Travelling solo can be a challenge but there are so many perks and advantages to embarking on a new journey alone. The key is not to be afraid and embrace the freedom. The challenges along the way will allow you as an individual to grow and learn more about the cultural surroundings as well as the people which inhabit the places you visit. Travelling alone gives you the freedom to make your own plans when you want and allow you to be completely spontaneous depending on what your in the mood for the moment you wake up!

 

I began my first travel trip alone when I was 18 years old, in India. Although encountering some tricky situations such as money loss, language barriers and illness, it is possible to learn from these encounters and judge situations more easily thereafter. The key to stay safe is to analyze situations and take a risk if by moral judgment the sincerity of what you are about to do seems adequate.

 

I have encountered many people during my travels who have become frustrated with their travel partner due to varying interests. The beauty about travelling alone is that you have a chance to be selfish in a positive way of making decisions to suit you. Yes, travelling alone can be lonely at times when you are in a remote area but being solo encourages you to make the most out of an experience and make the effort to get to know the locals as well as other travelers.

 

You will meet people in every hostel doing similar trips as you, which will allow philosophical conversations as well as advise on future places to visit. I previously travelled China for three and a half months. One week I spent commuting with a Dutch traveller, two of the weeks I was with a group of Italians. I never felt alone. When I needed company I spent long nights engaging in conversation with like-minded individuals from all over the world, many people of which I have kept in touch with. Whenever I wanted to be alone and independent, I could be by moving on to the next city, the next beach, the next remote area or countryside location. Having time to oneself as well as meeting so many inspiring people can be very refreshing.

 

Another plus to journeying solo is the sense of achievement. It can be a challenge finding the right bus route to go to the next location or taking long trips which exhaust. But ultimately you will feel a sense of freedom and accomplishment of having travelled from the north to the south of a country alone.

 

The key is to be organized; having personal documents safe and ready, prior checking which visas you will need, clothing according to the weather conditions, health and travel insurance as well as a first aid kit for the journey. A good guidebook is vital and the courage to adapt to situations and asses situations even if problematic.

 

Although I do not discourage travelling with someone, travelling alone can give you liberty, self-determination and will allow you to contemplate and experience the country of interest in full swing. I advise everybody to give it a go; everybody can do it with the right responsibility, positive mindset and outlook on life.

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Sarah Falkenberg-Hassan
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