Traveling alone is a beautiful thing, however, often misunderstood. Friends and family won’t understand why you want to go see a different part of the world on your own. “Who will you share the memories with later on?” they’ll ask. They don’t understand how to travel alone.
How to travel alone: It’s up to you.
The first cross-country road trip I journeyed out on by my lonesome was two years ago in May of 2015. This not only was my first adventure alone, but it was also the longest time I had ever been away from family and friends. I was scared as hell. I didn’t know what to pack, I didn’t know who I would meet or what to expect. So I left home with only a brief list of target destinations to see as I headed west. Little did I know this would be the most life-changing four weeks of my life.
Sure, it may be hard to describe your experiences to your friends and family when you return home- but that’s what pictures and videos can do for you! What they’ll never be able to relate to is everything else that happened to you along the way, and you’ll be completely satisfied with that.
In the end, it will be a sense of overwhelming pride that keeps you going when you start to feel lonely. Because you will feel lonely.
When the sun is setting over the Grand Canyon and you look around and see couples, families, and groups of friends all sharing in the moment, you will wish you brought a travel companion along with you. And honestly, it can be an emotional feeling to overcome. I struggled with it over my whole 7,300-mile journey. You can never quite overcome it. Look at that as a positive in your lessons learned on the road. You will have a whole new meaning of not taking time with the ones you care for granted.
The bright side of traveling alone can severely outweigh the bright side of having someone by your side. Use the time alone as moments of reflection. I promise you will never learn more about yourself than on your 14-mile hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and when you’re finally sitting atop the peak of the mountain, the last thing you will want to see is another human being.
What about the time when you were driving through southern Montana and intended to stop at dusk to set up camp. However, you were so intensely into your thoughts and the car radio blasting your favorite band that you drove aimlessly into the night for five more hours until it was 1 a.m. and you had no clue where you were.
At this point (if you could even reach this point with someone in the passenger seat) your travel companion and you are probably too worried about nonsense to take in the moment. But since you are alone and playing by your own rules, you decide to dig out your sleeping bag. There are gobs of stars that light up the night sky. You peacefully fall asleep on the top of your car to the sweet singing of crickets in a Montana forest.
A little tip
I will let you in on this little secret; individuals are much easier to approach than groups or even only two people who are together. This means meeting people will be a lot simpler. More often than not, people will approach you before you can even approach them. I once hiked to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park in Utah with a couple of Las Vegas girls because of the simple fact that I “looked like I could use hiking buddies”. You will not believe the types of people you will meet. It’s one of the greater benefits of traveling alone.
Words cannot express how much I vouch for lone travel. It’s frightening to do it for the first time, but the reward is so much larger than the risk. You will figure out things about yourself that you would never have, meet people you would never have, and be able to follow your heart more thoroughly than you ever would have had you been traveling with a mate.
It may not be for everyone, but everyone should at least give it a try once.
Feel free to me email to connect or follow my social media through the links at the top of this page!