solo travel

Why Solo Travel Rocks and Why It Sometimes Sucks

Monday, February 13, 2012Ryan Mach

They say there is no better way to experience a destination than to explore it yourself. Exploring a destination can be done with a company or (para maiba naman) alone. Going alone can be a fun and liberating experience (scary for some) but it also has a few downside. Here are some of the things I have learned and discovered from my first solo adventure in Dumaguete.

1. You're the boss. Solo travel gives you the freedom to decide where you want to go, what you want to do and how you want to do it. You have control of the schedule and no one's telling you what to do. The time you go to bed or the time you wake up is your prerogative. There is no need to rush through things and you can be more spontaneous. Your mistakes are your own, your triumph all yours.

2. You go outside your comfort zone. You go by yourself, you expand your destination choices, you fill your travel with fresh experiences. At the end of the day, you'll be amazed by the things you'll find - about yourself and a realization that your comfort zone suits you just fine.
3. Solo travel can cost more compared to traveling with friends because you have nobody to split the bills with. This is especially true when eating. On the other hand, you can decide to spend as little money on the trip as you want, without having to accommodate someone else’s budget.
4. You discover things about yourself. I didn't know I had it in me. That sort of discovery. I realized that I banked largely on the notion that people are basically good, especially in Dumaguete. I had no qualms about going to the boulevard at night, with a borrowed DSLR as my only company. When I asked a fellow traveler at the guesthouse for direction, he cautioned me that it's not safe to walk to the boulevard at dark. If it weren't for his advice, I would not have minded walking there all by myself - that's how comfortable I was.

5. You can get a little lonely. It's inevitable, especially if it's your first time to travel alone and you're not used to doing things by yourself. You eat at a restaurant brimming with people and you notice that you're the only person who's not sharing tables. There will be times too when you wish you were with a group so you could have someone to share the awesome experiences you just had. Experiencing occasional disappointment is normal. If you consider going alone, you need to get used to this and accept the fact that there'll be uncomfortable and lonely situations.
6. You are more vulnerable to health worries. On the second day of my stay at the guest house, I experienced a serious tummy problem. I was alone inside the room and I was scared. I didn't contact any friends or family about my situation, which was silly. Not advisable. Always update your loved ones regarding your whereabouts.

7. You meet people. It’s much easier to meet and to talk to locals because you are more approachable than  you are with a group. Sitting alone on a jeepney with locals makes you more likely to start a conversation with one of them.

8. In relation to Number 7, solo travel can make you less introverted. You try to strike up a conversation with people instead of waiting for them to talk to you.
9. You can be yourself. If you have a different personality that you don't get to show everyday, solo travel can give you the chance to unleash that persona. Kidding. Seriously though, you can be whoever you want to be on the road. If you're not comfortable trying new things for fear of looking silly, traveling alone is the perfect opportunity to make a fool of yourself. You'll never see these people again anyway.

10. There's this sense of empowerment that comes with traveling to a new place alone. It's liberating and intoxicating. Having a successful solo travel can make you feel like you can do anything.

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