There are so many posts, articles, quotes and blogs that discuss the wonderment of traveling alone. I have heard from many people just how amazing it is to be off exploring by yourself, how you “find yourself” when you’re traveling by your lonesome. I don’t doubt that some people consider international solo trips very fulfilling but I can confidently say that I am not one of them.
Many times, I have felt guilty when discussing that I prefer trips with friends or family than I do to traveling by myself. Now-a-days being a solo traveler is trendy and cool and people want to prove they are independent enough to not only take a trip alone, but also to ENJOY a trip alone. Well, I believe that there is nothing wrong with owning up to the fact that I think trips alone suck. I always feel less safe, less enthusiastic, less adventurous and less happy when I am traveling alone. And guess what, that is totally OK!
I have only spent a few days here and there traveling by myself, mainly due to friends and I have different flights or trains. It’s not that I found my time alone completely awful, it’s just that I believe one of the best parts of traveling is who you are sharing the experiences with. Scenery is prettier when you can admire it with your best friend, castles are more interesting when exploring them with your partner, food tastes better when the meal is accompanied by the laughter from your family. Humans are naturally social beings so it only makes sense that trips are more enjoyable when shared.
Another element to solo travel is the issue of safety and security. It is sad that currently woman face far more issues traveling alone than men do, but it is just a truth of our world. Whenever I have traveled alone I feel far more exposed than I do when I am in either a couple or a group. When traveling, the ideology of “safety in numbers” is a very real thing that I myself have experienced. It sucks but there are many men (and women) out there in the world that see a young, white, American woman alone and view her as the prime target. Luckily, I have never faced a real life-threatening issue when traveling solo but I have been harassed by men and looked at in a very demeaning way. I have never faced problems such as those when traveling in a couple or a group.
I am a person that appreciates travel more when I verbalize it. I enjoy talking about what I am seeing, it makes the experience feel more real and genuine. If I am in Austria, atop a hill, looking out at a beautiful city scape I want to look over to my friends and not only see their reaction, but to talk to them about the beauty we are witnessing. Watching a sunset in a foreign place is a lovely thing, but watching it with a friend, partner or family member by your side? An AMAZING thing.
So, to all those solo travelers out there loving life, I applaud you! Many times I have wished I could be like you. But for now, I will stick to packing my backpack and hitting the road with my best friends, my fiancé or my family. For me, traveling is so much better shared.