Having completed a study semester abroad in England, I was given many travel opportunities during my time there. Overall, I was able to visit 16 different countries over the course of a few months. I was able to travel both in a group and with just one friend, but I also took a few trips alone. I consider myself a pretty independent person, however whether or not you are should not affect your ability to travel solo. Travelling in a group has its perks, but I believe travelling alone almost has more. My favourite part of solo travelling is being able to do whatever I want whenever I want to, without worrying about what others want to do. I am free to explore and rest as I please, and can go at my own pace. This is also really beneficial when your travels are not entirely planned, as you are able to spontaneously stay longer in places you enjoy.
Here are some tips when travelling solo:
- Do your research properly beforehand. I found it easier to travel solo with some sort of a plan in place for places to stay and activities I wanted to do.
- Speaking of places to stay, pick social hostels. In staying at the right places, I was able to meet other travellers everywhere I went, meaning I could go off on my own but still meet and hang out with others when I wanted to. Many hostels have social events in the evening, which provides great opportunity to meet other travellers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you are travelling with others, it is easier to find your way around and navigate when there are multiple people helping you. However, travelling alone makes you a solo navigator and it is easy to get lost in an unfamiliar city. Don’t be afraid to ask locals for directions, recommendations, and advice.
I believe that my solo travelling experiences gave me ample opportunity for personal growth. I was able to go out into the world on my own, get lost, meet new friends, and explore new places every day in my own way. There are friends I made travelling that I am still in touch with today, giving me even more reason to go out again and travel the world to visit them. When I first travelled alone, I was afraid I would be the only one doing it. However, I quickly realized how many people were actually doing the same thing. Having nobody to travel with is absolutely no reason for not travelling, and gives you an entirely different experience and perspective.
By Camille James, Vancouver Island University. A memeber of BCSA Writers in Residence team and winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.