Have you tried traveling solo?
From the time I migrated in Canada, I know I am on my own. No family, no relatives and no friends in a country all new to me. But guess what? It’s been 8 years now, and I am still living on my own, still away from my family, but now I have new-found friends that I consider my family extension.
Moving into a different country and living the life I built was a big risk for me, but starting the journey alone was challenging and exciting at the same time. Looking for places and getting lost, was and still something that happens a lot of times to me, I guess I was born to be lost and wander around. There were a lot of things that I learned to do on my own, especially on my first few years of getting settled and even now that I am already settled. Some things that I used to do with my family and friends back home, I have to do it by myself from time to time, if not all the time. What was surprising to me is that I actually enjoyed it and loved it. The sweet and spicy taste of freedom, it’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s exciting, it’s addicting.
Among all the other things I did alone like watching movie, eating in a restaurant, hiking, shopping, walking in the park, biking, and running, traveling is the most that I love. I guess my childhood upbringing was geared towards me being a solo and independent traveler. All the credits goes to my parents, I cannot thank them enough on how they prepared me for the life that I am enjoying right now. It may be unintentional, but nonetheless, it all worked out for me.
Being in a Canada and enjoying the life I have now is such a blessing that I am thankful everyday of my life. I have just enough to enjoy life, a decent place to live, few good loyal friends, and a stable and good job to help me live a decent day to day life and to travel. Traveling, going on vacation, taking time-off however you call it, is something that I always look forward to. If there is one thing that Canadian culture thought me that I appreciate so much, it’s the work life balance. The concept was not something new to me, but it was something that I had never exercised in my life until I moved to Canada. Canada opened doors to me in so many ways, but being able to travel to places that I had never dream of going is something that excites me the most. I explored quite a lot of new places, most of them I never even thought I would be able to visit. In few instances I traveled with friends, but most of my traveling I did on my own.
Hop on the boat
I am pretty sure I am not alone in this solo traveling boat. Traveling solo is getting common these days, and more and more people are coming out of their shelter and declaring independence when it comes to traveling. When people talk about traveling, the first thing that comes to mind is going the distance, crossing thousands of miles and going to different country. In my view, traveling doesn’t have to be thousand miles away, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in different country. There are quite a lot of trips that I did within Canada or within British Columbia where I live. I went to short distances travel like Whistler, Chilliwack, Tofino, Victoria etc. and I considered them all as traveling. I guess it’s just how you view it. You may have already traveled alone, you just did not realize it.
I travel not escape the world, but for the world not to escape me
Freedom! Oh yeah, believe me, it actually felt great to be in control. There are of course things that are uncontrollable and things that can be controlled like for instance the itinerary. Do as you please, you can be as spontaneous as you like, or as detailed as possible with all those pages and pages of excel spreadsheets with all the activities and time, even the entrance fees! I had been doing this as part of my preparation when traveling alone and it could get crazy at times, but it was very helpful and it made me feel more comfortable, some how secure, and again, in control.
This heart of mine was meant to travel this world
There are pros and cons in traveling alone. For instance, it could get costly to travel alone as there’s no one to split the cost, all cost charge to you and you alone (I wish I’m a millionaire). But traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive, just go with something that you can afford to pay. The last thing you want is a life full of good memories but a credit card full of debt, right? Then there’s this challenge with taking photos, most of the photo will be selfies. You really have to have the courage to ask and find someone to take your photos because some photos are best captured not by selfie stick. Who doesn’t want a full body shot with a beautiful back drop, instagrammable photos!
I would rather have passport full of stamps, rather than a house full of things
I want to focus more on the positive side of traveling alone. Again, I am not ignoring the negative aspect of it, but I am just choosing the brighter side of it and there are quite a lot of them. I don’t know if because I am an introvert that’s why traveling alone works for me, or maybe because I really just enjoy it. No small talk needed, just me and my camera.
Traveling is a humbling experience. It always leave you with one thought: My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed
One thing I love about traveling alone is that I am the boss of my own itinerary, that means flexibility. For someone obsessed with taking photos, it means I can take 50 or more photos of a boat until I get the right shot that I am aiming for. Yes, that would be me, one shot is not enough. I have to take it over and over again until I get it right. It is not like it is a 15 minutes ride from my place and I can go back anytime. So I want to allocate more time to take photos to remind me of good happy fun days, because not everyday is a happy day. Besides, I want to have something worth sharing in my blog, so if you are traveling with me, please bear with me. Patience is what I ask for.
The best part of solo travel is that I discovered I enjoyed my own company
Point two, when it comes to food, I can go and eat whatever I want, whenever I want to and however long I want to. Have you had a vacation wherein you just sit in a cafe while enjoying the most mouthwatering dessert you can ever find? or while sipping on a cup of tea while people watching? Or maybe just sitting in the corner listening to music while you rest for your next destination? It’s not that you cannot arrange this with friends, of course you can but sometimes someone has to give. That’s how it should be when traveling in a group, it should be give and take. It is not always “I”, it should be “We” or “Us”.
Traveling alone will be the scariest, most liberating, life changing experience of your life. Try it at least once
As food plays a major part of any of my trip, I want to take my time when exploring food in the places I visit. I want to give myself more time to enjoy eating them, as food are meant to be enjoyed and appreciated. With so many people around the world getting hungry, I feel that I have to value every single bite of it. Then again, I need time to take photos of them. Although taking photos nowadays are very common, sometimes I also have to consider If the people I am going with are comfortable with me doing it. I feel uncomfortable making people stare and wait while I take photos of the food while I can almost see the hunger in their eyes.
As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, its inevitable that you will discover how capable you are
But the most important thing I love about traveling solo, is that it brings out the best in me. It builds my confidence (of getting lost and finding my way). It made me independent, it made me trust myself more, and best of all, I learned to trust God for things I cannot control.
Be brave, take risk. Nothing substitutes to experience
Traveling solo may not be for everybody, but you will never know until you try. When you decide to give it a go, give it your best. Make the most of it, the success and failure of your trip, whether you enjoy it or not lies on you and you alone. You cannot control everything, what you can control is how you react to circumstances when they happen. Even before you go, decide to be happy and keep that in mind. It’s fun to travel with friends and family, but there is nothing wrong in traveling alone. More than the memories, it will build your character, it will make you appreciate what you have, it will make you realize the value of experience over material things, it will make you feel independent and dependent at the same time, it will make you see the world in a different way, it will help you conquer some of your fear, last but not the least, it will make you realize that traveling solo is not something that you should be scared of. Every travel experience will leave a mark in your life.
There are so many good things in life, so many places to explore, so don’t wait for anyone to make your dreams comes true. Make it happen, because you can. I am a proud solo traveler, and I LOVE it! ♥♥♥ ~SweetNSpicy
If you like this post, give that “Like” button below a click, or leave me a comment and let me know of your thoughts on traveling solo. I would love to hear from you ♥
If you want to know how started traveling solo, check my Solo Traveling: Dream It, Plan It, Do It post.