In October 2016 I started an adventure that would change the way of seeing travelling.
Few months ago I decided to go to Malaysia alone, for one month. I’d read thousands of great things about the experience of travelling alone and I wanted to know if it was as spectacular and magical as I’d read. I really love to travel and I wanted to live first-hand, at least once in my lifetime, how the feeling of being a solo traveller was.
After two weeks in Malaysia I decided to go back to Spain. I wasn’t able to stay one month there so I changed my flight ticket and I left the country. But don’t worry, it wasn’t a horrible experience and nothing bad happened to me, it was just that I realized that I prefer to travel with someone else and I was not enjoying as I should.
So today I’ll explain you, in my experience, the pros and cons of travelling alone. I think that in Internet there are only good and amazing things about the fact of being a solo traveller. I’ve read in many places that it’s the best way to travel and, once you try it, you will never want to stop doing it. Maybe it’s true for some people, I have to admit that you learn a lot and you live and do things you wouldn’t have done if you would had travelled with someone else; but there’s also the bad side.
I’m going to start with the cons of travelling alone, so you’ll finish the post reading the good things about it. And maybe you end up deciding to do it as well.
- Forced loneliness. When you decide to travel this way you know that you’re going to be alone many times. But there are two ways of being alone: when you prefer to stay on your own and you don’t want that people disturb you, this is the good loneliness because you choose it. And, when you want to stay with someone to share experiences and to talk with. This is the forced one, because you’re alone but you don’t want it, and sometimes it’s hard. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to show you both sides, the good and great one and the bad side. Let’s start.
- Happiness is only happiness when it’s shared. It’s true that you can enjoy a lot when you travel alone and you can be very happy (I did it). Sometimes it’s better because you can relax and take your time to visit everything and enjoy every single moment without being disturbing. But there are moments that you think it would be funnier and more exiting to share the experience with someone else.
- Photography. This is not a really bad point of travelling alone, but if you’re a freak of photography you’ll understand me. When you’re a solo traveller, no one can take good photos of you. I mean, you can use a selfie stick or you can ask someone to take a photo, but it’s not the same and you know it. I was lucky and I met a German photograph who I travelled few days with.
- Annoying looks. This often happens if you’re a girl (it could happen also with boys) and if you travel outside Europe. I have to say that this doesn’t happen everywhere and not everyone does it, but I felt quite uncomfortable when I was walking through the streets and people (usually men) looked at me and said things. I realized that when I wasn’t alone (I was with people I met there) it was much better and relaxed.
- Insecurity. This will be different depending on the country you travel to. But, personally, during my trip there were some moments that I did not feel safe. Sometimes because of the places and sometimes because of the people.
- Be aware of everything around you. The truth is that, when you travel, you always have to be aware of your belongings (bag, bag pack, mobile phone, wallet, etc.), it doesn’t matter if you’re in Malaysia or in Barcelona. But while travelling alone I felt that I had to be even more aware and, for that reason, I could not enjoy as I wanted to.
I’ve wrote all these cons from my experience, and this means that each person can handle a situation in one way or another. The same thing could be a bad thing or a positive experience, always depending on the person.
These are the pros. Despite I decided to go back home after two weeks, I learned lots of things, I enjoyed the adventure of traveling around Asia and I met many nice and amazing people.
- Absolute freedom. You can go and do whatever you want. If you want to sleep and stay at the hostel, you can do it. If you want to spend the whole day walking and sightseeing, you can do it. It’s great!
- No explanations. You don’t have to tell or ask anybody what you are going to do or why.
- Time to think. You’ll have all the time you want. You can think about lots of different things, you can meditate, thing what you want to do with your life, you can have lots of ideas, or you can just enjoy how the time passes by.
- Know yourself. You have lot of time to spend on you. You learn things about you that you didn’t know. Maybe you prefer to wake up early to sightseeing, or maybe not. Maybe you prefer to be always with someone and meet lot of new people, or maybe not. There are lots of things that you may not know about yourself and you realize it when you travel alone.
- Meet people. One of the best things, in my opinion, of being a solo traveller is that you meet lots of people from all over the world. Most of them are people who are travelling alone too, and you have lots of things to talk about. It’s so easy to talk with other people, both at the street or at the hostels, everyone who travels alone is willing to meet new people. You can even end up having a good friendship with another traveller.
- Photography. There’s also a good part of travelling alone if you like photography. You can take your time with every single photo you take. No one will tell you to leave or to be fast taking your photos.
- Learning. You’re travelling alone, so you can’t depend on anyone else. You must learn how to travel around, how to communicate with people who speak other languages, how to solve the problems you could have, etc. You go back home and you know that you’re able to do more things than you had ever imagined.
- Couchsurfing. The last thing is that, if you like to use Couchsurfing when you’re travelling, it will be easier to find a host.
After living this amazing experience, I can say that, personally, I prefer to travel with someone else.
I don’t regret having taken the decision of travelling alone. I learned lots of things and I saw many things I would have never imagined that I was going to see. One of these things is that, although I love to travel and I’m not going to stop doing it, I realized that I prefer to share these amazing experiences with someone else.
If I had to take the decision again, I would do it again, but maybe somewhere closer than Malaysia. I think this is an experience that everyone should live, at least, once in their lifetime.
If you finally decide to do it, two things could happen: you can love this way of travelling, then you’ll never stop doing it; or you prefer to travel with someone else. Don’t worry if this happens, not everybody likes to travel alone.