"Lonely" does not mean "alone"

Advantages of solo-travelling

...Because I Can Travel Whenever I Want

Action speaks louder than words. Of course, you've planned this dinner with your closest friends. Yes, all together on a hiking trip as well. And the party night is postponed for the next year, because it is just too difficult to manage four friend's meetings and timetables at the same time...

My experience is that sometimes a simple dinner at the restaurant with friends seems impossible to organize, because we all live in different cities, even countries. We all have different styles of life. Some are students, some businessmen, some single, some already married.

When one friend saved enough money, another one has no time. When this friend has time, the others have exams and the third friend a job interview and when the second friend finally has time, the first friend has got no money anymore...

I am the most impatient person on earth. Rather today than tomorrow! Bye, I'll rather go on my own again. Now.


...Because I Can Bring My Creativity To Life

I've reached my greatest artistic peaks during travelling solo.

Wandering around tea estates for hours in Bangladesh, stimulated by the aromatic smell, I solve all the philosophical problems in my brain. Sitting in a bus from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park, watching how the landscape flies bye, I've found the title for my dissertation, which was accepted immediately by my supervisor.

I never forced myself to reflect on a certain topic, those thoughts came to my mind naturally. For sure, while travelling solo I am never alone, just on my own. But these short periods where you cannot talk to somebody and you have to deal simply with yourself work miracles to inspire heart and soul.


...Because There Are No Compromises

 

I did the West Highland Way (150 KM) in March 2014. My itinerary was quite tough as there are no hostels on the way. You always have to reach at least a smaller village to find shelter from snow, wind and coldness. 

 

However, I enjoyed this so so much, that I spent half day just watching the little changes nature can do within a few hours. I was able to free myself from the pressure to walk another 15 Miles, because I was on my own. I felt comfortable with finding a place to pitch my tent in the wild, because I was on my own. I had not to destroy somebody's else plan, only mine. It was real bliss. When I travel, I don't want compromises, I want 100percent!


...Because I Am Getting Better In Making Decisions

The smallest question sometimes cause the biggest decision. Red or white wine? dress or skirt? Ale or blonde? Pizza or pasta? Walking or bus? Most of the time we do not realise how often we ask friends to help us making a decision..."What do you think?"....

Different on a backpacking trip. Here are the four questions I ask myself most frequently on a backpacking trip:

1) Will I walk around for another hour to find a cheaper hostel or should I simply stay in this one?

2) Should I trust the non-english-speaking bus driver who promised he takes me to the place where I want to go?
 
3) Can I really try the "spicy" meal?

4) How much money should I get from the ATM?

While travelling alone, every single issue is up to you. You cannot call a friend over three different continent and five time zones only to get an advise whether you should try the local tab water or not. Trust yourself, be responsible for yourself.

So you start to calculate the YES and the NO for yourself. You will think about the risk and danger and consequence of each decision.

Doing so a couple of days you realise it makes you tired to spend on average three minutes for one decision. Keep in mind that science tells us we make more than 1000 decisions a day.

So you start to force yourself to make decisions quicker. Doing so a couple of days, you realise that you getting better and better and that you don´t consider Dos and Donts anymore.

You learn to go with your gut and you realise that it is working.

Finally, you exactly know what you want and you come back home and your friends begrudge you, because you choose your yoguhrt in the supermarket for tomorrow morning without hesitation.


...Because I Can Re-Discover Myself

While travelling on your own, there is nobody you can make responsible for your own mistakes. One missed the bus? My fault. One payed too much for the local food? My fault. One erred on the opneing hours of the museum? My fault.

Everytime I come back home from my solo trips, I feel like I can deal with problems ways easier. I´m getting more and more relaxed, even if something went badly wrong. And it doesn´t cost me a thing anymore to stand accountabel for my own mistakes! Never trying to find a single person on whom I can put the blame on.

With this experience, I´ve gained more confidence, know where my limits are and can count on me for 100percent. A very good feeling.


...Because Couchsurfing And Hitchhiking Is Much Easier For Me

There is always space for one person. One person more or less doesn´t matter, right? Fact is, only one person needs less space and has little luggage. Cars are more tempted to stop, when drivers see a person standing at the motorway and looking a bit lonely.... In the case of Couchsurfing, it is not only a space issue. Some hosts invite surfers to their place because they don´t have the time to travel, so they want to come the world to their living room. Two or more surfers are busy with themselves and don´t really need the host.

 

They rather need his couch only. One person is doing easier in Couchsurfing because it is a win-win situation for both the host and the surfer. The hosts is getting the whole attention and you probably spend more time together.


...Because I Can Clear My Mind

How inspiring is that: you absorb the sunset above the Atlantic Ocean on a beach in Brazil. In your right hand an ice cold glass of caipirinha and in your left one warm sand. You can smell fresh sea salt in the atmosphere. You watch toddlers playing football barefoot and fishers who assort their booties on little wooden boats. Everything is perfect. You concentrate on what you see, what you smell, taste, hear and feel. And when you´re far far away somewhere in your memories and you´re lost in thoughts about your life and your plans for the future, there is only one thing that has the capability to ruin this moment.

 

Namely this question, coming from the person next to you, your travel mate, saying: “ This is awesome, isn´t it?”

Well, until you´ve heard this question it was amazing, indeed. The likelihood that you and your buddy will enjoy a moment like this exactly equal is quite low. If you don´t travel solo, you will destroy the magic moments of your friend and the other way round without knowing! A little question here, a little comment there is sometimes enough to annoy each other´s holiday feeling. Real bliss you sometimes find only in silence.


...Because I Decide How Slow I Travel

I mean, I like planes. Thanks to aircrafts we are so much more flexibel and connected with the world. But to be honest, I am more the slow-moving-traveller-type. It confuses me a lot, when I get on an airplane in Frankfurt and then, just 10 hours later, I am on a different continent, with a different time zone and a new culture. 10 hours doesn´t stand in any relation to the thousands of kilometers I have travelled. I enjoy myself the most when I go for example on a bus ride for nine hours for 500 kilometre. That gives me a real feeling of covering a distance. I feel healthy then because my body and my soul reach the destination at the same time.

And sometimes, if my heart tells me to stay an extra night at a place - I simply do that. With a buddy on your side, those decisions are much harder. If you once start to compare the YES and NOs with your friend, it is not going to be a heart-decision any longer.


...Because I Can Enjoy The Extravagance of Hotels

 

Although there is a large backpacking scene in Thailand, Laos and Israel, most of the countries in the Middle East, the Far Middle East and South East Asia rarely spot solo travellers. Therefore, Hotels provide most of the times only twin rooms or triples. As hotels don't deal too often with solos, it's great fun to explain them why it is complete crude to make me pay the same price as a couple would do. I often end up enjoying a large double room with even paying less than half of the price.

 

That makes hotel stays reasonable even for backpackers...and you really have enough space to dry your hand washed clothe and to reorder your rucksack. If the hotel cannot drop the pirce, they give you at least a better room with balcony or breakfast.


...Because I Am More Sociable

Yeah, more sociable in both directions: Locals overcome themselves quicker to speak to a foreigner and solo-travellers are more willing to adapt to the native community. You can assimilate yourself more effective because no one reminds you of rules and rituals from your home country. An Invitation in Bangladeshs river delta to a families home, a tea-time offer on a bus stop in Lebanon: Only one person travelling simply looks less offensive than a group out of eight.