Opinion

Solo travel, because it’s so much better

By Harriet Piercy

Published Nov 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you have anything along the lines of a bucket list, then what are you waiting for? I hope it’s not for an accomplice to hold your hand while you tick the list off, because you may be waiting a very long time for one of those. The thing is, you aren’t going to do or see any of the things you want to unless you literally, just do it. Anyway, where is that ‘fuck it’ attitude that we all have hidden away somewhere, and why are we letting fear have all the fun with it?

I want you to get that attitude out right now, dust it off, and I want you to live your damn life. Do you know why? Because nobody else cares what you do with it because they are too busy living their own (apart from maybe the people who love you, obviously). If you’re not doing what you want, that is all you will be doing—not doing what you want. Why is travelling alone rarely done?

Some excuses are valid ones. A lack of cash dolla to fund your expeditions is one of them, but there’s always a way around that when there’s a will to do so. Camping for example, which is usually fun with friends and a doobie or two, can also feel like the epitome of freedom when done alone, and it’s cheap. It costs less than you would spend on an average weekend, providing that you can get hold of a tent. Pack a few snacks, buy a train ticket and you’re good to go. This is a summer time job, you literally don’t even need a mattress, and I’m not joking. Grass is soft enough, it’s just a bit crunchy to the hearing holes, so pack ear plugs or stuff some blue-tack in there. You’ll be fine.

If you do have a little extra to spend, spend it on something like a solo trip rather than that extra extra pair of shoes or third round of cocktails that you really, really do not need. All I’m saying is that we should all try to avoid being victim to that “I will be happy when…” fantasy. You have everything that you need, you can make anything happen with exactly what you have right now.

Obviously, the biggest challenge right now is to get through this global pandemic. Flights are not essential and neither are solo getaways, however, we will get through this, and you will have your time. After all, you’ll be used to spending that extra time alone, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed your company enough to realise just how important it is to do so for the rest of your life. An extra point to this is that a solo getaway doesn’t necessarily need to be more than a long-ass walk around your town if you can, so start there. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not rent a man and a van to move all of your travel necessities right where you want them to be before you start exploring? Have a look at Transport Executive‘s options if that sounds like a plan to you.

Solo adventures have a way of shoving you out of your comfort zone, there is no gentle pushing, so you do have to be ready for the shove over the edge. That being said, remember that you are not completely alone in any scenario, and you will chat along the way even if to strangers. One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was eating in a restaurant alone, but I learned to take a book with me, a notebook, and to wear a face that said ‘I am confident in my space’. The truth is, people don’t notice, and if they do, they are more likely to admire your comfort than to judge it. Judgement is mostly fed by insecurities, keep that in mind and allow people their opinions, they do not by any means belong to you.

There is also a lot less pressure when it comes to travelling alone as you don’t need to make anyone happy but yourself. If you’re enjoying yourself doing something, you don’t need to rush it. The feeling of this is similar to when the plans you don’t want to go to are cancelled by the person who organised them, and suddenly you have time to fill by choice, even if that means doing nothing. It’s relief in its simplest of forms. It’s what you want for lunch, not what we want for lunch.

Travelling alone can be intimidating, especially if you’re a bit of a social butterfly and are energised by other people, but this doesn’t need to be the case. What people forget is that just because you are alone in experiencing something, it doesn’t mean you are experiencing something unshared. It is simply up to you to realise who or what you’re sharing it with.

As a bit of a control freak hidden under the surface of an exceptionally perfected go-with-the-flow facade, I have most definitely learnt many lessons in both of these traits. One that ties both is being able to truly accept failure in planning, nothing is ever going to be how you expect it to be. And yes, it might very well be your fault that something went wrong, but instead of having a melt down about it, look for options. There are always options.

Loneliness can be a hurtful companion too, but loneliness’ best friend is comparison, so even loneliness is not lonely. Once you realise that, you’re going to be okay. Trust yourself and your ability to spot your choices in every situation along the way.

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