The Downsides Of Traveling Solo
I mostly talk very positively about traveling solo. Obviously, ’cause I’ve fallen in love with solo travel a long time ago. It is a great way to get to know yourself, to meet new people and to travel the way YOU like to. However, like every aspect in life: where there are positive sides there are also a couple of negative ones. And it wouldn’t be fair to talk only about the positives when I struggled with the negative sides as well. So here they are: the downsides of traveling solo.
You have to think twice about which destination to visit – A lot of destinations are used to seeing thousands of backpackers, and females walking around without a man walking besides her. However there seem to be a lot of destinations where it is quite weird for a woman to travel solo. I know a lot of solo female travelers who don’t leave their house without a dummy-weddingring simply because they get harassed so many times. It is not only because of possible harassments why a solo traveler has to think twice about visiting a destination. In some countries the overall safety isn’t quite as good – and lets be honest: it’s not helping if you are traveling by yourself. Staying safe is a way bigger issue when you are traveling by yourself.. and research is required!
You WILL be alone at some point – No matter how many people you’ll meet on the road: at some point you will be alone. After all: you are a solo traveler, and those who you meet will come and go. While being alone nearly isn’t too bad, it sometimes can get quite boring. The part of ‘being all alone in a strange foreign country’ CAN overwhelm you and you WILL be the only one there who has to cope with issues along the way. While I enjoy being alone myself it sometimes would be nice if you could share your memories and experiences with the people you love at home. I got to admit that I sometimes find that very hard, even though I do love to travel solo. Sometimes the feeling of loneliness kicks in.. whether you like it or not.
Saying goodbye will become normal – but never easy – After being on the road for a while you’ll meet lots of people who you like spending time with, or people who have truly become friends. Eventually everyone has their own itinerary and their own home to return to, which will leave you with loads of goodbyes and with loads of ‘well, maybe we’ll see each other again’ when you know you’re actually not. You’ll have to get used to the fact that saying goodbye to people will become a normal part of solo traveling.. however – it will not become more easy.
Leaving will become normal – but never easy – I find this one particularly hard to deal with. I am not one to leave easy once I have settled at a certain place, and when I met some people I like. But the hardest part is leaving from home. Weird thing is: I always want to leave my house to travel.. I mean I am always looking for ways to ‘get out’ and for cheap airfares. However.. when the moment is there and I have to say goodbye to my family and boyfriend (and dog;-)) I get very emotional. Why? Because I am leaving alone, while they are all happily together doing fun things with friends and family. Still.. once I boarded the airplane all these feeling disappear and the wanderlust takes over. But those hours before? Ugh. Also, just like the paragraph above: you sometimes will be the one who has to say goodbye first and leave a destination (where you have fallen in love with) while your new travel buddies are still enjoying each other and the destination. Again: it will become normal.. but never easy!
‘A table for one please’ – …And many more awkward scenarios you have to cope with. I have to admit that the first time I traveled solo I expected that eating out alone would be the most dreadful thing to do. Not because you’re eating alone, but because you are sitting alone and people would stare at you. Funnily enough I found it the other way around: people didn’t stare and I wasn’t weird for eating out by myself. But I however did feel very awkward because of the fact that I was eating alone in a restaurant. At moments like this you realize you are alone and when you are in a ‘good’ sad mood you are not going to like these moments.
Language and cultural barriers are for you to cope with – So.. how the hell are you going to explain to a Chinese man that you are lost and need to find your way back to hotel x? Jup.. with a lot of difficulties that is. While these are the barriers that will leave you feeling confident, these are also very dreadful situations to cope with when you are alone. I do think this is mostly in the beginning of your solo travel adventures – when you aren’t completely used to the fact that you are traveling alone and when you are still a little bit afraid of doing things like this. You’ll get used to it.. but the days before that happens are quite difficult!