1. Full autonomy over the daily itinerary.
I can visit any museum, church, monument, etc. I desire. Even better, I don’t have to go to another art museum just because someone in the group wants to.
2. Get up and start the day at any time.
Wake up at 6am? Sure. Sleep in till 11am? Also fine.
3. Spend an entire day sitting at a local coffee shop.
Sipping coffee while on my laptop and secretly watching passersby.
4. Take a tour.
On the other hand, if I really want to do that ten-hour history tour that nobody else cares about except people twice my age—I can.
5. Ability to eat anything.
No hassle of worrying about others dietary restrictions. I.e. – Making special arrangements for the friend who is vegan and gluten-free.
6. Choice of where to stay.
Stay at a hotel? Sure. Guest-house? Cool. Homestay? Why not.
7. Workout in the room.
By “workout” I mean jumping around in a sports bra. Sometimes also holding water bottles as if they are weights. Maybe even watching Beyoncé music videos, pretending to be a backup dancer. Not possible if I were with others.
8. Loud conversations with people at home.
I am able to Skype with my boyfriend late at night or early in the morning.
9. Judgment-free bedtime snacks.
At night I can lie in bed and eat chocolate without hesitation. Who cares about crumbs if I’m leaving tomorrow, right?
10. Indulge in TV show favorites.
I can tune into Scandal with no judgment.
11. Privacy not necessary.
In the hotel room there’s no need to shut the door when using the toilet.
12. Freedom to shower first.
Sometimes when traveling in a group you have to rotate the shower order. Beyond that, multiple girls trying to get ready at once, whether in the morning or to go out at night, can take hours. Literally.
13. No suitcase organization system needed.
Determining whose suitcase goes in which corner is not necessary.
14. No cleanliness compromises.
I can keep my hotel or home-stay room as clean or as messy as I wish.
15. Option to go out or stay in.
If it’s Saturday night and I really want to go out, drink and have fun—I can. But if I would just like to eat cheese and watch newly released TED talks… I can do that too.
16. Not forced to sit at a beach all day.
I, unlike almost every other girl in the world, do not particularly enjoy sitting out at the beach all day. When alone, I don’t even have to go to a beach. And if I decide to visit a popular beach town, I can spend the day walking around and visiting other attractions
17. Long-term scheduling flexibility.
If I happen to like a destination along my travels, I am free to stay longer.
18. Quickly change plans.
On the other hand, if I totally hate a place, I can change plans suddenly. “Ugh, I hate it here. I just want to go back to ___________.” And I am able to go the next day, no discussion.
19. Be upset and no one has to watch.
Sometimes traveling gets tough. Even little things can sometimes trigger a sea of emotions. Luckily, when alone, I can cry and nobody has to be a witness.
20. Take each day as it comes.
Essentially, I can take each day at my own pace: no adjustments, no compromises for other people’s agendas, no drama. Just my suitcase and me.
The point is you don’t need friends or family or a boy/girlfriend or a husband/wife by your side to visit the cities and countries on your bucket list. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” when you and “fill-in-the-blank” have matching schedules. Or when the workload gets lighter. Guess what, there’s never going to be a perfect time. We all have significant others, family issues, financial stress or a laundry list of responsibilities we just can’t step away from.
Let it all go and just explore on your own. Don’t worry; the people and responsibilities will be there when you get back.
Traveling alone is empowering in a way traveling in a group is not. After exploring solo, you will discover new cultures, ideas and ways of approaching problems. Even more, exploring alone aids in self-discovery: passions, pet peeves, interests, potential future career paths, dislikes and so on.
And then when you make way back home, you will be a better person. This newfound and heighten self-awareness will allow you to be a better friend, significant other, child, sibling, coworker or boss.
So stop waiting for the right time or the right travel partner. Go alone and go now before it is too late.