My friend Brooke posted this on her travel blog and as an advocate of solo travel I had to reblog. I travelled across North America on my own for several years and had some of the most unforgettable experiences, met the most unforgettable people. The first year I was traveling with my boyfriend at the time but after we parted ways my entire experience exploded. It's a time of my life that I will never regret and helped to shape the person I am today
1. You will meet amazing people
Traveling as a couple you are less inclined to exit your comfort zone and just meet people. Don't get me wrong I met tons of awesome people with Brendan though that tended to be when we were stationary in one place but it wasn't till I was forced out on my own that I started to open up more to strangers. If I was with Brendan I never would have approached Cameron & Chad in the parking lot after Underworld, or hitched a ride in the back of a pick-up truck in Mexico. By being on my own I either had to meet people or be resigned to solitary confinement and for a self confessed extrovert that's not exactly an option.
2. The overwhelming sense of absolute freedom.
Yes. Yes. Yes! When I first left Banff to drive to Toronto I had two travelers with me. It was one of the most painful trips of my life. They were rude, obnoxious and I found myself having to constantly compromise to keep them happy. I was uncomfortable and eventually ditched them in Omaha, Nebraska. After losing them I proceeded to have the best time of my life. I did what I wanted to do, I went to parties and met awesome people and I moved on MY schedule. Sometimes traveling with people can be great but if you don't get along and your stuck with them it can ruin an entire trip. At least if your by yourself you can limit trips to a couple of days and part ways whenever you want.
3. Traveling alone challenges your fears and insecurities
Oh god yes. Can you believe I went from this meek mild mannered girl to this adventurous spirit? Trust me I was completely different five years ago. Heck I didn't even drive for the first year in Canada I made Brendan drive EVERYWHERE. But when I dropped him off at the airport I cried all the way home from Calgary to Banff because there was a fucking snowstorm and I was driving on the right side of the road and I was scared and stressed out. (and sad that my boyfriend of four years had left) But I survived and next thing you know I'm driving in NYC in the middle of rush hour traffic I'm taking on the LA freeways without even blinking. I over came my fear and became a pretty awesome big city driver.
4. Fall in Love
Well I can't really relate to this as it was the opposite for me. Maybe I fell in love with myself all over again.
5. You can take time to nurture yourself
Not a lot I need to say to this but yes. Traveling solo is about you. When I was working in Ontario I had two days off. All everyone wanted to do was drink and do drugs. I wanted to go camping so you know what, I went camping. I did sleep in the back of my car because I was scared of bears but I camped. And I had an awesome time hiking and camping by myself and I'm glad I didn't let the fact I was alone hamper me.
6. You'll have a chance to recreate yourself and who you want to be
This is important to me but I don't know if its limited to solo travel. Long term Traveling in general recreated me. Yes I came more out of my shell after my separation but the overall journey I took from living in another country, taking on new challenges and just experiencing something so different from what I was used to definitely shaped the older wiser me. Without that experience I don't know where I would be today.
7. You can finally take time to leave everything else behind.
Some of my favourite times was when I was driving the long stretches of road in the USA window down, music pumping. Just thinking. I would stop where ever I felt like stopping and I experienced life. I certainly miss those days of freedom.