Finding harmony in your choice of travel partner, or in your own company, can make or break a trip but whether traveling alone, in a group or with a close friend or partner all come with their different challenges.
Group tours have the advantage of a ready made group of friends and take the hassle out of finding transport and accommodation but I would find traveling as part of a group tour too restrictive as, for me, one of the best things about travel is the freedom of choice of destinations, the challenge of figuring out how to get from A-B, the feeling of adventure, of discovering something for yourself, expanding your horizons and being spontaneous.
After a long trip in India with my boyfriend I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first about traveling alone. However, I have never got lost or felt unsafe in Thailand or Malaysia.
One of the benefits of traveling alone is learning about yourself as well as the other countries and cultures that you visit. I learn more about myself and feel my confidence increasing as I realise that I am capable of being independent on the other side of the world in cultures so different from my own.
I am starting to enjoy my own company more. Life slows down in the heat, I worry less about the time and don’t try to do too much and as I feel more confident with my own company I care less what others think, find it easier to talk to people and don’t mind being alone.
I relish in being able to do what ever I want and not worry about pleasing anyone else. I enjoy talking my time, being quiet, figuring out who I am, my place in the world and what I want to achieve in life.
There is more time to think, to philosophise, to day dream, to relax, to read – to just be and take it all in.
Maybe learning to be happy in your own company, learning to relax, worry less and being independent is one of the most valuable lessons to learn.
I’m not actually alone often even though I’m traveling alone, sometimes I need to make a conscious effort to find some time to myself.
The friends I make on the road are great. It’s exciting meeting new people from all over the world and you end up learning about their countries as well as the country you are traveling in.
However, these new friends can’t match up to the people you have loved for so many years back home. There are still many times of loneliness, sometimes I feel more lonely in a crowd and the pangs of sadness when I see something amazing that I know someone I care about would love and the emptiness of not being able to share the moment.
So despite loving the peace and reflection in moments of solitude and the freedom that traveling alone gives you I feel that an experience is best shared with someone you love and not being able to do so breaks my heart a little every time. For this reason I have to admit that traveling alone is not for me.
Even so, after a while of being on your own it takes time to adjust to being with a company again, having joint decisions to make, someone else to think about and putting up with each others little habits but these are small sacrifices to make to have someone special to share these once in a lifetime experiences with.