Who Are You Waiting For? One Very Good Reason to Travel Solo

If you know me at all you probably know which way I’m going to lean on this debate. I’ve traveled alone through several countries and continents, and while I mostly wander around with a boy by my side these days, I’m still a huge proponent of solo galavanting.

Today I don’t want to talk about why solo travel is so great and rewarding and you can eat 10 croissants for breakfast and nobody judges you. I’ve talked about all that before. Today I want to talk about why solo travel is so important because for many people the alternative is not going at all.

A few years back, when I was single and at an, erm, a speed dating event (I was supporting a friend OKAY?), I met this guy. This was back when I was living at home, planning my Asia trip, and weathering out an excruciating wait to go travel. This guy was the last in a long line of guys to ask me what I do. I told him I was quitting my job to travel around the world. Instead of the usual weird looks and skepticism, this guy’s face lit up.

“I’m going to travel around the world too! I’ve got my itinerary all mapped out.”

“That’s awesome!!” I said, totally shocked, “when are you going?”

“As soon as I meet the right girl to go with me.”

Something about the schlubby, uninspired look of this guy told me he may have been waiting for awhile already. I’m pretty sure he’s still out there somewhere waiting for the right lady with the exact same dream as him.

The thing about waiting for the right person to come with you? It’s an excuse. It’s a reason not to take the steps that you are scared to take. I’m not saying it’s wrong to want a travel companion. But there is something kind of wrong about sitting around, waiting for some guy or girl to show up so your life can begin. 

Along with these people waiting for the right person, are the people who’ve found someone awesome, but they can’t sell them on the idea. I get their emails in my inbox, asking how they can convince their boyfriend/girlfriend/friend whatever to come travel with them. To quote wise Christine from Almost Fearless:

It’s funny because one of the most frequent emails I get is “How do I convince my partner/spouse to travel with me?” The simple answer? You don’t. You can’t convince someone to travel any more than you can convince someone to love you. The more you try, the further you’ll push them away.”

You just can’t pin your dreams on someone else, someone who might not share those same ideas. It’s not practical, it won’t make you happy, and it definitely won’t get you out your front door.

When I made the commitment to go travel, I knew I was making a decision to go it alone. “Isn’t there someone who wants to go with you?” my mom would ask pleadingly, “one of your friends maybe?” No Mom, nobody I know is crazy enough to take a year away from their careers and backpack around the world. Except me that is.

So I set my sights on what I wanted, and, as the story goes, the universe rewarded me with a travel companion I never planned on. Someone who shares my rare values and attitudes about travel. It could just as easily not have though, and then I would have kept on keeping on on my own. Not just because I enjoy it, but because there would be no other option.

It’s not bravery. I’m not an outgoing person. I’m not bold, and I hate asking for directions or fumbling in a different language. If I can hack it, so can you. Even if you loathe every minute you’ll come out better on the other side. You won’t hate it though, because instead of sitting home looking for someone else, you’ll be out in the world, looking for yourself.

Okay that last line was hokey, but my point still stands. Don’t wait for someone else to make your life happen. Go out and earn it yourself.

About The Author

58 thoughts on “Who Are You Waiting For? One Very Good Reason to Travel Solo”

  1. Iv recently just taken the plunge into booking a 12 month round the trip.
    I also was waiting for the right person to go with. It wasn’t actually till my partner told me if you keep waiting you’ll never go. So I recently gave up waiting and booked it and it feels amazing

    I know travelling solo will be tough but I believe the positives fair outweigh the negatives

  2. I’m really proud your doing that and I respect you greatly. I wish you good travels.

    I feel like i’m living with hobbits because no one ever wants to go anywhere with me even LOCAL. I mean traveling 20 minutes to go to a waterfall or 20 minutes to go hiking is like I used a sware word on people around here. They are very homely and don’t want to go anything. They just want to sit at home watching tv which drives me crazy with boredom. They make me feel like i’m not normal for wanting to go out and do things. Especially on wonderful hot sunny days.

    So in a small way I can relate to doing things on your own because if you wait for people your life will pass you by and one day you will wonder where the time went. The thing about time is that you can’t press the rewind button to get it back. So a moment that you had to do something is only there once. Do all you can.

    There is nothing worse then someone who holds you down as well like a partner friend or spouse. It feels claustrophobic.

  3. Those are all good points, but what if something were to happen to me and I was a lone woman so far away from home? That is what scares me.

  4. I’ve got a friend who’s been waiting for someone to go traveling with him for 4 years. I’m not even convinced that he wants to go anymore, I think he just likes the thought of going than the actual reality of packing up and making a move.

  5. Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about in
    this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

  6. You’re so Right! I don’t consider myself brave or outgoing either, but I loved travelling solo and wouldn’t recommend anything else for a first time journey. And I ended up finding my boyfriend that way as well, so no complaints at all 🙂 I know so many people that would love to travel but don’t go because of the fear of going alone. I’ll send them here next time 🙂 Thanks for your article!

  7. Great post! I am hoping to travel to London and Ireland next summer, either with friends or alone. I’m concerned about the financial aspect of it though–how are you able to afford it? (especially taking a year off from work!)

  8. This post has so many helpful tips it should be obligatory reading for anyone planning to travel anywhere.

    I had the chance to go to China for two months and no one could go with me. I was terrified, I have never traveled solo and this was my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go there. In the end I decided to go, and I felt an uneasy feeling all the way to Shanghai. That feeling disappeared the moment I got off the plane. You own your time, go at your rhythm, decide where to go and how much time to spend at different places.

    This enabled me to discover great food and make lots and lots of new friends who took me to places that weren’t on any travel book and recommended me what dishes to eat. I am very happy to say I went to China by myself and traveled around the country without the help of any travel agency. It is really easy and a fun experience. Of course that knowing the language at a basic level and being single helped a lot, but I understand now that if I ever have to decide again between traveling solo or not going, there will always be more fun and adventures and things to know and learn when traveling than not going at all. Even the bad times bring me a laugh when I tell those anecdotes!

    Thank you for putting in words what everyone should know about this amazing experience.

  9. Jacqueline Young

    Thank you for writing this. I have tried to explain why I am traveling alone to virtually everyone who asks… and I always tell them that if I waited for someone to travel with, I might wait forever. You put into words what I could not. And your last line isn’t hokey, it brought a tear to my eye 🙂

  10. Thx…this is very inspiring…will b travelling alone to indonesia next january…just for5 days…indeed a short one…but hopefully will b a good start for other solo trips….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top