On Traveling Alone

I’ve come across many people who are in absolute awe that I, as a young, fairly small, blonde female, travel alone. “How very brave!” they say. Or, “aren’t you afraid?” they ask. I don’t really get it. I don’t think traveling alone is particularly brave, and I don’t really see why I should be afraid. 

I want to go places. Sometimes there is no one else to go with. So I go solo.

 That’s all there is to it. 

I don’t find traveling alone daunting or because I am very comfortable with myself. Also, I find it easy to connect with others along the way, and my language capabilities combined with my solid sense of direction make me feel very safe in new cities.

I traveled Italy alone for ten days, I sign up for races alone, I take myself out to eat. I happen to think that spending time alone, really just means that you’re spending time with yourself. 

Besides, if you can’t keep yourself company, what makes you think you’re good company to anyone else?

It’s not always easy, to be honest; I’m not superwoman. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and sometimes I get anxious when I have to take selfies for lack of a cameraman, or when I’m eating alone. But then, I either get over it or I find a solution. 

See, even when you’re traveling solo, you don’t have to be alone all the time. I have always met people along the way. Even the other day, here in Vienna, I spent the morning with a friend from Chicago who happened to be vacationing here with her parents.

Then in the evening, I met up with an Austrian girl, Lena, whom I met on couchsurfing.com and asked out to dinner. It’s fun to reach out to locals, and also have someone to eat with. Lena was super sweet, and entertained all my questions about Vienna and being Austrian, and we chatted about our travels and tales of creepy men. 

I’m not saying one is better than the other; I have enjoyed both traveling solo and traveling with friends and family. But, the beauty of traveling alone is that you get to set your own pace, do whatever you want and meet cool people while you’re doing it.

Now, please, go do something alone. 

Thanks, Lena!

11 thoughts on “On Traveling Alone

  1. Agreed! I’m an advocate of solo traveling. When traveling to foreign lands alone, you can soak in EVERYTHING. Although it’s nice to travel with family or friends, there is a level of observation and immersion that can’t be done otherwise. Enjoy Europe!

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  2. Another great post! Really inspiring me to blog more. Where do you normally stay on your trips? As I’m hoping to travel around europe after college spending as little as possible so do you have any advice on the cheapest way to do it?

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    • I use a mix of AirBnb, hotels, hostels, family and friends πŸ™‚ my advice is: Start making international friends! My cheapest stays were free, with friends who were also abroad, people I met while traveling and then happened to visit their city, or even friends (or parents!) of friends. Other than that hostels are a good bet and AirBnb! Sometimes you can get an entire apartment on AirBnb for not much more than some hostels πŸ™‚

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