Superman has his Fortress of Solitude; Batman has his Bat Cave (although Alfred comes and goes as he pleases); Dracula has his castle (we bet you, people don’t come and go as they please here) and Aladdin has his flying carpet.
Yes, we realize that we are all over the place with those references but the point is – everyone, no matter how legendary, needs someplace where they can go to be alone.
The beauty of solitude
There is a dangerously addictive quality to solitude. Once you see just how peaceful it can get, you may never want to deal with people – ever again! Avid adventure travellers such as deep sea divers, mountaineers and cave explorers know this and you can too if you take the time to travel alone.
Yes, a huge part of the allure of travel is very much like the comical saying that was once associated with the U.S Marines that went something like this:
“Join the Marines; Travel to exotic places; meet exciting new people and kill them all!”
Of course, when it comes to travel we would very much prefer it if you didn’t cause the demise of those you meet along the way…but we digress!
While travelling in a group can be exciting, cost-effective and safe, there is something to be said about taking a long safari alone…at least once!
Reasons why you should travel alone at least once
Apart from the fact that it is liberating and gives you a chance to do whatever the heck you want (meaning: you do not have to worry about Sandy and her ‘nose up in air’ tendencies of insisting on only booking the most expensive 5-star accommodation even though you are on a shoe-string budget and you do not want to max out your credit card or clean out your bank account…again, we digress!) travelling alone also brings with it the following advantages:
Helps you sharpen your problem-solving skills
When was the last time you lost your wallet and couldn’t function for like a month? You see, if you have such issues, then travelling alone will help you overcome those fears. Mostly because when you are in a foreign country you do not have a month to sit and wallow over your lost wallet. You will have to figure something out quick and that helps you sharpen your ‘on the spot problem-solving skills’ which is something you actually apply in real life.
It offers you great flexibility
Do you want to book a flight to Zanzibar instead of visiting the afore-planned Serengeti National Park? You can do that…and you don’t even have to laboriously debate the matter with Sandy! Travelling alone gives you the kind of independence you only read about in revolutionary war literature. With this independence comes flexibility in both movement and budget.
It allows you to focus more on the destination
Whether you like to admit it or not, when you travel with a group of friends or family, a huge chunk of your attention is diverted to these people. However, when you travel alone, you do not have to pay close attention to whether or not Sandy is foaming at the mouth because she had to sleep in a less than stellar Banda as opposed to the preferred Nairobi, Hilton!
You will have the space to focus more on where you are and your surroundings. That is why most solo travellers have more vivid memories and stories about their travels than people who travel in groups.
You’ll make new friends and you’ll learn more from the locals
When you are with Sandy, you will be comfortable to speak to her most of the time. However, when you travel alone, you will be forced to learn more about your surroundings. From the local customs to the local language and even tenets. This will, in turn, get you out of your shell and force you to make friends with the locals (something that could change your life for the better!)
It allows you to find your own rhythm
Being in a group or with a friend tends to shield you from finding your own rhythm. More often than not, you will find that you are more amenable to what the collective group wants to do and see. However, when travelling alone, you get to decide where to go, how long to stay there and what to see. This makes for a more intense and personalized safari.
You will learn more about who you are as a person
Solo travel tends to offer more unforeseeable instances of happenstance when compared to a structured group safari. These fortunate occurrences may lead to you discovering things you didn’t even know you enjoyed. Maybe you like star-gazing, who knew? Maybe you like swimming naked in the freezing river at dawn? Things you can hardly do with your kids around…or Sandy!
There is also another reason why solo travel would make a lot of sense to most of us – it is cheaper! Yes, group rates are wonderful and all but all that planning and pulling together of resources can be as taxing on the mind as paying for a luxurious safari while struggling with student loans. When you travel alone, you can take your time to find the cheapest airfares to your desired destination.
Once you get there, you can find the cheapest way to get around, the most cost-effective accommodation and you can even find affordable ways to keep yourself fed and entertained. You only have to answer to yourself and depending on the kind of person you are, you can be a little lenient with your own self every now and again.
Do you have any solo travel experiences you would like to share? Maybe a few reasons why you loved it so much and would do it again at the drop of a hat? Share them with us in the comment section below.