Each time I inform someone that I am off on another trip I am met with the usual questions, "Where are you going?", "How long are you going for?", and always "Who are you going with?". My answer is more often that not "By myself"... their reactions vary form shock and horror "I would NEVER do that!" to "WOW, you are so brave!", to even "Aren't you scared?", recently someone responded with "I can't believe you travel by yourself and do all that, I admire you so much!". It's really nice to think that someone admires me!
Travelling alone is something that I have always really done. I've always been independent, comfortable in my own company but love catching up with friends at any chance I get.
I consider myself an introvert and need my own time. I am a dead set Cancerian at times as well and I know that there are times where I need to retreat into my shell and just be, travelling alone means I don't have to worry about upsetting or offending someone when I need to do this.
Travelling alone also pushes me out of my comfort zone, it means that I have to do things that I wouldn't usually do at home. I have had to get used to things like eating dinner out at a restaurant by myself and being comfortable with that, going days without having a real conversation with another person can sometimes be hard. I've had to strike up conversations with strangers, something I struggle with greatly, but travelling is helping me get over that struggle.
When you travel alone you are responsible for your own journey. Secretly sometimes I love that fact that I can be a little selfish on my travels. To a certain extent I can do what I want when I want with little to no regard of anyone else. That might sound a bit self-absorbing but for me I think travelling is about being self absorbed to a degree, I like to make it my journey and about what I want to do and see. Sure it's great to share those experiences with someone, and there have been many times on a trip when I have seen something and thought "gosh I wish so-and-so was here to see this with me!" or "gosh I would give anything to have someone to have dinner with and rehash the events of the day!". But on the other hand it's easy to be in your own company and not have to think of someone else's journey/needs/wants.
I haven't always travelled alone, there have been trips I have taken with friends. Sadly some of those friendships didn't last past the travel and I think that that is a risk you take. When you travel you don't only learn a lot about yourself but you learn a lot about your travel buddy/buddies as well.
Despite everything I just said, when you travel alone you are never really alone. More often than not I chose to do an organised tour, like the Intrepid Travel one I did recently in Thailand. I always book a few solo days before and/or after the tour though to give the introvert in me the break I need and time to myself. Even if you do chose to go completely solo, I still think that you are never really alone as there is always someone who will talk to you, you just have to brave sometimes to initiate that conversation.
I also believe that travelling alone makes it easier to make new friends. As mentioned above, I usually travel alone, but with organised tour groups meaning that there are already a number of people to meet and who will keep you company. I have met some amazing people on my tours over the years, some who remain very close friends today and I think that had I had a travel buddy with me, I may not have gotten to know these people as well. Sometimes I believe that when you travel with someone else, you may limit yourself in meeting other people because you have your own safety blanket. There is always a risk that there won't be someone you click with, the chances are rare but it could happen. But then it means you are not obligated to anyone and can continue to plot your own journey.
Other travels that I have embarked on have usually been prompted by visiting a friend overseas so I have been flying over to someone, not really that brave! My first ever big trip overseas to Canada 10 years ago was prompted by an invitation to a friend's wedding, and I guess I have never really looked back.
Truth is, I don't always want to travel alone, but finding a travel buddy can be hard and so, if I didn't travel alone I wouldn't travel at all...and for me, not travelling is just not an option.
So I must confess (because that's what Monday's are all about after all)... I am more than happy with my own company, and being on my own, be it at home or in a random country somewhere around the world!
What sort of traveller are you?
Do you need your own time or prefer to travel with friends?
Linking up with Our Parallel Connection for I Must Confess as our usual host Kirsty is off on her USA Adventure, and Alicia at One Mother Hen for Open Slather.