You should travel alone! There are very few other times in your life that you will live without compromise.
This is not to say that traveling with a partner is not rewarding either of course. Especially if that partner is a loved one that will benefit from the relationship-building that comes with traveling together. But traveling alone is not about your relationships, its about YOU. Traveling with someone will involve a continuous stream of discussions of what to eat, how to travel, what to see, etc.
- When you’re on your own, you use your own internal compass.
- When you travel alone you don’t compromise.
- When you travel alone you only explore through yourself.
- When you travel alone you become empowered.
- When you travel alone you become enlightened.
This isn’t to say that traveling alone will create a transcendent EAT.PRAY.LOVE experience that will change your life forever and where you’ll find what and who you love. As Hemal Jhaveri puts it in her Huffington Post article “Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone (At Least Once in Her Life)“:
One of the hidden gem’s of solo travel is that, contrary to beliefs, solo travel isn’t solo! You are constantly meeting new people when you travel, even more so when you’re by yourself without a partner to subconsciously keep you to themselves. Traveling alone not only frees you of other’s decisions, it frees you of others opinions on who YOU are! You do what you want, you talk to who you want, and you feel great about it.
After college I traveled alone through Central America. I was a little scared at first to land in Costa Rica on my own without anyone welcoming me there. I then naturally gravitated to places such as hostels or volunteering centers, that had lots of people of my age also traveling alone. We shared stories, a meal, sometimes shared a part of the journey together then went our own ways.
Retreats are a little bit like that. Most people come alone. Some of us may feel awkward at first but we quickly warm up to each other. No matter how shy we are, we are humans, and we long for connection. I am still connected with people I’ve gone on a retreat with over 6 years ago.
Traveling solo frees you from the box that your life has put you in. It does this by you not bringing someone that you know along to remind you of that box. Traveling brings perspective and exploration, but it also makes us leave behind the day-to-day routines that can get old.
“That’s why people take vacations. Not to relax or find excitement or see new places. To escape the death that exists in routine things.”
― Don DeLillo, White Noise