In September, I had to travel for the first time all by myself. I went to Svalbard on an Expedition Cruise for two weeks as part of my work FAM trip and I was a bit concerned at first, I must confess.
I travelled by myself before, for a few days or for work. But for several weeks? No, this was a new experience for me and daunting!
Would I be alone for two weeks with no one to interact with and talk to? Would it be easy to talk to strangers and start a conversation? And how do you even start a conversation?
I was overthinking everything and I was stressed. BUT in the end, there was nothing to be stressed and concerned about!
It was a new experience and a really positive one, which I am keen to have again at some point in my life. And here is why.
I experienced a sense of freedom that I never felt before.
For the first time in a while I had the chance to do whatever I wanted to and whatever I felt like doing, without having to compromise on something.
For example, I could read a book for five hours until 2 am in the morning without feeling guilty of ignoring my other half and just spending some quality “Me Time”. Because that was what I really wanted to do at that point in time and nothing else.
I could eat wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I could spend as much time taking pictures without anyone rushing me to hurry up, because they got bored of waiting for me. And the list goes on.
I mean how often do we get the chance while travelling to really do all, and I mean all, the things that we want to do, visit all the sights that we want to see and experience them in the way that we fell is the right way for us?
If you are brutally honest, most likely never, because we always have to compromise on something when travelling together with other people.
Moreover, I felt empowered.
Normally, the majority of us need a sense of security when travelling. And that is totally fine. Whether it being that we do not want to be alone or that we need and/or want someone to look after us. Just in case if something happens.
Also, often without us realising it, we rely on other people for reassurance and confirmation. Is the temple down that road to the left? Where shall we eat? Shall I wear my new red dress or my favourite flower dress? What shall we do tonight? Etc.
However, when we are put in situations where all of a sudden, we are alone and possibly also out of our comfort zone, we start to figure out that we are certainly capable of being by ourselves. We can make our own decisions, look after ourselves and do things by ourselves.
Once you realise this, you feel empowered as you know you are strong and confident and can do things that you previously thought were not possible or really hard to do.
For me this was overcoming my concerns of being alone for two weeks and spending time with strangers, which again was such a great experience.
This goes hand in hand with the empowerment and freedom in my opinion.
Many people follow or tag along what others say and do. And there is technically nothing wrong with that if you truly believe in the same and want to do the same.
I tag along all the time in regards to travel. Partially because of convenience and laziness and sometimes because I cannot be bothered to argue or convince someone to do what I want to do or go where I want to go. And this is where tagging along is wrong.
We all should have the freedom to express our own opinion on what we want to see and do. Just because your friend does not want to go and see the temples around your hotel does not mean you cannot go and see them.
For me, being independent means that I can do things on my own. I do not always need a friend or my partner by my side to visit a certain exhibition that I am interested in or explore a new city.
It means not relying on what other people say all the time. If someone tells me not to go to Paris for example, I will still go as I want to see the city. I want to make up my own mind and form my own opinion.
When I travelled alone, I learned that there was only me. Only I was responsible for myself and only I made the decisions for myself. And that realisation is great.
Lastly, this solo trip has helped me to find certain things out about myself.
I did not know I would enjoy being on my own so much and I was not aware that I would love Expedition Cruising this much.
In the future, I really want to go on an Expedition Cruise again and I know I will. Maybe I bring my family, my partner or a friend. Maybe I will go by myself again. But I know that I really enjoyed this type of holiday and that I want to experience it again.
Moreover, I figured out about myself that I need and want some more “Me Time”. I enjoyed reading my books, just sitting and watching the beautiful scenery of Svalbard or spending some more time writing some blog posts.
I want to incorporate some more of this into my busy life here at home.
FINAL THOUGHTS …
Travelling solo was great. The beauty and most liberating experience were that I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted to during my trip.
Additionally, I met so many great people. This experience is naturally more limited when travelling with friends and family as you tend to spend more time with them of course.
Travelling with family and friends is also great and I am not saying that one is better than the other. They are just different, and both forms have their pros and cons.
However, I believe that it might be best to go solo, if your friends and family do not want to do certain things. There is no point in forcing someone to come with you if they are not going to enjoy it as this may also have a negative impact on your experience and might ruin it. So, in those cases I feel that it is best to go on your own.
Have you ever travelled on your own? If yes, what do you like about it? And if not, would you want to go solo?
Let me know your thoughts!