can completely change the mood of the next day.
All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my solo travels and look forward to making the most of my remaining time here. I recommend that everyone takes some solo time to do something they want. Whether that is taking an afternoon and going to a movie or hiking alone, or traveling across Europe alone. I’ve garnered a real appreciation for how big the world is and how many different types of people and culture are out there. Traveling solo also makes you appreciate how small the world can be when surrounded by the ones you care about. Having a wonderful support system and people to tell your stories to makes the world feel small in the best possible way.
After taking this past week and just getting back into the routine of classes, I look forward to continuing the semester and making the most of what I have left. I know there will be plenty more stories to tell, and I hope you all continue to read. Until next week, Cheers!