Before I set off to create my own virtual reality series, Arielle was the co-creator of a separate travel series TV pilot of the same name Chasing the World. She is one of my closest friends and a very talented producer.
Last Christmas I really wanted to go on a trip while I had some time off, but all my friends already had plans to go home and visit their families. I had my eye on Tasmania, Australia, but what should I do? Go alone? Traveling solo seems scary, nerve-racking and a bit stressful, but I built up the courage and went anyways. My trip to Tasmania ended up being on of my favorite trips and I believe it was because I went solo. From my experience, these were the top 5 best and worst aspects of traveling solo.
# 1 – Flexibility
You can go wherever you want, when you want – on your own time! You can change your plan for the day in accordance with the weather, your mood or a glimpse of something interesting, without the sort of negotiation traveling with another entails. There is so much power in flexibility. Flexibility leads to spontaneity. And the best experiences usually come from random adventures.
#2 – Friendships/ Connections
When traveling alone you are forced to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people you might have dismissed or ignored if you travelled with a friend. These can be life long travel buddies that you can visit on future trips!
#3 – Long-lasting Memories
Something magical happens when experiencing a new place solo. You pay more attention to your surroundings, using all five senses. There is no one around to distract you from feeling the crisp wind on your face, the sample of gelato on the street or the crazy architecture throughout.
#4 – Trying New Things
You are already so far out of your comfort zone, why not step a bit further? None of your friends are there to see you fail, or tell embarrassing stories, so if you want to sing karaoke in front of the hostel or try a cultural dance with the locals – go for it!
#5 – Sometimes It’s Okay to be Selfish
When traveling solo it is all about catering to your own wants and needs. If spending 10 hours at the museum makes you happy, then go for it! If you want to eat ice cream for dinner after a long walk down the beach, you can! You do not have to worry about someone else’s feelings, which means you can concentrate more on your own.
#1 – Travel Photos
Yes, you are having a great time, and wow isn’t that temple so beautiful, but damn, how will anyone know I was actually here? It is hard to take photos of yourself in locations when traveling alone. Also, unlike your friends who will take 1000 until they get the jump just right, a passerby will take one – with your head chopped off.
#2 – Expenses
Sometimes traveling solo can be more expensive, such as when you have to rent a car alone or take taxis. All of these expenses are much cheaper when traveling with a friend. It is also easier to get ripped off when traveling solo, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and prepare yourself with the proper research.
#3 – Eating Alone
It can be a bit tough when you have had a fabulous day and all you want to do is sit across from a friend and share all the fun adventures you experienced over a big, warm dinner. Instead, you sit alone, probably with no cellphone, patiently waiting for your food as the waiter asks you one last time if someone will be joining you.
#4 – Boredom
Most of the time when traveling, boredom is not a huge issue, but when solo traveling, a long hike or road trip to the next location can feel like years with no one to talk to. For hostel boredom, it’s best to have a journal to write in or a book to read if no one is around for socializing.
#5 – Safety and Hassle of Belongings
Need to go to the bathroom in the train station? Have fun bringing all your bags in the tiny stall with you… It is difficult when traveling alone to always watch over all your belongings while in the airport, train station, bus, hostel etc. Also, you have to double, triple check that you do not leave belongings behind.
When it comes to solo traveling – best advise is have a good backpack that can carry all of your belongings so that you are not trying to carry to many separate bags. (Sydney Airport, Australia)