by Meghan Morgavan May 22, 2018
In my early 20s, I traveled through eight countries in Latin America with my boyfriend. Although we made it back in one piece, it was not without overcoming our fair share of challenges and disagreements. Traveling has the potential to push us and help us grow immensely as individuals, but with the added input and sometimes conflicting interests of another person, the experience of traveling with others can be filled with more decision making and at times more stress.
Don’t get me wrong! Traveling with a companion is incredibly rewarding. You will create countless memories, get to know each other more intimately, and find solace in having someone to rely on. That being said… there is something uniquely liberating about being the sole decision-maker.
From your flight to restaurants to your itinerary, you get to choose everything about your trip. Have you ever grumbled because your partner wanted to wake up before dawn for that sunrise excursion? When you’re on your own, you decide when to set the alarm! You may find that the freedom to choose your plans – or to make no plans at all – adds an extra layer of rejuvenation and calm to your vacation.
When I travel solo, I find myself more open to chatting with strangers. Maybe it’s because I’m lacking for a lunch date or a hiking partner, but the conversations I have with locals or other travelers – in the hostel lobby, at a coffee shop, or on a tour – are some of the most fun and memorable. Your solo status naturally puts you out there to make new acquaintances.
There is value in being alone from time to time. Alone with our thoughts, to contemplate our past and our future, and to just “be” with ourselves. It’s a rare thing in our hectic, distraction-filled lives to spend a moment alone and especially in a new place. Traveling solo can deepen what you know about yourself and give you insights into what you still want to know.