Whenever an article is published on the topic of solo travel, it typically comes with a cover photo of a solitary traveler pensively gazing into a distant horizon or longingly overlooking a far-away city landscape or pointing their camera at some monolithic landmark in the distance. These images give the impression that solo travelers are always alone, isolated, on the outside looking in.
However, nothing could be further from the truth! As I've written before, solo travel allows you tremendous freedom and flexibility in how you spend your time and with whom. Solo travel also allows you to engage with the world directly -- the way you can't when you have a travel partner to serve as a "buffer" against the real world.
If you travel with a social, communicative companion -- or are visiting with a local -- you might just let them do most of the travel organizing, decision-making and communicating on your behalf. But, while avoiding fumbling through communication in a foreign environment may keep you feeling comfortable, it also keeps you from learning new things and meeting new people.
Traveling on your own, on the other hand, you have no choice but to interface with everyone you run across. Does that sound lonely or isolated? You'll be talking to strangers on the daily: it's just a game of numbers that at least some of those people will be cool, interesting and fun.
Considering that we live in an unprecedented age of the Internet and social media, there are more opportunities than ever to link up with like-minded travelers as well as to find local classes, workshops, events and meetups for your interests and passions. Facebook alone has a bazillion groups you can join for some "insider" insight into different destinations and people in them -- and there's a swarm of useful apps designed to connect solo travelers to different resources and people around the world.
Boredom is another common fear for aspiring solo travelers. "How will I know what to do with myself with no familiar faces around?" they fret. You'll find a way, my friend, you'll figure it out -- just give yourself a chance!
Research things to do and places to visit in advance, so you don't have to call all the shots on the spot, if that stresses you out. Bring along a destination guidebook that will help you figure out your itineraries and point you toward places and activities of interest. Grab a random fiction book from the local book exchange for when you want to decompress from all the fresh, new impressions you're picking up as you travel. And let's not forget that most of us carry a personal entertainment center in our pocket in the form of a smartphone, for when we want to just zone out to a movie or a video game.
You're going to a far-away land to explore -- that, in itself, should be not boring, to say the least! I'll do a separate blog and video on how to actually motivate oneself to get one's ass out of the hotel door when traveling -- because it's a legitimate challenge, especially for introverted, shy, socially anxious individuals. But if you do "put yourself out there" with an openness to new things and people, you will be rewarded with new experiences and adventures. And you'll get to know yourself better in the process. An active mind and an open social disposition will keep loneliness and boredom away.
Oh, and I have more to say on this topic in this here YouTube video. Check it out!
(By the way, I'm aware of how low-rent my YouTube videos are -- but I'm working on it! I'll get better eventually. Probably. Maybe. We'll see...)
Is It Even About Boredom And Loneliness?
It feels like when people say they are worried about boredom and loneliness when traveling solo, they may be hinting at even deeper fears and discomforts. What many of us truly fear is being left one-on-one with ourselves -- with no one there to "buffer" and distract us from our own demons. It's normal to be afraid to face what's contained within you. As Walt Whitman said: "I am large. I contain multitudes" -- we all do. And some people have never had the chance to spend quality time with themselves and don't even know what to expect -- so they assume the worst.
As usual, though, unspecified fears can make things way worse in our imagination than in reality. The bottom line is that every one of us is an interesting, talented and fun person, each in our own way. We shouldn't fear spending time with ourselves: we should embrace the opportunity to explore our inner-world in the same way we yearn to explore the outside world.
And it's best to get rid of the notion that we must have someone else there to "give us permission" to live our lives. If you really need permission -- WHAMO! -- you have mine now -- I hope that settles it :)))
Be free, evolve, experience, enjoy 🧡