I don’t consider myself to be a particularly brave person. Independent, strong-willed, stubborn – yes. If you asked me to describe myself, I wouldn’t use brave as a qualifier though. It figures pretty low down the list, & I’d actually probably describe myself as more cautious. I reserve that description for soldiers, firefighters, & the like.
My best friend is backpacking through Europe on her own right now though, & we were discussing the comments that ultimately come up when you decide to go on such an adventure. I’ve done the bulk of my travel alone, & as I’ve expressed many times before, I am passionate in my belief that solo travel is important. I suppose I’d given her the impression that it’s also normal. Unfortunately, ten years after my first trip, it’s still not. In fact, more often than not, people comment that they could never travel alone. They’re in disbelief that she’s travelling by herself. I got this reaction often too, & then when I returned, I was often told I was brave for going it alone.
While I also love to travel with friends, I think it’s a completely different experience. (I’m really don’t mean to knock group travel! It has some serious merits too!) I’m sad that the prospect of travelling alone would deter someone from travel at all. Honestly, I feel they’re missing out. I hope perception around this is changing, but we clearly haven’t reached a point of normalization.
If that’s what’s keeping you from an experience, let me just say that you can do it. New experiences can seem daunting at first, but it won’t take long to adapt. Take the leap! I personally loved my experiences & found incredible freedom in the opportunity to do as I pleased. I loved wandering new cities with no real destination, sitting in cafes reading or writing, & taking as many photos as I wanted without worrying that I was holding someone up. It gave me time to figure out who I was on my own, which was invaluable. & since I was mostly hostelling, I met people in the evenings & enjoyed the company of others when I wanted it.
Have you ever travelled alone? Would you consider it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!