“Do not be scared to walk alone. Do not be scared to like it. “John Mayer
Traveling alone at least once in a lifetime for a medium-long period can be a training experience for a few others.
It is not a matter of freedom and life to the full, as a sense of independence that implies an assumption of responsibility that must be taken for forces of things, learn to manage the few finances available, this in the case of backpacker trips and long period, make instant decisions and take charge of the consequences that derive from it.
The fear of taking this step is discrimination number one
The feeling of being on the edge of a precipice with a parachute that we have never used and of which we are not so sure of the operation paralyzes makes us doubt our ability to do it.
Yet sometimes just a second, which corresponds to the reservation of a plane ticket or a bus that is, to make your own irreversible choice and at that point, you have little to do: it begins.
Just one second, fast, and instant action to find yourself in dance and discover, shortly after the start, that all the fears of the day before suddenly turn into an exciting and exciting adventure.
A journey of discovery of the world and of ourselves that will go far beyond, and this is true the more you travel for long periods, the things you do and see. The journey will have as a single engine the desire to understand, not just see, that will make us pioneers of distant worlds that will have the strength to suck up making us forget the fears that had accompanied us until a few weeks before.
Traveling alone is not the best way to travel but it is definitely one of those to try at least once in a lifetime, to dedicate time, to know each other, to discover oneself strong and volatile, that teaches the difference between travel and vacation, orientates towards respect because it throws you, unarmed, in the world where we are nothing more and nothing less than people that we will meet and the only survival weapon we have is the search for dialogue.
An approach to the journey that is difficult to change, even in the future ones. Alone or in a company.
When traveling alone it happens that …
Freedom and Responsibility
Not having any trustworthy to rely on is when you are traveling alone that you experience the sense of freedom par excellence.
Freedom, however, also implies taking responsibility as all decisions, good or bad, depend solely and exclusively on us and every action (going/staying, east / west, north/south) we are responsible and we must take responsibility. We have no one to blame for something wrong.
Openness and trust
If when traveling as a couple or in a group there is always a shoulder to rely on, when traveling alone these shoulders are to be found, not always, indeed very often, do not speak our language and have different skin color from ours.
Trust, empathy, and openness is the elements that develop as you go along the road and that, even when you return (if not especially at this moment), will become part of our way of approaching everyday reality.
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Exceeding the limits
There is nothing that can put more fear than overcoming your limits or those imposed on us by others who want us to believe that things work just like that.
Traveling alone is frightening, especially when you do it in faraway places where you know very little if you do not have a contact person to report any problems, do not speak languages and you have not the faintest idea of what will happen, nor how.
It is at that moment, when we face the unknown, that it exceeds the limits and the “comfort zone”, the one in which one feels protected because known, and which, by logical consequence, will make us stronger, more independent, able to make decisions and solve problems, whether we were not, or did not think we were when we left.
Sharing (forced … but fun)
Unlike what can be believed, given the emphasis that is placed on “alone” rather than on “traveling”, a solo trip by force of things leads you to total sharing, both with locals and with other travelers.
We try to save money, sharing rooms or tours or taxis, looking for company and since we are social animals we are constantly looking for someone to talk to.
Living in the hostel is a moment of excellent sharing, it is here that you meet with your fellow men, inhibitions, and shame go by because we know very well that we are all in the same boat.
Learn new languages or the best ones
The need to communicate with others, who often speak a language that is not ours, will take us through the first weeks of difficult understanding to learn new languages or improve them.
It is a fact that traveling with two, friends or a couple, inevitably leads to building a wall between us and others, communicating in the same language, we organize things together because after all “there is no need” for others.
Even a month with rare exchanges with others would pass in the company, which instead obliges the solitary traveler to find travel partners.
It takes just 1 month to learn the basics of basic communication. And there is no better way, and less painful, to learn languages than to get into the situation of talking to them (willy-nilly).
Save or plan your trip based on your finances
Not that this is the prerogative of the lone traveler, you could / should extend to the backpacker trip (remember that it is not enough to have the backpack, or want to spend a little, to be a backpacker … you have to adapt to everything, really everything ) but it is true that when you travel with other people you tend to spend more than you would if you were alone.
I exclude from this observation obvious expenses that would be better shared (taxis, rooms, guides, etc), but I refer to those of first necessity, such as eating or choosing whether to pay to enter a museum rather than sprawl on a hammock to rest and read a book.
If it’s okay to eat at the Comedor where I pay $ 2 maybe my friend, who is obsessed with diarrhea, does not go and prefers a restaurant where the same thing costs at least 4 times as much.
In these cases, you need to look for middle ways in which she eats in a more affable and apparently environment that avoids the danger of diarrhea and me… Haime. I spend more than I would like.
When traveling in pairs or in groups these situations happen very frequently.
The same applies to any tours or excursions or entrance tickets. You know your budget and sometimes it happens that you can not afford everything you want or maybe you can do it by cross streets, take a 20-hour bus, which costs $ 20, rather than flying, for $ 150, choose a more inconvenient travel route but cheaper rather than spinning everything smoothly and quickly.
Traveling with others means compromising and, when it is done for long periods, I can assure you that the first question you ask yourself, whatever you want to do, is: how much will it cost me?
Not everything is always feasible and it is up to us to choose what and what not. Alone the choice is easier to take.
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Learn to observe
You are alone, you have no distractions and you have as much time as you want to be able to observe, and reflect without having to be accountable to anyone.
The others are often noises at a time when we would like peace and silence, traveling alone makes it possible to make up for lost time in the frantic search for having to say or always do something.
Nothing more beautiful than sitting down and looking at every single detail of what we have around us, which can be the busy people at the market or the buses whizzing through the streets of the city, or listening to the forest that speaks to us but, often, overwhelmed by the words understood to forget to listen.
The world is big and full of wonderful people. The journey must be experienced as a moment of discovery, dive into it, for the first time, in totality it requires the courage of a solitary and personal gesture.
That’s why at least once it should be done, to become brave and make yourself a master of your choices, not just travel, but even future ones in the daily choices of the days to come.
The next time you will know exactly what traveling means for you and also the choice of travel companion will have deeper roots than mere company.
You will want someone with whom you are on the same wavelength, respecting times and silences, and who most likely came to that awareness and ability because the path followed was the same.
And so it happens that two solitary travelers meet and begin a journey together. And at this moment we are going to discover a new mode of travel.