The Real Reason I Always Travel Solo

There are a million blog posts out there on the topic of solo travel. Other bloggers will tell you how to get over the fear of traveling alone, or why solo travel will change you. This type of post has become particularly popular in the last year, especially in the solo female travel niche. While I do encourage people to try solo travel, this post is not a how-to or a why you should travel alone.

This is just me saying I don’t know how to travel any other way.

I am fiercely, stubbornly, annoyingly independent. I’m independent to the point that I don’t even know how to be dependent (or how to ask for help or how to compromise). One time a friend offered to carry my bag and I immediately shot back “what’s wrong with you?” Because you know, when someone offers to do something for you, it’s obviously an insult.

That independence seeps into every part of my life, including travel. I’ve always enjoyed spending time alone and doing things alone. Being around people is generally really exhausting to me, even people I love. I am the textbook definition of an introvert; or, rather, an extreme version of an introvert. My preference is to actually spend about 80% of my time alone (or with others but not talking), and only maybe 20% of my time really socializing.

Click to Tweet: An honest look at why I travel solo https://ctt.ec/2dpGo+ via @TravelDazeco

Anyone who has ever traveled with another person knows that you would not be able to spend anywhere near 80% of your time alone. You are forced to spend so much time together, simply because you’re on the same bus/plane/car ride, you share accommodation, you eat together, and then you go see the sights together. I mean, that is the point of traveling with someone: to do things together. It’s hard for me to spend that much time with the same person, even if it’s my best friend or sister. I just can’t do it!

Traveling with someone else doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend every second together. I’ve had short stints of traveling with friends, and the right friends know and understand my need to separate and spend time apart. These are the friends who truly understand my need for independence, and usually they’re on the same page. A couple of weeks is probably the longest I would want to go traveling with someone else. Even that would be too long if we’re not close enough to be incredibly honest with each other.

What’s my point here?

I don’t know how to travel with others. I travel solo because I mostly prefer to live life solo. Some people don’t understand that sentiment, so it might sound crazy to you. Of course I am happy to have my family and a few good friends, but I don’t want to spend all of my time with them (and they understand that).

I like to take road trips alone. I like to go shopping alone. I like to walk and hike alone. I like to go to concerts alone. I like to cook and eat alone. So when I started traveling, there was never that hesitation or question of “but who will I go with?” because it never occurred to me that traveling alone could be weird or scary. I didn’t overcome some fear in order to start traveling solo, it was just the only way I wanted to do it.

I do like meeting people on my travels. I talk to people I meet at hostels or coffee shops or on the tours I join. I am not a 100% solitary creature (remember I said only 80%), so I do enjoy getting to know people and occasionally joining someone else for a tour or attraction. However, I would just as quickly go join a tour on my own or go to the restaurant I want to try and ask for a table for one.

What I really need is a lesson on how to travel with others, because that’s where I’m totally lost. I like to be in total control of my time and how it’s spent. I like to decide where to go, what to do, and when. I don’t plan out my travels in too much detail, but if another person is involved, it makes me uncomfortable to not have a precise and detailed plan. I can’t go with the flow if I’m traveling with someone else, because we don’t have the same flow. I spend too much time feeling anxious and guilty because I don’t want to ruin things for the other person if I can’t commit to their schedule.

Click to Tweet: “What I really need is a lesson on how to travel with others.” https://ctt.ec/T41y5+ via @TravelDazeco

When it comes to traveling, I feel like I shouldn’t have to compromise.

I’m just a much happier, calmer, and more free-spirited person when I’m traveling solo. Those are things I want to be. When I’m traveling, I want to wander the streets with nowhere to be. I want to hop on a bus when I decide I’m done with a place. I want to splurge on an expensive tour when I feel like it’s worth it and not feel guilty because the other person didn’t budget for that. I want to go with my instincts and make decisions without having to discuss it with someone else.

I travel solo simply because I don’t know any other way. So if you’re looking to get over your fears and travel alone for the first time, I won’t be much help because I don’t have the same fears as you, and I never did.

But maybe while you’re here, you can give me some tips on how to travel well with others.


I’d really love to hear your take on solo travel. Do you like to travel alone? Why (or why not)?

 

Read Next:

How to Conquer Your Travel Anxiety

Introvert’s Guide to Hostel Life

7 Things Travel Taught Me


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Why I Travel Solo: Here's the real reason I prefer to travel alone. #solotravel

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By Courtney Minor

Wandering around and writing about it.

11 comments

  1. Hello,
    I also like to travel on my own and do my things alone. I like to be surrounded with people that I like but at some point I just need to escape to be alone !
    That’s just the way it is.
    But you also share your experience of travels, thoughts, pictures with others and I think your blog is really interesting. Especially for new Zealand where I will be next November.
    Thanks for sharing !

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    1. Thanks for reading, Laetitia! Some of us just prefer our alone time. 🙂 That’s why solo travel is so great for some people.

      And I’m glad my blog could be interesting and helpful. I have tons of posts about New Zealand. You will love it there!

      Are you going on a working holiday, or just visiting?

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  2. Just visiting. I’m working in France.
    Thanks for your article about how to save money, Bookme is my favorite website now !
    I did not read all the articles yet but I’ll take the time. Hope I’ll get such nice pictures as yours.
    Thanks also for being yourself as an introvert in a world so group or extrovert-oriented !

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  3. Love this article! I, too, am fiercely independent and enjoy my own company. I have plenty of good friends and a wonderful large family, and while I appreciate them all, I am very happy having alone time. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this. I have taken a few solo travel trips the past few years with great success. I did take a trip recently with a friend, which was also quite fun. If you get the opportunity to travel with others, I suggest making it short, and getting an Airbnb or something larger than a hotel room. Appreciate your friend’s differences instead of seeing them as holding you back. My friend has a very artistic side, which led me to visit some art exhibits I normally would pass by. She also noticed and appreciated things I would have missed. Other people bring different interests to the table, which, with the correct balance, can enhance your experience.

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    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Mandy. I agree with everything you said. Those are great tips for traveling with people–shorter trips are definitely better in that case. Traveling with someone really can change the trip and show you a new side of travel, or a new side of a city you’re visiting together. I try to keep that in mind during more frustrating moments! 🙂

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  4. Hello, I’m also a fiercely independent person and solo traveler. I went to Uganda to sit with the Gorillas in the jungle and it was a bit nervie, but fun. It was a bit scary at night trying to sleep while pouring down rain and unbelievable shattering Thunder. I had time to read, crochet and visit the orphanage in Bwindi all on my schedule. Having to deal with someone while traveling can be exhausting for me and always having to watch what I say and how I say it are tiring. I just don’t care for having to pay the solo fees.

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    1. Sounds like you’ve had some amazing adventures! It’s really nice to have time for yourself, to be alone, and to do what you want on a solo trip. But yes, paying extra for rooms or tours is the worst. Thanks for reading, Sylvia.

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