Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it. — John Mayer
And you’ll like it, that’s what I promise you! You only need to take the first step, and you’ll open yourself a whole new world. Starting to travel on my own was one of the best and most fulfilling decisions in my life. And now, I’ll try to convince you to take the first step and discover it for yourself. This topic is so big and important to me; I had to separate it into three parts. I’ll tell you some real stories to show you how amazing it is to travel by yourself, and how many things you’ll see, which you wouldn’t understand, and experience otherwise.
Most people are scared of traveling on their own because they fear to be alone, with nobody on their side. And that’s the first point I want to talk about.
Reason 1: You’re never alone!
People who travel on their own have this particular instinct – this instinct of finding and meeting other people who also go on their own. I experienced this so many times. If you’re traveling on your own, you’ll find someone to travel with or at least to speak to in the plane, train or bus. You’re not the only one traveling solo, so many other people do the same. And despite the fact you’re on your own, you don’t want to be lonely – there is a big difference between being on your own and being lonely – and it’s the same for these other solo travelers. This means that it is super easy to get to know each other. Let me explain this based on an example.
When I flew to Porto (Portugal) in March, I flew by myself. My plane had 6 hours delay, yes 6 hours… So, I sat in the airport with my computer looking up some things for the university. Suddenly we had to queue up to get some food vouchers. Waiting in this queue, I noticed a girl next to me standing there all by herself. I looked at her said: “Ohhh gosh, this is so annoying.” This was the moment we started talking, and in fact, she was also a solo traveler and was glad to meet someone too. After talking for a few minutes, we found out that we would stay in the same hostel and by coincidence we had even the same room. I spend nearly my entire journey with her, and we had a very good time. That’s how simple it can be.
Staying in Hostels with shared rooms is the next and by far the best way to meet new people. In addition to that, it is the cheapest way to travel. According to my experience, it is nearly impossible to stay more than two nights in a shared room and don’t meet at least one new person. Meeting people in Hostel rooms is the easiest thing on earth. This is the places where all solo travelers come together. With a question as simple as “Hey, where are you from?” I met tons of people. Every time I enter a new room, I ask the people from where they are, and like this, I start a conversation. This mostly leads to making plans together and have a good time with “stranger” people. Another example to illustrate how easy it is.
On my interrail through Scandinavia, I arrived at 7 pm in my Hostel in Gothenburg – exhausted from the train ride and a 4 km walk with my heavy back – I was glad to be in my hostel and to have a bed. When I entered my room – I hadn’t even closed the door – I heard a voice asking “Hey, where are you from?” It was a girl from Australia, sitting near her back to search for some clothes. I answered that I would be from Luxemburg and would be on an Interrail-travel. Another girl from Switzerland was in there too, so we started to have a conversation. After a few minutes, I asked them if they had planned anything for the evening. They said that there would be an organized evening from the hostel and they would go, and I should join them. We had a fantastic evening with a barbeque and went to a pub after. The next day I spend the whole day visiting Gothenburg with her, and she even joined me to Malmö.
Other good places or activities to meet new people are for example “Free Walking Tours.” You can find them in every major city. You’ll see the city, it’s cheap, and you’ll meet people for sure! In general, is taking part in tours an excellent way to meet people. And after the tour you can invite these new friends for dinner, like this you’ll spend the whole day in a company.
And then there are all these spontaneously things, that will happen where you’ll meet people you never thought you could meet people.
Once I met two girls when I only crossed a street, I looked for a shopping center in Copenhagen and asked them where the next one would be. They said that they’re going to a shopping center too and I could join them. So, I spend my afternoon with them, we had lunch and did a little bit of shopping.
In Stockholm, I walked next to a river and enjoyed the view when two girls asked me to take a photo of them. They asked me if I would be on my own and what I would be up to. After a quick chat, we decided to walk together back to the city center. They invited me for some drinks with their host (They did Couchsurfing), and we spend the evening near the river on a little beach with some beers.
These moments will last forever in my mind, and I can’t wait to have even more of them. Solo traveling doesn’t mean to be lonely at all! There are so many options to meet other tourists or locals. Often the most unexpected moments are the best ones!
More to come on this topic next weeks.
65 Days to go!