Written by Peregrine Travel Centre SA team member Adriana.
I’ve always been fortunate enough to be able to travel with family or friends, even on past group tours I’ve always had at least one friend with me as a travel companion. When the opportunity arose for me to embark on a 15-day Geckos Adventures tour of Mexico, I couldn’t say no. I didn’t have anyone who was able to travel with me – so I took the plunge and booked myself on my first solo adventure.
Now I love travelling with friends and family, the memories you share while on holiday often strengthen the bond you had before the trip. However, there were elements to travelling on my own that I had not considered, and which have contributed to not only my amazing holiday but to strengthening some of my traits as an almost 30-year-old woman.
Here’s why I think everyone should experience a solo adventure at least once in their life:
You’ll talk to more people
Those who know me will know I could talk to a brick wall if I had to, I’m not afraid to make conversations with strangers. However, sometimes when you do a group tour with a friend you tend to sit with them on the bus, share a room with them and spend a majority of your time talking to them because it is what you are comfortable with. When you do a group tour on your own, you are forced to sit with other people on the tour and go for dinner with them and make conversation with them. Whether it’s laughing with other like-minded Aussies, learning about another culture or a new language from a Danish traveller, or finding the similarities in the life of your New Zealand travel buddy – you will leave with all of these new experiences and take what you’ve learnt with you. You don’t necessarily have to make the effort, but if you do I promise you will walk away with some new-found friends and a new perspective on life.
I also travelled on my own for a few days in Atlanta after the group tour had completed. I took the opportunity on my own in a new city to make the effort to get to know people throughout my day, and I was lucky enough to meet some pretty friendly people who showed me the meaning of southern hospitality and gave me a perspective of what life in Georgia was like.
My travel tip – Something as simple as sitting at the bar when you go for lunch/ dinner means you can make conversation with the bar tender or people next to you rather than sitting at a table for one and looking down at your phone.
You’ll step out of your comfort zone and just be yourself
Meeting new people who don’t know you, or anything about your life back home means you’ll get to be yourself and not worry about what people think. It also means you may find yourself perhaps doing activities that you may have never done at home, for example if the rest of your group decides to do an optional activity that you may not have considered you may take a chance and give it a go because they all are.
Of course, what you get out of a solo trip will depend on your personality; but for me I gained a new-found confidence, a sense of happiness for just being myself and as cliché as it sounds a new-found appreciation of my life and loving who I am. I’ll pull short of calling it life changing, but it definitely has given me a new perspective of myself and helped to strengthen some of my qualities and traits and give me a new found sense of empowerment.
You’ll become more independent
If you haven’t been through an airport on your own or tried to navigate your way on a foreign subway system, then you’re in for a great learning experience. When you travel on your own, making your way to and from places is your own responsibility, there’s no one else to blame if you read a map wrong and end up on the wrong side of a city. Yes, it can be scary being in a new city and not knowing where to go but when you manage to buy a train ticket, get on the right train and reach your destination correctly you’ll be proud that you did it on your own! Plus once you’ve done it once you’ll have more confidence to do it again and pretty soon worrying about being on your own will be a thing of the past.
You’ll have more control
Travelling with a friend involves a fair amount of compromise and consideration, even if you are best friends who travel well together you are always worrying about what the other person wants to do and whether they are happy or enjoying themselves. When you travel solo there is no one to worry about but yourself! Don’t want to do the optional day tour? Don’t! Feel like staying out with your new tour friends instead of returning to the hotel? You can! Want to eat tacos and drink margaritas instead of visiting another museum? Do it! You are in full control of what you want to do on your holiday, it’s empowering, and you feel free not having to consider your friends opinions and feelings. It also means you can make last minute itinerary changes without the fear of disappointing someone else. It really is a way of making sure you get out of your adventure exactly what you want too!
As you can see I really enjoyed my first solo adventure! Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy travelling with friends and would always love to have a travel buddy join me but after this trip I definitely think that everyone should give it a go and have at least one adventure in their lifetime that they embark on on their own. So if there is a destination you’ve always wanted to visit but never had someone who wanted to come with you, don’t put it off any longer. Whether it’s a small group tour on your own where you have the opportunity to meet new people or setting out on your own itinerary solo – I promise you, you won’t regret it!