I love to travel, and I have found that there are multiples ways to do it. Every trip I have taken have been conditioned by the ways I have decided to do it, and I know that if I changed just one condition in any trip, it will change completely.
Five years ago I finally got all the money that I needed to go to Europe. I had a perfect time and I wasn’t going to be able to go in other dates, so I decided to go alone, something that my mother didn’t think was great, but I was completely decided to go by myself. I have to confess I really enjoy solitude, I feel peaceful and calm when I’m alone. I’m not a complete hater (just a little), I enjoy also a lot the time with my friends and family, but I have this crazy idea that you have to be happy alone, to be able to be happy in any circumstances, and sometimes being alone in home is more difficult than when you are discovering new things.
So this where the nicest things I had on my trips alone.
You don’t have to do allowances
When you’re going to a new place there are going to be a thousand things you really want to do or see, then there will be some you want to do, and some you can do it if you have time, and other you have no interest at all. I had no interest in going to the Cathedral in Milan, but I really wanted to go to the Leonardo da Vinci museum, and finally, I was able to do both, because the museum was very little, but it would be terrible if I wasn’t able to go to the museum.
When you travel with someone you have to make concessions, sometimes go where you want and sometimes go where the other want. When you travel alone you decided everything, you can go wherever you want at any time, stop, keep going, have a beer, keep going, go with your flow. And you are able to enjoy every detail of what really interests you during all the time you want, and if something is not interesting anymore you can just go.
You’re going to be alone
I know being alone is not what everybody wants, but is a very important thing to do to know yourself and find new things that you normally wouldn’t find. It gives you time to understand different points of view, and I think when you are around unknown people it matters less if you make mistakes. People are always saying that you shouldn’t care for what other thinks about you, but the truth is getting at that point is not that easy.
When you’re with your friends walking with all the flow and suddenly you fall, everybody is going to laugh, and that moment, probably, is going to be embarrassing for you. But when you’re walking with all the flow in a street where nobody knows you, and you fall, and nobody is laughing, and you have to stand up alone, and realize it is super funny and laugh at yourself. And this is liberating.
You will have to talk to yourself
Traveling is not only getting to know new places, is about learning new stuff, and seeing different points of view, and not all is a nice thing to watch. If you are alone on your trip you will have only your opinion about anything you approach, and you will have plenty of time to understand what everything you are seeing means to you. Do you really enjoy the Eiffel Tower? Was it completely overrated the Ponte Vecchio in Florence? Do you really like the paella? Nobody will merge in your opinion, it will be yours and only yours, and when you come back home and talk to your friends about your travel, they will know about your travel and what was nice for you, and not what you are supposed to feel.
It also means, that you will really have to talk to yourself about everything, is not always easy to make friends (I’m really bad at it) so you will be eating a lot of times alone, and that means thinking about anything. Sometime you will find owns opinions that are not what you expected, and that will lead you to know more of yourself.
You will meet new people
I’m not a people person, I’m quite shy, and really I don’t like to talk to strangers. But after 3 days of talking only to me, I find the need to talk to another human being, I never think that was going to happen. In all my trip I manage to stay in places from friends of friends or Couchsurfing, which was really nice.
I met people from the places I was visiting and they always have great advice on where to go. In Rome, I stay with Mauro, a Couchsurfing guy, who every day show me a different place to go that wasn’t in a normal travel guide. He also shows me different plates of traditional Italian food.
In the train from Milan to Venice I was sitting next to a guy that help me taking up my bags, and we start talking. He was a member of a very interesting organization (Slow Food), I never ask for his name, but it was a very good conversation that showed me some perspective on a subject that I’m not that in to. Since I never asked for his name, I wasn’t able to talked to him again, but the story remains, and the nice time on a long trip too.
You will learn to take some awesome selfies
You may hate selfies, but if your traveling alone it’s the only way to have some pictures of yourself in the places. So you find out it’s not that bad to take them. Also, learn to ask strangers to take pictures of you in exchange for you taking pictures for them. You also learn to be in the pictures in creatives ways, mirrors are great. I now always take pictures of the floor with my feet on it.
But is also great that, seems you can’t be in the picture, you take fewer pictures and enjoy more the place you are in.