As a rebel teenager I did a lot of solo travel, especially by bus or car in Europe, mostly in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. At the time, I had a very limited budget and going on my own was the only possibility to see a lot, in short time, while having the full control of my schedule.
However, little by little, I give up going on my own – and I also got a full time extraordinary job – discovering that I have enough friends and welcoming relatives all over the world that will always find time to share more or some time with me. Eventually, they will introduce me to more people and will guide me into the secrets of their places. Welcome in the world of social networks! Not too much solo travel left, except the moments of taking off when I needed to carefully set up my to-do-list. But compared with other travellers, I am not that strict when it comes to the planning of my adventures and I want to reserve a generous space to the surprise moments when I find unique corners and places not included in the famous guides or tours.
Nowadays, in most cases, I travel with family and especially during the summer it is lovely to have the opportunity to go together on a trip more or less planned. During the year, everyone of us has something to do and accommodating the free time is not always easy, especially after you’ve been repeatedly told that it is not accepted at all to take the kids out of the school for…a family trip. The feeling of taking your ticket and going in the train but not sure what are you going to do exactly and when you are supposed to go back. Somehow, the drop of adventure that the solo travel is always looking for is always here and I do not need too much to long after the free days when I did not find anyone brave enough to accompany me during my wanderings.
Professionally speaking, there it is always a good reason for me to do not travel solo. When I travel with someone else, I always can have a larger perspective on a specific place. For instance, checking and testing the opportunities offered for children, or finding out the best science museums or how the transportation network is working. I have more priorities on the list and I can discuss with the ‘gang’ what is good and not, what should I recommend and where some improvements would be welcomed. At a certain extent, everyone is involved somehow in my travel adventure and I love the feeling.
However, as a solo traveller – I noticed during my last trip to France, the first solo exploration in more than 2 years – I do have a lot of time for myself, and less constraints to spend as much time as I want doing what I want. I can stay without eating every 4 hours or I can walk 10 hours and explore neighbourhoods instead of succumbing to the pressure of the masses requiring a stop NOW.
And it is more than obvious, that the overall costs of a solo trip are less, from the transportation to accommodation, food and entertainment.
But where is the fun to share memories and a laugh with someone you know? Of course you can start talking with people on the street and make new friends, especially if you are on a mission to improve at least a foreign language. Don’t forget though that this could be dangerous or you might look a bit lunatic though, especially if you are doing it in a very Western way in very conservative societies.
As my travel plans are expanding and I love it, I see more solo travel coming up and I am ready for it. Especially because it means that I will feel guilty enough to plan more family and group trips in order to make happier those waiting for me at home.
A happy travel week everyone!