Why Travel Solo ?

Why start to travel solo ?

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Like most people that start to travel solo, it all started when I found out that my friends and I were incapable of agreeing in a date to go on holidays. I could take the last couple of weeks of July. They could only leave in August. I wanted to do a cultural trip. They were more interested in partying and sleeping until late. I wanted to go see the north of Europe. They wanted to spend all the holidays in the beach…. Up to this point I realized a couple or things, either I was leaving by myself or I was going to lose some vacation days and ending up grumpy on a beach. Yes, noone can be grumpy on a beach, but I’d feel bad afterwards for just wasting my holidays laying on the sand.

So, deciding that I wanted to know if this type of travel was for me, I decided to start planning my first solo trip. Even though I have travelled a lot before, to both wild and to classic destinations, the respect for the unknown made me choose an “easy” destination to try and travel solo.

Choosing the destination for your first travel solo

A bit scared, but unwilling to allow that to stop me, I decided to plan a train itinerary through the centre of Europe (Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland) with an Interrail Global Pass. This type of ticket is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to visit Europe. You only need to write the name of the train you are taking, the origin and the destination, and that’s all. You can take as many trains as you want during the period of time selected when buying the ticket. It’s a great resource!

Read more about interrail tickets in this post! — Interrail, the best way to travel through Europe
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I’ve always loved history, and every time I am heading towards a new destination I try to dig a bit about the past of the country/city/town/sight I am about to meet. Germany has always been a big player in the history of Europe. First for the alliances carried on by their royal families centuries ago. Then, for their role in both World Wars. Unfortunately, when people think of Germany, they tend to focus on their worst moments only. Being the strange person I am, I decided that I wanted to travel solo in a different way. That I wanted to focus on the “romantic” part of Germany, and so, I borrowed a German guide on palaces and castles. I got my travel guides. And I started planning what became one of the best trips of my life.

Traveling solo is not always easy

Even though I has extremely excited when I started my trip, the first day was just terrible. I had barely slept that night (my flight to Prague was leaving Barcelona at 5am), I met the most hostile natives I had ever found. And I even felt in several tourist scams that led me to feel completely robbed. Back then I thought, well, let’s hope this is just because it is the first day, tomorrow will be better. And so I kept on going to my next destination hoping for the best. Let me tell you, it didn’t go any better.

It was mid July, we were at more than 40ºC and after walking one too many kilometers the previous day, half my body was in pain. Moreover, I wasn’t really enjoying the city. If there’s something that I really am is stubborn, and so, I decided to keep on for a few more days. If after that I was still not enjoying myself, I would go home and give up forever in this thing called travel solo.

And then something happened.

That night, while I was sleeping at the hostel, an enormous storm woke me up. I went to the window and enjoyed the electric and cool air getting in from the street. The rain finally made the temperatures drop and the air became breathable again. I went back to bed with a smile painted on my face.

But it has some great moments too

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Fortunately, the next morning I started to really enjoy the trip. I arrived to Berlin. The weather got better. And I finally started to appreciate the small adventure I was living through.

Traveling alone is an adventure at everybody’s hand reach. The beginning will be hard (even I, being extremely independent, have my troubles), but if you overcome that first down, it is one of the most enriching experiences anyone can have.

Travel solo also turns you into someone who can think by her(him)self. It teaches you how to completely trust your gut (somehow it’s right most of the time!). It will make you trust yourself and at same time, also be more aware of your surroundings. Also, you will be watching the world from an unadulterated lens. You will truly start to see whatever new place you are visiting.

It can help you become a better version of yourself. Travel solo also allows you to do the type of tourism you really want to do. You do not need to concede and do things that you do not want to. And you can be as selfish as you want to be. Even if you want to splurge on a fancy dinner or spend a day laying in the beach.

The interactions with the locals will always be more authentic, more realistic, when one travels alone. Also, interactions with the locals are much more prone to randomly happen: it is way more likely that someone starts talking to you in the subway if you are on your own that if you are in a group of three or four.

In any case, travel solo is a unique experience that everybody should try at least once in their lifetimes!

Why travel solo - The Solivagant Soul

12 Comments

  1. I have not traveled solo for some time now. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I had no fear. Now that I am quite a bit older I have hesitated a little on longer trips. However I in my heart I am an explorer and you have inspired my to take a leap of faith. A nice one week camping trip is on the cards for May

    • thesolivagantsoul@gmail.com

      There you go! My style of travel has evolved with the years in terms of comodity, now I prefer hotels over hostels and I try to find nicer over extremely cheap accomodations. In any case, if you loved it, you should try it again, you will fall in love with it all over again! Let me know how that camping trip goes!

  2. I agree with you. Solo travel makes you a better person. I have traveled slow across India for the past decade. Yes, as you have mentioned I have been a victim of scams as well. But then the pros have been much more than the cons. Also, for a long time I used to run from pillar to post to see it all while traveling. Off late, I prefer slow travel.

    • thesolivagantsoul@gmail.com

      I am learning a lot about travel but I still have know how to take it more slowly. I often think, you won’t come back here so you better go and visit it all! Have you seen a lot of changes in India as a solo traveler over a decade?

  3. Traveling solo certainly does have its perks and everyone really should do it at times just to find out about themselves. I have a girlfriend who travels solo and she claims she gets a “woman-tax” all the time at borders and things like that because she is alone. She says things also cost her more than they would as a couple (which she claims is because she’s a woman) but I’m thinking much of it has to do with solo traveling because I know hotel rooms and places do tend to charge more for a single traveler than a couple. But I’m curious have you experienced any of this in your solo travels? Do you feel that you sometimes pay more because you’re a woman traveling along?

    • thesolivagantsoul@gmail.com

      I have been wanting to write a post about the real cost of traveling solo for a little bit. I agree that in some cases it can be more expensive, specially en relation to accomodation but there are alternatives that can make it cheaper. Often it is possible to find hotels with single rooms at real half price, or some times you have to pay a tiny little extra. Otherwise, you can look at airbnb, or maybe staying at a private in a hostel… it requires a little bit more of research but usually you can avoid them. And at borders…. they can look at you funny, but it is less and less common every time! Tell your friend to keep on going, we will be able to educate the world at some point…!

  4. I agree with you that travelling solo is not always easy but then everything has its own pros and cons. I can relate to the situation where your friends want to party and you want to explore the city. I’ve gone through this situation. I’ve never travelled solo yet, but your post has really inspired me to do so.

  5. That’s usually how it starts! You realize it’s impossible to find same dates and here you go in the plane alone heading to adventure! What better to ask? Travelling alone can be so fun, but indeed has very difficult moments as well. Sad you fell into tourist traps. Hopefully you learn from it to be a better solo traveller, everybody makes mistakes and this will make you a better solo traveller!

  6. I agree that solo travel has its pro’s and cons, mostly I have found it to have it’s pro it’s a way to have great experiences on your terms so you can do what you want when you want and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people as well and it also makes you more alert.

  7. Solo travel is sometimes bliss and sometimes very difficult. As you have taken Interrail pass, it must be somewhat easier for you to travel alone. It is good after sometime you were comfortable in traveling alone and also you interacted with local people.

  8. I travel solo when my fiance cannot accompany me. I actually prefer traveling solo than with friends because my travel style is so different from everyone else. I’m actually traveling to Czech Republic in July so thanks for the train ticket recommendation.

  9. I have to agree with you. I too ended up on starting solo travel cause of taste differences. In the mean time, I managed to find a local group of like minded people and had some awesome trips with that group as well. Yes, solo travel has its own awesome and awful moments, but its a must-do atleast once in lifetime!

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