By Sara Nicastro
“Have you seen the movie Taken?” is the first response from family and friends when I tell them I bought my next plane ticket for a new trip, and I bought it alone. While I do enjoy a little Liam Nelson kicking some ass across the big screen, my first reaction is usually a long eye roll. If you know me at all, then you would know that nothing would stop me from traveling, not even a blockbuster movie, nor should it stop you.
Traveling alone may seem scary at first but I promise you it can offer you some lasting experiences that you simply won’t get when traveling in pairs or a group. As human beings we are social by nature always wanting to share, learn and explore in our communities. While it is great to have a network of people around to support you, plan activities with, and laugh together, it is equally important to learn and enjoy doing these things alone. Here are my reasons why I think everyone should travel alone at least once in their life:
Do what you want when you want
When on a trip alone, you have no one to answer to. And rightfully so, you have worked hard and given up a lot to take this trip so why should you not enjoy every second of it. If you want a lazy day in bed, take it. If you want to take a hike, go for it. Traveling alone ensures you see everything you want to see at exactly the time you want to.
Forces you to make friends with strangers
I find traveling alone pushes you to step outside your comfort zone and talk to strangers a little more. Weather it be asking a server for directions, talking to your seat mate on the plane or getting to know your fellow travelers in a hostel. With that same logic it makes you more approachable as well. Meeting new friends on the road is one of the best things you can get out of traveling.
There is something about waking up in a new city, with not one person knowing your name and an entire day ahead of you exploring the unknown, exactly how you want to do it. The only way to truly understand this feeling is to get out and experience it. Our daily lives don’t feel very freeing and spontaneous as we have school, debt, work, family, partners, friends, pets, etc. There is always some responsibility we feel obliged to take care of. When you travel alone there is no one or nothing to take care of other than yourself, and to me that is freeing.
I truly believe anyone who has the guts and privilege to go travel alone should do it. It is not as scary as it seems and one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Oh, and if you happen to bump into Liam Nelson tell him I say Hi!