Five Reasons to Travel Solo Before You Kick the Bucket
By Ben Mones
That big red circle on your calendar is three weeks away. It’s time to skedaddle, fly the coop, and get out of town. It’s time for vacation! No more alarm clocks, soggy Eggo waffles, or co-workers that hang by your desk for just a bit too long. You have already picked your dream destination, even gotten the shots you need to stay alive. The only remaining question: whom will you travel with?
The answer is no one. If Lewis could have discovered the American West without Clark back in 1801, you bet your ass he would have. Modern day explorers like Ty Sawyer, the star of KoldCast TV’s adventure travel Show Another Shade of Blue with Ty Sawyer, are traversing the world alone every day.
You are watching Episode 12 of Another Shade of Blue, “Belize”
In this entrancing new series, Ty takes viewers around the world as he explores some of the most remote and raw corners of the earth. This writer-photographer dives some of the most colorful and diverse reefs you’ll ever see, and he lounges on beaches straight out of a Corona ad. Without a companion, Ty ventures to places that don’t even show up on an atlas.
Ty finds a lot of advantages to traveling alone, like finding secret water nymphs in Puerto Rican rainforests. While we can’t promise rainforest sex, we can promise you the adventure of a lifetime if you take these benefits to heart.
Your itinerary is completely flexible. No longer a slave to the desires of others, you’re free to shorten, lengthen or make permanent your time in various locales. In fact, this is the most widely cited reason to travel alone. Stay up late, check out early, or go on an adventure that was never on your itinerary to begin with. Who knows? Renting that old canoe might land you in a remote fishing village where you’ll create lifelong memories.
It Can Be Dirt Cheap
Travelling alone is way less expensive than bringing along your pals. Once you set a budget, no one can convince you to blow it. On a strict budget you’ll also be able to save up for pricier adventures, such as wing-suit flying in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Group trips almost always experience some infighting as people one-up each other with their own itineraries. That usually translates into spending hard-earned dough to slog through a museum you’ve already been to six times with your parents.
Your travel’s standard of living is also at your own discretion. With a bunch of friends, there’s often one who won’t stay at a $15-per-night hostel for an irrational fear of group showers and piercings, leading you to a hotel ten times the cost. Don’t drop your bags at a questionable establishment just because you’re on your own though. You should always do your homework first.
The Ability to Detach
Traveling alone allows you to completely detach from the relationships that reinforce your personality. With a companion, you bring a piece of home with you regardless of how far you go. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that travelling with friends is a negative unto itself, it’s just that your behavior and decision-making remains within the realm of their expectations of who “you” are, whether you are conscious of it or not. If you want to truly peer into the abyss to find your true self, you’ll have to go it alone. When you get back from your journey, you’ll be a richer friend for it.
Making New Friends
Travelling alone will surely teach you a lot about yourself, but you’ll still need human interaction to stay sane. Traveling solo forces you to make new friends, learn about different cultures, and appreciate the common threads among the most diverse of countries. Like Ty Sawyer has found in his travels, exploring even the most remote jungles in the world will bring you to the realization that local, third world villagers have a lot in common with you on a very basic level. They might eat roots and do without shoes, but their friendliness and willingness to learn about you creates an instant bond.
Click to watch Episode 11 of Another Shade of Blue, “Puerto Rico”
For centuries, cultures around the world have used isolation as a vehicle for spiritual growth. In some Native American cultures, young boys would venture off alone into the wilderness on a vision quest, unable to return to the tribe until they found their spirit animal.
The point is, being alone will help you grow by simply having to survive dealing with a whole new world. Shedding away typical office responsibilities, problems and deadlines for a few solid weeks or months will allow you to focus on your higher goals in life.
After discarding those consuming, auto-playing thoughts that seemed so very important last week, you will begin to understand why you make certain decisions, what you are afraid of, and how you can prepare for the future.
A bit richer culturally, more spiritually mature, and with a few new friends to boot, you will return home with the enthusiasm to crush life until your next vacation. When that time comes, feel free to bring someone along. You’ll be ready to make the most of it.
Ben Mones was imported to Brooklyn from the west coast in an egg transport truck. He claims to have come up with the idea for the League of Nations, although the League’s rise and fall was well before his birth. He likes to use big words like “egg transport” and “truck.”