Each day my news feed is flooded with inspirational female bloggers who share a common love of exploring destinations around the globe, solo. I love reading their stories, I find their passion contagious and it makes me want to explore myself and tell my own version of the story. There is just one difference between them and me – I have no desire to jump on a plane by myself and become a solo female traveller.
Now I’m not saying this with any kind of negativity or judgement to those women who choose to travel solo. In fact it is quite the opposite as admire those who do. It is in no way an easy thing to do and there are so many challenges that need to be overcome for these women to be able to make the decision to travel alone.
But like with fashion, we all have our individual travel style and solo travel just doesn’t look good on me.
Until I started reading these blogs it never even occurred to me to travel on my own. For me one of the most important experiences of travel is the ability to share it with someone else. I have recently read a few articles that proclaim that every woman in her twenties must travel solo to gain an understanding of herself and that basically those who don’t are missing out. I wanted to write this because I don’t agree with that. It is not a one size fits all strategy.
I recently visited Melbourne for work and chose to stay an extra night and explore the city on my own. While I’m certain I cannot judge solo travel by my one day and one night, I can say I felt my experience was lessened because I didn’t have anyone to share it with. For me, it is simply not enough to be surrounded by something new and interesting, I want to discuss and to share my thoughts in the moment, and to create those memories we can look back on when we get all sentimental relieving the stories that begin with, “remember when we…”.
I guess because my husband and I share the same views on travel it makes my decisions a lot easier. We both love exploring and sharing those new experiences, and it is together that we are truly able to capture the essence of a destination. Because of him, I have never been in a situation where I had to choose to visit somewhere alone, and I am quite grateful for that.
Going back to my short stay in Melbourne, interestingly the hardest part of my solo experience wasn’t what I had expected. I thought I would have an issue asking for a table for one. As I wandered down one of Melbourne’s famous laneways in search of this epic breakfast cafe that had been recommended to me, I honestly felt so awkward. However I actually found eating alone in a restaurant fine, the wait staff were so lovely and the food tasted so good I completely forgot my concerns and just enjoyed it! What I found the hardest was exploring the city on foot. This is something that I normally love but I found without company my walks lacked motivation and when I stumbled upon something amazing I had no one beside me to talk about how amazing it was, so I just kept walking.
Now in my day to day life I am quite comfortable with my own company and I have no problems being alone, but this aimless wandering around the city really got to me. It made me question the notion of solo travel and why people expect that it will be the right choice for everyone. I don’t think any solo traveller will deny that sometimes they get lonely, but for me at least, if I can avoid this feeling then I will.
I think travel needs to be individual. You can be inspired by so many different people and situations as long as we realise that not everyone will have the same experiences and enjoy the same things.
So whether you are a solo traveller, travel as a couple, or with friends and family, each experience is your own and you take from it what you choose.
What kind of traveller are you?