Most of the time, solo traveling is looked at as something kind of weird and kind of awkward (I mean, asking random strangers to take photos of you can definitely turn awkward). When I booked both, my trip to Paris and the one to Dublin, the majority of those whom I talked to started a rant about how dangerous it is or expressed admiration towards a so called ‘bravery/independence’. All I knew was my plan to see as much of this world as possible, the fact that flights from Manchester are fairly cheap and that my friends either didn’t have the money or the time to embark with me on those international adventures. I had no idea that it would turn out to be so beneficial for me as a person.
Here's what I like most about travelling alone:
You do everything on your own terms
You don’t have to agree with anybody about anything. You can stay in the cheapest hostels or in the extremely expensive 5 star resorts, you can go to a village no one has ever heard of or visit one of the well-known cultural capitals, you can spend the whole trip locked in your hotel room or you can visit 7 museums in one day. You can do everything according to your own budget, time, mood and preferences in general…and that can spare you a lot of drama.
It's a great confidence booster
Surviving a whole different country/city by yourself can definitely be a challenge, especially if you’re experiencing a new culture or a language you can’t understand a word of. Even though it can become nerve wrecking (e.g. me crying in the centre of Paris at night because I just couldn't find a damn hotel), having to solve all the issues you might come across gives you a certain sense of independence and confidence in your ability to adapt and deal with unexpected situations.
You're more likely to meet really cool people
Yes, being by yourself might make you an easy target for a lot of unpleasant stuff, but it will also make you a lot more open to socializing with people you would have never said hi to if you were with your best friend. I will openly admit that socializing is not my forte and in spite of that, some of my dearest memories include people I’ve only met once and that's only because I happened to be by myself, trying to figure out how the means of public transport work…
You learn more about yourself
We often don’t realize how the majority of our actions are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with and the expectations we know they have from us. From this perspective, going by yourself to a place where no one knows you or expects anything from you can feel liberating. It might make you rethink some of your decisions and attitudes and it might even be the perfect starting point for some changes in your life…or it can only be the perfect occasion for you to get drunk, forget all of your problems and pass out on a random street without worrying about what anyone else might think of you (it’s all a matter of perspective, you know...).
Anyway, if you happen to be reluctant about booking a solo trip at the moment you are reading this blog post, take it as a sign to just go for it. It’s the 21st century and as long as you plan on going to a democratic country you should be fine. I mean, look at me: I’m a 1,67m, 50kg blonde and after 2 city breaks by myself, I’m alive and well. Just go for it.