The hidden struggles of solo traveling
no one tells you about
By Wander Team | 5 minutes read
As solo travelers, nothing touches us emotionally more than a lonely adventure across the world wonders. For us intrepid loners, it feels perfectly normal to plan and execute our trip on our own, from start to end. We decide our itinerary to follow, we pack our stuff in a suitcase/backpack, we book our stay and flight tickets, and we just take off. All this by ourselves.
And while we used to be totally scared and helpless during our humble beginnings and our very first solo exploring sessions, dealing with extreme feelings of loneliness, misery, fear of get lost, and amid concerns for our safety and emergency situations, today we have become who we are because we've learnt how to master the fine art of roaming around alone, by overcoming our fears and limitations.
Today, we are ready to face the world, we don't fear anyone and anything, we don't panic on stressful circumstances - we can fully rely on ourselves when things get though, we are ready to explore even the wildest remotest spot on Earth, we have become our own best friends, but, most importantly, we can fully enjoy our new experiences by not being distracted and engaged by the company of others.
However, we are just not superheroes. Like any other individuals in this world, we may have to deal with negative sentiments, frustrations, unavoidable situations, which has the power to severely impact our journeys.
Sometimes, we may be affected by extreme mood highs and lows swings. We may feel overwhelmed by intense soul-feeding emotions, and, the minute after, hit rock bottom. We may get frustrated because no one seems to understand why we're choosing to hit the lonely road.
Other times instead, all that we're looking for is someone to exchange a word with when we're feeling down. Either way, we're far from perfect. The truth is, no one will ever comprehend your feelings until they experience them firsthand.
But, most of all, no one out there will get to reveal you how does it really feel like to start a solo journey, and only having to rely on your persona about just everything, from feeling sick or ill at 10000 miles away from home, getting in trouble with justice in a foreign jurisdiction, walk 20 km a day, or trying to learn a new language, and more. Here are few of them.
1. We might feel safer when we are with others
That's no secret. Every solo traveler's hidden apprehension is the fear to get involved in something bad, and not being able to make it without borrowing a friendly hand.
This can indeed happen to anyone at any place, however, when exploring a new place, chances are that we are not yet used to that environment. New people, new streets, new challenges, maybe even a different language. All this tends to increase our alert levels, and forces us to take the necessary safety steps.
Nonetheless, we can become victim of every sort of crime, at anytime. Being pickpocketed, robbed, assaulted, being involved in an accident, or, even worse, experiencing a serious injury, is something we never want to wish to anyone. And, if there's no one around you providing first aid, with the exception of locals, we can seriously put our lives in danger.
Even though the chances of this happening is not that high, it is indeed far from remote. Thus, we have learnt the hard way that always exerting caution is fundamental and can be life-saving.
2. We feel lonely during long commutes
Constantly hopping on and off commuting journeys can take a hard toll on our social and communication skills - especially if there are double-digit cruising hours that separate us from destination.
We feel immerged deep into our thoughts; we picture our reaction on approaching that long-awaited ground; we pray for no ride or flight delay; we make sure that we got all our documents and visas ready.
Sometimes we'd like someone to have a chat with, who, in addition to boosting your mood, can also make your commuting time more enjoyable, and less boring. However, we've got our trump card for this! That is, trying to socialize with strangers that come across our roads.
3. We wish we could share the joy of visiting a new place with others
Upon approaching new soil, words can't describe the way we feel. And, by the time we start roaming around that crowded city, unexplored path, narrow alleys, or we engage in adrenaline local activities, sometimes we may feel the urge to share these happiness moments with someone who is directly experiencing it with you, in order to let everything you feel out, telling each other how we felt while we were thrilling on that never-tried-before thing.
This is just not possible when we're the only person doing that. We start picturing ourselves while we describe that amazing adventure to your friends and family back home, and how we wish they could have done that too together with you. But, that'll never happen, and only you will ever know how does it feel like.
4. A few times, splitting bills can double up our travel duration
Needless to say, having someone by our side often translates in us saving up on travel expenses and billing costs. Suddenly, booking a private room for the night becomes half as expensive; hiring a car or a camper/van for a road trip helps us with booking and gas fees; we get those discounts on tickets; and traveling gear and equipment can be shared.
If we travel alone, we simply cannot avail ourselves of this kind of advantages. Moreover, if something breaks up on the way, or needs repair, we are the ones responsible, and will need to put our hands in the pocket. In the long run, sharing our adventures with a fellow traveler means to travel cheaper, for longer, and we just can't deny it.
5. We are timeless introverts
For the most introverts of us, solo traveling is often not a personal choice, rather it is a stretch. That is, we just can't get to make new friends, or become more extrovert, as hard as we try. Hence, the need for rediscovering ourselves through a solitaire adventure.
Over time, this can weigh on us as a burden, and we can become quickly obsessed by our socializing flaws. Sometimes, we even start wondering if there's something wrong with us, that makes us feel good even if we're alone, as opposed to others, and for this reason we try our best to connect with people that we meet along the way, even though we may struggle most of the times in attempting this.
That leaves us with a question: how would have our current trip become if someone else had joined us, would it have helped us to become better journeyers? The answer lies inside us.
Traveling solo can definitely have its pros and cons. Everyone is not the same, with some enjoying their solo time, while other can't hit the road without at least 1-2 persons. And, If you're looking to share your trip with fellow travelers, just subscribe our waitlist 😊
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