Why I Travel Alone

By Nomadic Matt | Published December 22nd, 2014

watching the sunset alone in a national park in alaska“Joe, did you book your ticket yet?” I asked.

“No. I changed my mind. I’m not going to go.”

“What? You aren’t going to Australia? We’ve been planning this vacation for months!”

“Yeah, I don’t feel like it. We’ll go some other time.”

Over the coming weeks, I attempted to get my friend to reconsider, but to no avail. When Joe changed his mind, he changed his mind. Our trip to Australia – our big post-college adventure – was off. And none of my friends wanted to replace him. If I wanted to travel, it would have to be on my own.

It’s a pattern that has repeated itself over the years. While a few people have joined me along the way, more often than not plans to meet friends in far-flung places don’t pan out. When it comes down to the wire, something always comes up, they’re suddenly too busy, or they get cold feet and change their mind.

It’s taught me that if I wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere.

But there are places I want to go, people to see, experiences to have, and food to try — and only so much time to accomplish it all.

So I refuse to wait – I won’t let others keep me from realizing my dreams.

It can be scary traveling alone – especially when you’ve never done it before. But, to me, growing old without experiencing everything you want from life is scarier.

If you’ve been putting off a trip because you’re waiting for someone to go with – stop. Just go. Don’t let others hold you back from your dreams. Trust me, along the way you’ll make plenty of friends – from other solo travelers who thought “Screw it, if I don’t go, I’ll never go” to locals interested in meeting new people. You’re never alone when you travel.

More than that, solo travel gives you ultimate freedom. You wake up and it’s just you – what you want, where you want, when you want. In that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like. There’s no one to pull you in any one direction or override your reasons. Want sushi? Get sushi. Want to leave? Leave. Want to try bungee jumping? Go for it.

It’s sink or swim and you have to learn how to survive – who to trust, how to make friends, how to find your way around alone. That’s the greatest reward of solo travel – the personal growth. Each time you go away, you learn to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with your emotions and desires.

Solo travel is not for everyone. Some people return home soon after departing, others cry for weeks before embracing it, and some just embrace it right away. But you’ll never learn that if you don’t travel once by yourself. Whether a weekend away, a two-week vacation or trip around the world, try it at least once.

Don’t wait for people or hold back from living your dreams. You could be waiting a long time until someone finally says “yes.” There’s only now and if you don’t go, you’ll regret it.

Because if I hadn’t stopped waiting, I’d still be in my cubicle, trying to convince Joe to go to Australia, and wondering if I’d ever get to see the world.

comments 115 Comments

Betty

awesome post! and you’re absolutely right, you can’t wait on people when it comes to living your life. even if it means going the journey alone.

and really, how can you expect anyone to want to go places with you if you can’t stand the thought of going to those same places by yourself? a lot of the time we are our own best company :D

Great post, Matt. There’s lots of awesome new friends out there just waiting to meet you! Meetup.com is a great way to make new friends on the road.

I’m starting my solo trip around the world in January. I am sooo exctied!
Solo travel gives you ultimate freedom – so true.

Karen Shakespeare

Nailed it Matt. I have been travelling alone for 10 years now. And l waited 10 years to do it! I was too sared. How ridiculous in hindsight! Always, my friends would get excited & agree to travel with me. Always they ended up finding an excuse to back out. In the end l realized, it was my dream, not theirs. So one night under the influence of champagne, l booked a flight to Singapore. The next morning l was disgusted with myself. What was l thinking! Rather than lose the money, l flew into Changi Airport. I remember standing at the train station heading into the city, suddenly all fear was gone and l felt all grown up. I was a woman of the world! The excitement has never left me. I have outgrown my friends now and that’s ok. Because l found a world full of friends all heading in my direction.

Richard

Solo around the world ? I have a dream to spend a month in Australia, and 2 week trips to half-dozen countries “in the area” (Bali, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, etc) but having trouble figuring out how to do it, as I’m not really familiar with much about any of the countries. What resources have you used in planning your trip?

Anna

Viet nam is wonderful country. You should come here one tim

Nice sentiments, I travel alone because no one goes with me, and now I prefer it that way, because I can do whatever I want whenever I want, and I love that!
Katie

Totally agree. I always invite friends to join me for trips or to visit me while I’m an expat. However, I know that it’s usually a fruitless exercise. It has happened 2 times which were great. But I never plan on it actually happening. Instead, I go alone and enjoy the hell out of myself. If a friend actually does follow through and visit me, we’ll have an awesome time. If not, I’ll still have an awesome time!

Short and sweet. Well said Matt!

Ken

I have often traveled solo. The first time, when I was 18, a friend bailed on me a month before departure, and this after two years of planning and saving. After a 20 minute breakdown I decided to go it alone, and had a great time. One could really travel on $5 a day when back when. I really grew up those two months in Europe. I still travel alone when a situation presents itself. As I work at home, when a deal comes alone online, I pounce. Just returned from Iceland, and then Barcelona. Years ago, when I was in Stockholm for my business, an ad appeared in the paper about trips to St. Petersburg. The EST line just had a catastrophe, as a ferry sank and many died. They were desperate for passengers on their other ferry. None of my Swedish friends would go with me and I heard dozens of excuses. I booked a double room on the boat (5 days; 3 meals a day; an evening an whole day, and whole morning in St. Petersburg) for $90. It was January, but so what; it was a fantastic visit. The choice is simple. Either you go or not, and wind up in a cubicle waiting. A totally agree with you Matt, carpe diem.

There’s no time like the present!

We’re on the same wavelength today, my friend. I just posted a super similar post about solo backpacking! I think things like this often seem scarier than they actually are, and most of the time we’re stronger than we think we are. It’s just a matter of giving it a try! :)

Agreed, but I don’t usually have this problem. More often than not, it’s me going out solo and meeting friends when I land. I get to travel, and they get to see my perspective on their world for a short time.

saloni

Agreed . Moreover,solo travel makes you more confident and responsible . You’ve got nobody else to figure out the train schedules but yourself. :P

James

I had a similar experience. Me and a friend were planning a trip to run with the bulls in Pamplona for about a year. When it came time to buy tickets he kept putting it off and putting it off. It ended up costing me a lot more in plane tickets. I ended up going alone and it was one of the best experiences, and I met some great people along the way. It inspired me upcoming solo trip to Thailand.

Great writeup! I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had multiple friends that fear the plunge, so I started taking a solo trip every single year. It’s initially challenging, but now has become a rhythm for each year that I look forward too. Everyone needs to be able to “go” on their own at least once. What a character-building opportunity.

Karen

Hi Matt, great post. I prefer solo travel, and my main reason is because one of the main reasons I love travel is getting to know different cultures. I prefer traveling alone, because I meet so many people, and get to hear their life stories. I either meet other travelers in hostels, or locals. Now that I’m married with a 5 yr old, I rarely travel by myself now, and I do miss it.

Many travelers I have met over time have faced this problem. I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by a gang of close friends that since high school have traveled the world.

Currently finishing in 1 week my Around-South-America trip with my best friend (amazing 5 months of none stop traveling) and we would probably do many other long trips like this… but the other long trips I will do with my girlfriend; reached this stage in life when some stuff are becoming way more serious then before.

You’ll meet the perfect girl for you; and will always have the best traveling person afterwards :)

Hey Matt,

these are exactly the reasons why I started traveling alone.
Great post, I especially like the sentence “But I think growing old without experiencing everything you want from life is scarier”, couldn’t have said it better!

Cheers,

Sarah

As someone who has pretty much only traveled solo since I was 18, if someone uses the excuse that they have no one travel with and that is why they don’t travel, I just roll my eyes and walk away. I can’t even deal with that excuse.

Totally agree!

I did a solo trip to Europe when I was 21 and it changed.my.life. The whole way I approached things when I got home was different, new found confidence I suppose!

Yep, solo travel is the best. I don’t even really understand why people hang out with random strangers at their destination. The whole thought of spending time with someone you just met in the lounge at a backpackers freaks me out. People have to prove that they are going to be better than my own company before I spend time with them.

theveldtrekker

Awesome bro!!

Travelling alone definitely has its bonuses; I find it gives you more opportunity to interact with locals because people are more likely to try and help a single traveller than they are a pair or group. The big problem is when you get *too used* to solo travel, it can be hard to get back into the mode of compromising when you do end up with other people.

We’ve been travelling for over five months now and, just as you describe, almost all the friends from home who said they’d visit are toeing the dirt about it. I think we take for granted how apprehensive some people get about taking a trip!

NomadicMatt

It’s easy to say yes. It’s harder to buy the plane ticket.

Terry

Hi, Cher — Go!

Yes, you will have moments of doubt and fear. You may feel sad. But go anyway! If this is some place you’ve always wanted to see, then go see it!

If you need something to take your mind off things, travel is the perfect way to do it — new surroundings, new people, new adventures. You will surprise yourself at how well you can handle things.

As a “woman of a certain age” and an introvert to boot, I can tell you that there is lots of life out there. Go experience it.

Wishing you a bon voyage!

Cher

Thanks Terry, maybe I’ll see you in Vietnam. I’m going!!

I just started travelling at the end of November this year and I’m doing it on my own! Was intimidated at first. But I love it. You get to meet amazing people and make your own decisions and do what you want. I suggest anyone thinking about it dive in.

Sounds like how I started traveling solo–while studying abroad in London I couldn’t get anyone to go away for a weekend, so I started going on my own and enjoyed it. I’d still rather have one person to share my travels with, but I also enjoy taking time for myself to just wander the streets and hiking trails without worrying about what the other person wants.

RJnSD

I couldn’t agree more, Matt! I began to travel alone years ago when I wanted to go to Russia. Several friends were excited about going, but when it came down to making reservation, all plans came to a halt. I did exactly what you did, I traveled there solo, and did meet up with a tour group in Moscow. And I had a wonderful time. Since that trip, I’ve travelled other places in the world, solo, and love it. I’m not waiting for anyone, I’m going! You rock, Matt!

Sky

Yes, exactly…I would honestly love to travel with my friends because there are some experiences that are just better with a friend at your side but I quickly learned, as you did, that I would be waiting forever if I never traveled solo.

Dc traveler

From traveling with a partner for 15 years I just recently found myself on my own. It was a surreal experience when I did my first solo trip, a 3 week adventure in Italy, that started and ended with completely opposite emotions. For 3 days, I cried to bed missing my kids. By the time my trip was over I was refreshed, excited to be where I was and head back home. Mission accomplished. Solo or not I will be on the road. You just meet people. Twice on my trip I met folks with whom I changed plans and had a 1-2 day detour.

NomadicMatt

Solo travel is never alone travel. I think I often meet more people when I’m alone than when with friends.

Ha, this resonated with me. I’m a seasoned traveler, but I have always done so with my boyfriend. In February I am going to India with a friend, and now that I have got my flights and visa sorted, she decided that she is scared she is going to come up with psychosis and nutrition imbalance. I wish I was making this up, but I am not. So I guess: India, here I come, on my own. :)

NomadicMatt

You’ll have a blast! I’m sure of it.

Great blog post, people can let you down big time when it comes to going. Travel sounds wonderful at first and of course people will say yes to going but when it actually comes to the booking some start to back out once more concrete plans start to take place. Go alone and you only have yourself to blame, much more easier to make happen.

NomadicMatt

….and if you don’t like it, you can always come home.

Great post. I agree that if you wait for a travel partner then you will be waiting forever. I find travelling solo a great enriching experience. I have also met a lot of amazing people along the way.

Frida

I’m a woman in my 50s who has not traveled much. I went to Europe with my father last summer – my first big trip! I am now saving to to travel solo and am still contemplating where. Can you recommend a blog to follow that addresses issues I might face? I do get yours and love the inspiration.

Ret

My “2nd” mother is still wandering the world solo at 73. She’s been to 60 countries. Prefers hostels to hotels, to meet others. She is linguistically challenged, but learns a few words in each language: yes, no, please, thank you, hello, good bye, then she points at everything else. From me – when I travel, I’m always aware of my surroundings, and have learned that if you are approached by someone asking if you speak English, you’re a potential target. Don’t bring expensive anything, immediately go to a grocery store and buy a few things. Carry the local logo bag around. Leave your white sneakers at home.

Great post Matt.

I think I’ll get a tshirt with this quote “There’s only now and if you don’t go, you’ll regret it.”

NomadicMatt

Take a picture when you do! :)

Really like this post! I do enjoy solo traveling from time to time. It does give you an incredible amount of freedom. Only one downside for me though: I tend to do/see more when traveling with someone else, cause you push each other to do/see more. When I’m traveling by myself I sometimes find myself getting a bit lazy.

Awesome post and spot on. I had the exactly same experience few years ago.

I had plans with my friend to go and walk a mountain to see a volcano, but the day before he cancelled because it was a Sunday morning we planning to go and he wanted to go and “party” Saturday evening.

I was scared to go by myself but I decided to just go with it and do it alone.

It was the most awesome thing I have seen in my life, a volcano right in front my eyes, I’ll never forget that day.

Addie

This. Is. Awesome. Thank you!

Kim

Same thing happened to me. My friend and I were supposed to go backpacking for six months but she backed out. I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me so I went by myself and had a better time then if she went with me. Traveling on my own enabled me to get out of my comfort zone and meet people along the way who I may not have talked to if I was traveling with friends.

NomadicMatt

Never let others dictate your plans.

Paul

So Matt, what happened to Joe in the end?

NomadicMatt

Sadly, he’s still never been to Australia.

Thank you so much for this post! It was exactly what I needed to hear. Ive sold everything I own and booked a one way ticket to the other side of the world, and am leaving in a week. I’ve been worrying about exactly what you posted about, being lonely, not making friends or enjoying my adventure. You were the motivating voice I needed to hear. Thank you!

NomadicMatt

I’m glad it could help!

mike

For 20 years I been traveling alone , just the other day a friend put a map up on facebook it asked how many states have you visited. Now here is the deal only places i have not been is pacific north west about nine states alaska and hawaii included.

Love this post! I’ve always loved traveling solo and never really seen the issue with it, but more and more I see how many friends of mine think it’s a strange thing to do.

Same questions: “Don’t you get lonely?” “Don’t you get bored?” “Aren’t you scared?”. No, no, no! How can you be lonely and bored exploring a brand new place with never-before-seen landscapes and fascinating new people to meet? Why would I be more scared than I would be in my home city?

And like you said, I can indulge my own preferences when traveling when I do it solo – I love photography, and I realize every time I’ve traveled with friends, I don’t take quite all the photos I’d like to. I feel bad making my friends stop all the time to take a photo I want, or waking up at dawn for perfect light but risking disturbing them sleeping the next bed over, or dragging them on a hike I know they don’t want to do for a vista point at the end. Alone, I can do all these things without any guilt or issues!

NomadicMatt

I feel the same way!

Yes you are absolutely right. When you travel alone what you have is freedom to do what you want to. And it’s the best thing.

NomadicMatt

Heck yeah!

Really liked this post. So convincing. Never before have I traveled alone, but after reading this post I will definitely try one day! Thanks for sharing.

Matt

Awesome post! Reading the replies and seeing how many people travel alone just took away some of the anxiety of traveling alone.

genevieve

This SO resonates with me. I have so many friends who would be down with the whole “let’s to go X country!”, even when I said are we really doing this? Because I am serious. Always – Oh, yes, this is so happening. Let’s pick our dates, let’s talk about what we’ll do and maybe we can hit another nearby country while we’re there. For months. And every single time, when I would finally say I’m ready to buy tickets, it would all switch to “What? That’s crazy! I can’t (afford it/take time off/leave my boyfriend and/or cats, you name the reason).

I finally realized that I just needed to pick a country and dates and go. I tried – realllllly tried – to find someone to go with me, but I got the same old excuses, so I went by myself. It’s totally true – you can’t let your goals and desires depend on someone else’s participation.

And now most of those friends tell me how lucky I am that I “get” to travel. I’ve stopped trying to explain that anyone can make the choice to travel and now just agree with them :P

Candice

This sounds so familiar.. when ever I want to go everyone has an excuse!! even locally I live in a beautiful British Columbia and even trying to get someone to go exploring in Whistler or the Island is like pulling teeth!! Next year looks like I will be going solo to Italy, but their loss not mine!

Gwen

I woke up recently and realized that I was 59 and that I have limited travel under my belt. I’d love to spend most of my next 10 years traveling. It will prob have to either be alone or with a group of people I have never met before. Either is fine by me I just want to go!

I think everyone should travel alone AT LEAST once. It’s frightening at times, but when you arrive you let all your fears behind and you realize you are absolutely FREE to do whatever you feel like to and unconsciously more open to new friendships and experiences. It’s truly liberating.

Tia

I have had experiences travel alone to South East Asia. It was incredible moments.

Inspiring post! Something to think about, thank you for sharing :)

Matt, i agree with your opinion of solo trip. But to go for holiday trips, especially to Kerala, it’s more enjoyable if we join with our friends and family members. Travelling through houseboats in Kerala will be enjoyable if we travel with our friends or family.

Thanks for sharing! I completely agree that it is sometimes tough to travel on your own, but if you never take that leap, you never grow. It was my willingness to travel alone, and even to move to a place I’d never even seen, that found me my best friend and traveling partner in crime! Sometimes things are best done alone, and sometimes, those decisions lead us to others worth traveling with :)

~Leigh

Great Post! The funny thing is that now that I actually started travelling alone, I don’t really want my girlfriends to come with me anymore – it is so much easier to meet new people when you are by yourself :))

Traveling alone can be super scary, however it is probably the greatest thing ever. When I traveled Asia by myself I thought I was out of my depth, but when you’re alone, you’re never truly alone. People gravitate towards you and you are constantly interacting.

That’s true. Even when venturing out solo locally when I lived in Florida, I got “adopted” into many groups of people who saw that I was alone and invited me to hang out with them. Many of them ended up being “single serving friends” as the narrator of Fight Club calls it, but it was still a great time. Similar has happened while solo traveling.

Jemille

Inspiring post! I have traveled solo and had good times! I now travel with my partner yet sometimes feel a bit of nostalgia for the days I braved the world on my own.

Sylvia

Thanks for the encouragement Matt! Recently had to travel alone because my friends were too indecisive. It was great :) I met so many great people along the way.

I love this. :) After a couple years in Germany and having seen very little compared to my time due to plans falling through, I had the same thought: “if I wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere.” When my husband decided he didn’t want to go to Copenhagen, I went alone with a bus tour. The woman next to me ended up being alone also, and we had a fun time roaming around Copenhagen together. I later went alone on a bus trip to Munich, and I’m sure I could have walked around with one of the other people I saw who were alone who hinted at welcoming company, but I decided to go it alone and had a great time.Since then, I still haven’t been traveling as much as I’d like to, but I’ve certainly been seeing more than I would have if I were still waiting on people to follow through with plans. I think this is very true also: “Each time you go away, you learn to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with your emotions and desires.”

Tracy

Great timing! I’ve been traveling on my own since the beginning of November. At first I was a little nervous as a single female. My fears were just that – fears! I’ve got til the end of January 2015 before my epic adventure ends!

I’ve been all over Italy! I have travelled to Spain, France, & Belgium as well. Next week will find me in Portugal! I have found that people are willing to help you. Believe me – a smile goes a long way!

Solo means freedom! Also you learn about yourself. Last month, I wanted to fly home the day I arrived in Rome. Now I am in my element! In fact, other travelers are asking me for directions!

Carpe Diem! I promise you the worst case scenario is that you hate it. Guess what? That’s ok too. You can always go back home!;-)

ron

You are absolutely right on traveling alone. In 2006 I was supposed to go to China with a friend. A couple of months out he had to cancel and I decided to go to Thailand alone. I mapped out a rough outline as to where to go, how many days at each destination, etc. My first morning in Bangkok I remember sitting on the edge of my bed saying to myself — “well Ron you can sit in this hotel room for two weeks or you can get organized and get and see this country”. I was pretty terrified but I got out, figured out what see first, how to get there and everything else along the way including the money, language, etc. I had a terrific time and never looked back. That was about 12 trips to Thailand ago as well as traveling solo to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore & Indonesia. After several people had cancelled on me I decided I am planning my own trips and if anyone wants to join me great, but I’m not planning my trip around if they go or not. Traveling alone expansions my horizons and give me a great sense of satisfaction.

‘Don’t wait for people or hold back from living your dreams. You could be waiting a long time until someone finally says “yes.” There’s only now and if you don’t go, you’ll regret it.’- that applies to so many things in life :) great post

My friends and I are planning a trip in the coming months. But like you said they have a lot limitations, so many requests…

Thank you for telling me that in case they back out, I’m gonna go alone.

Michelle

Spot on again Matt. So many people look at me with pity when they find I’m traveling solo. Sure everyone says they want to go to Italy or Bali, but when push comes to shove they don’t have the time, money, guts or chance to go when you’re going.

Over the years, I have traveled with family, friends and solo. There are benefits to traveling solo people. Life is short. Make the most of your opportunities.

Thank you for your post, I travel alone and always you will fin a friend either related to your work, hobbie, Facebook or couchsurfing. Particularly this last one helps a lot because if you ask you will find somebody to show you around or just have a beer, and the remote the place is more chance that lonely people will like to join. As a yoga practitioner I always look for yoga studios and the sense of group affiliation will help you not to feel loneliness.

Sharyn

Couldn’t agree more. If the choice is not going because you’ll be alone or going alone, go alone. You won’t regret it. I’ve done it a few times and am glad I did.

De

Matt, you convinced me to go solo this past September and I did. I drove through France to Germany for eight days after traveling with a partner for 20 days. Yes, it’s nice to share experiences with someone, however, it was great traveling by myself. I decided where to go, what to do and how long to visit. At 62, I discovered I can travel on my own. A renewed sense of independence–it had never left me.

Moveinon

I like traveling alone and was lucky enough to have two months off work to travel for 12 years many years ago. But, and isn’t there always a but, for the last 30+ years I have travelled for 1-4 months each year with my sweet heart. All totaled I have probably traveled about 5 or 6 years over the last 40 years. Our style of travel and things we like to experience and see is very compatible. We still travel much as I did as a solo traveler staying in hostels and eating similarly. As a solo traveler I made a lot of short term friends mostly girls, but some guys also. But none of these connections were lasting. As a couple we have made friendships with people in a number of countries -some of which have lasted over 30 years. As a solo male traveler a lot of (but certainly not all) local people were somewhat more reticent to open their homes to me, I know this is less of an issue with ladies traveling alone. I guess as a couple we are much less threatening and have found that people everywhere are much more open to us. In addition, having two of us has more than doubled the languages that we speak. We can always easily get by in any country without the language skills, but without being able to communicate it is very difficult if not impossible to really connect with non-english speaking people and become friends. If you travel like we do without a lot of reservations, tours, or cruises which provides the ultimate flexibility as a traveler sooner or later you will find yourself stuck. Stuck by redshirts in Thailand, flooding in Vietnam, transit strike in France and another in Italy, or freak snow storm in the Alps can mean spending all night alone in a closed train station or at a seedy hotel or coming into a big city unexpectedly in the middle of the night or many other unexpected situations we have found ourselves in. These experiences are less risky when there is two of you, more fun if they are shared and can be pretty scary for someone alone, especially a lady alone. If the choice is to go solo or not go it is a no brainer to choose to go solo (personally I probably would also choose going solo over going as a group), but if the choice includes opting to share the experience with someone you love to travel with then it is no question that is the winner.

Kira

I’ve been a solo world traveler for ages now. I most like the fact that instead of when traveling with a friend or family, I meet SO many more people. When with a travel companion, most people talk to each other and only observe others, yet don’t interact with them as often.

Holly

I just posted that one of the things I learned this year is to go alone–rather than not going at all. While I’m new to the concept, I don’t want to miss opportunities. So, I’m starting with small day trips and hope to expand to overnight trips. I love the flexibility of deciding what I want to do and when I want to do it.

Rick

Whereas I have always been willing to travel alone i also feel that I am missing out by not being able to share some peak moments with people I love. I still keep on traveling, too many places to experience.

I actually just had this conversation with someone in the pub last night. She was completely bowled over by the thought that I was traveling alone (and in Ireland, which is just crazy).

And I explained to her that if I’d waited for someone, I’d still be waiting. Instead, I’ve traveled for 7 months already, and all by myself. Funnily enough, I did have a friend come visit me here in Dublin for a week. It wasn’t as much fun as traveling alone. ;)

Beto

Been there done that… actually after making lots of solo journeys, I’d wish a friend to join in a travel adventure for a change… but truth is, getting to coordinate schedules and willpowers to do it has been, in my experience, something next to impossible. Granted, no one wants to lose their job in exchange for trekking three months through South America. But planning together a 2-week escapade to Europe seems out of reach as well. So… rather than let the chances pass me by, I simply seized the moment to do it when I could and did. I’ve always been sort of a lone ranger kind of person anyway. And of course, absolutely no regrets. A friend of mine says “better to be sorry for the things you did, than for the things you didn’t”.

Kristin

Love the post. I prefer traveling alone because I am an introvert (meaning that I recharge from being alone, not that I’m shy). I enjoy the company of others who are independent and feel confident splitting off on their own sometimes, but when I find myself with someone who wants to do every single thing together it can feel stifling. Traveling alone lets me hear myself think, and allows me to discover new things about myself.

Herb

I am 57 years old, and this Spring will be my first real adventure to distance lands. (not counting military travel forty years ago) A friend and I are doing the Rick Steves – 21 day European tour. I am spending big bucks on this maiden voyage, for sure. But I plan to do as much traveling as I can before I leave this earth and I am fully prepared to do much of it alone. Future trips are going to have to be done much more frugally as I don’t want to eat cat food when I retire. I really enjoy your news letters Matt. Maybe we will bump into each other some day. Would love to meet you and say hello.

alain

hey matt what about traveling with almost no budget and alone, do u recommend it? the longer i am waiting to get some money the longer i am not traveling and i feel like ur post came on time but what about the traveling on no budget, do u still recommend it ?

alain

oh i forgot to say i am planning to buy a little tent or sleeping bag so i can sleep wherever i want, my budget is less then 250euro right now, i already give up my house n work so i really hope it will work out , i hope u can reply with some cool tips and tricks
i do take my cam n laptop with me i might do some work on my way who knows
bliss

Traveling with someone & sharing an adventure together, can be a very bonding rewarding experience. But I agree, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of a solo adventure. You go where you want to go, when you want to go and everything gets filtered through your direct experiences. The people you meet. The food you eat. The things you do. It’s all up to you. Not that you can’t experience such things with another traveller. It’s just that when you travel solo its a much more personal journey. And I love that aspect about traveling alone. Just because you travel alone, doesn’t mean you’re lonely(although that can be part of the experience), it just means you’re forced to interact with locals & strangers. Such interactions deepen your experience in unexpected & memorable ways. As a result, you gain a deeper more colorful understanding of yourself & your surroundings. I love traveling solo.

Ivonne

I absolutely agree with you. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, but every time I book the ticket, there’s always something come up and I have to cancel it. LOL
Traveling alone teaches about yourself deeply actually :)

Great post. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, but I always make some lame excuse and I end up not doing it.

Cheryl

I agree! You can spend as little or as much as you want on food, lodging, walk all day or just sleep if you feel like it. I traveled to Belgium and The Netherlands on my own a few years ago. I am now planning a trip to Brittany and Northern Spain. I’ve asked a few people if they would like to join me and no one wants to. Actually I’m sort of relieved. People tell me they would be afraid to do this. I am female and 60+ but I know I will be safe. As safe as anyone can be. You have to take some risks in life!

You should never be afraid to travel alone, or even reconsider your plan because someone ditched you!
It’s an even bigger adventure! You will meet so many people!
I decided to go to Australia to work there for 1 year, all alone, and I met so many winderful people, and found a lot of jobs!

Meghan

This is an amazing post Matt! Having no one to travel with held me back so many years. Then eventually I took my first road trip alone, then moved to China alone to teach, and now I’m headed on a three week adventure in Thailand alone. Thailand ALONE will be my biggest challenge yet, and I can’t wait to see the amount of growth I will have achieved afterwards. Buuttt its still intimidating, and your post is exactly what I needed for a little boost of courage!! Thanks for sharing!

Andrew

I travel alone all the time. I like setting my own schedule and doing my own thing.

Maybe I’m selfish, but I like the freedom of not having to accommodate someone else.

I do what I want & meet plenty of people while traveling to keep me interested.

“Each time you go away, you learn to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with your emotions and desires”.
I like your words… It should be the quotes.
I like travelling alone. It makes me feel the real freedom.

Solo travel enables greater self change in my opinion. Comfort and conformity are easy and uninspiring. If you’re really looking to enrich your life, solo is key.

That being said, a short vacation with a friend never hurt either!

I waited for a bit and when two years had past and nobody wanted to go with me, I said F it! I’m going alone! Over the years later and I’m still on the road, alone…But never really alone :)

Hey Matt,

Great post, I’ve traveled a few times over seas with travel “buddies” I refuse to travel with any one again. I now tell them where I am going and when.. and I can see them there…

Also I think that “It’s taught me that if I wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere.” is a key for life in general. If you want it, do it, don;t wait for anyone or anything…

Dayn

After traveling alone, why would you travel with anyone else. The joys of being on your own timetable can’t be beat. And people are easy to meet if you want company. I just returned from a month long solo trip to Barcelona and am planning a trip to Portugal in the spring.Would not be possible if I went with anyone else. Love solo travel.

Hi Matt

Your post reminds me of a similar experience that my daughter faced after she was let down at the last minute by a friend who had agreed a post college trip around the world via Australia. However, she did not have the confidence to travel alone so persuaded another friend to join her, which turned out to be a disastor for all the reasons you mention. Now all travel is done alone and she loves it!

Such an important post to write! I completely agree with you. I’ve traveled solo twice and while it is a lot harder for me to do I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to see a new country just because I didn’t have someone to travel with. All of my friends have an excuse for why they can’t go so traveling solo is better than staying home!

I have wanted to go to Peru to hike the Inca Trail since my sister came back 2 years ago. I’ve been researching and researching, and I’ve finally decided that 2015 is my year. Last year, I planned to go in May, and then my other sister bailed on me. You couldn’t have said it any better Matt – if you’re always waiting on someone else, you’re going to miss out on so many opportunities for yourself.

That’s why I’m going to Peru alone. :)

Ben

I agree with the ‘getting out there and doing it’ sentiment, and how travel really is one of the greatest things one can do, but it does not have to be alone.

My passion for travel started late (ish) in life. I did an organised tour for a month and then planned on moving to Peru for study and charity work…but that would still have been organised.

Then I met Caroline and our shared passion for travel means we are now sat in Vietnam, 3 months in to an 18 month RTW trip. We push each other to try new things and we wouldn’t be without each other. We are learning as much about ourselves as each other.

Because if I hadn’t met Caroline, I’d still be at home, trying to convince myself to leave, and wondering if I’d ever get to see the world.

NomadicMatt

Looks like we both have our muse!

Cher

I need some help. I’m thinking of travelling alone on the trip I brought for me and my husband. Unfortunately we separated just before Christmas. I still have my ticket, but I’m worried I will feel lonely and a bit sad. This trip was going to be our first one together alone in 25 years (we travelled with the kids during that time). I have no idea how to make friends on a holiday and I’m no spring chicken. Should I go or will it be heart-breaking and not worth the effort. I’d like to go but I’m scared. Some words of advice from you and your fans would be a help. Thanks Matt. Love your enthusiasm.

Natasha Rudd

Hi Matt

I’m looking to travel to Australia in late September this year and work for up a year! I have been wanting to this for years but not sure if I have the courage to go on my own. I have looked into pre planned group flights (bunac?) but not sure if this is my thing, it seems that most of the people that sign up for this are students on gap years (i want a career break) I’m up for meeting people along the way and staying in a hostel for a few days but I want to do a combination of work, sightsee and experience Australia. How would be the best way to do this…? As I’ve never worked abroad before, do I go with pre planned group thing and get help with a job and accomodation or organise everything myself. Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks Natasha

I totally agree. On the other hand, there are interesting people at the destination you’re going to. If you’re a socially skilled and can carry a decent conversation with people of different cultures I don’t see how you can get lonely when you do solo travel.

Solo travel can be great – it gives you the most choice. Good to see that many others on here like it too.

Waoh, a truly inspiring blog to travel alone. Even I think traveling alone is a stress buster as you just can what relaxes and rejuvenates you.

” But you’ll never learn that if you don’t travel once by yourself”

Thats the key phrase in mind that everyone should have, just try it embarance the fear break your comfort zone.

Melinda

I’m going overseas for the first time in my life to Cambodia on my own for a month! I never thought I would have the courage to. I’m going on a 2 week tour then 2 weeks voluntary work in April. It’s all I can think about at the moment I’m that excited!

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