Every time I say I’m traveling somewhere new, there’s always at least one person who says I hope you’re not going alone.
I usually just ignore the question and decide to tell them I went alone after I get back. Because I learned very early on that if I wait for people to go with me, I’ll never go anywhere.
But I live in Asia now, and asking my friends to just hop on a plane to somewhere 21 hours away is just a tad unreasonable. So instead, I travel alone. And I’m okay with that. My first truly solo trip was to Hong Kong back in December, and I was too excited about going to Disneyland to be nervous about being alone.
There’s something freeing about traveling alone in your 20’s. Something so liberating. I’ve slept in airports and navigated public transportation systems that are in unfamiliar languages. I’ve gotten lost and in the process have found some pretty incredible sites. And most importantly, I’ve met people along the way who have made my journeys all the sweeter.
I know that traveling alone can seem daunting and scary. Especially if you want everything to be perfect. But travel isn’t perfect. It’s unpredictable and messy at times. Sometimes, it’s not that exciting because you’re taking a nap at your hostel instead of exploring. And that is perfectly okay. Because when you travel alone, you can take a tap in your hostel if that’s what you want to do.
Every solo trip I have taken has been exactly as I wanted it to be. Sure, it rained the entire way to Halong Bay, but I can’t control the weather. But when I wanted to spend the afternoons in my hostel pool because Hanoi was too hot to do anything else, that’s what I did. When I wanted to spend three hours at the Hong Kong History Museum, there was no one to rush me through the exhibits. And when I wanted to wander through the outdoor markets in Bangkok until I found the perfect knit scrunchy, that’s exactly what I did.
So take the leap and go somewhere new. Even if it’s just a short road trip. Don’t wait for your friend to agree to visit that small town in Massachusetts you’ve always wanted to go to. And don’t wait until someone else finally saves up the money for a plane ticket to finally go to Europe. Travel alone. Learn about yourself. I think you’ll find you’re more independent and self-sufficient than you thought you were.