The backpacking lifestyle one step up

How I became a solo traveller: Why travel alone?

What is best: Solo travel or group travel?

If you continue reading I will give you my personal story to how I have felt about travelling solo. I was 30 years old when I travelled solo the first time in my life. Before that I had only spend 3 days alone in Sydney and I felt really empty looking at the Sydney Opera House alone without my girlfriend whom I had just met. For that reason I really believed for many years that solo travelling was not for me. How could it be if I missed my girlfriend so much and I also felt really lonely and had the idea I need other people to share my adventures?

I was 24 years old when I was alone in Sydney and for 6 years after I did never travel alone again. When I was single and the summer holiday approached I became desperate to find a girlfriend because I needed someone to travel with. I knew nothing worse than staying at home during my holiday not travelling anywhere. So often I ended up rushing into relationships that I potentially never should have started. I became addicted to the idea that travelling only was possible when I had a girlfriend. These thoughts were also fuelled by family and friends who commented how lonely it must be to travel alone. For this reason I did not consider travelling alone. I listened a lot to people around me and did not listen to my self. If I had listened to my self I would have known that a life without travelling was even lonelier than a life staying at home imprisoned because at this particular moment there was no girlfriend in my life to travel with.

olo traveller Boracay Philippines
I always had my own prejudices against travelling solo as well. When I was 21 one of my friends went on Inter-rail in Europe. Inter-rail is a European train pass where you can buy 3 weeks of unlimited train travelling in Europe to go backpacking. My friend did this Inter-rail alone and was backpacking around Europe. I recall asking him how he could do that and if he did not feel lonely and had no one to talk to. I even remember thinking that it was a bit “looser like” to travel alone. What would people he met on his way not think?  In my mind they would think he was a sad lonely man without friends who was probably a bit weird also. For this reason I cannot say that I am not also my self hit by some prejudices around the solo traveller style.

When I was 29 I stayed in a relationship I wanted to end partly because we had planned a holiday to Mexico 2 months later. I could not imagine not going to Mexico because at that time I had not travelled outside Europe for years. I was being restless and feeling I wasted my life not going anywhere. At the same time I was trapped in a relationship where the girl was not nice to me but I still wanted us to stay together and I could not really finish it off. The result was a semi good n´bad holiday to Mexico and a lost self-esteem being in the relationship with this girl.  When she broke up with me after I found out she had been sleeping with another man I was broken for a year after. If I had finished the relationship long before the Mexico holiday I would have been in control. I would have kept my self-esteem and I would have been able to recover much faster. Knowing what I know today I would most likely have gone to Mexico solo and had a much better holiday alone than I had with her.

Deciding to become a solo traveller

Boracay
When I got older and had passed 30 years of age the situation for me was that I was single. All my best friends where now in a relationships and many of them already had been married and where having kids. I was feeling the years come to age and was not feeling so young anymore. I was feeling I was loosing my youth not exploring the world as I would like to. It made me feel depressed and I started considering going solo to some places. I was feeling very insecure and not sure if I really wanted to do it. I had all the thought in my head established in the early 20’s that travelling solo was lonely, a bit looser like and everywhere I go people would consider me being weird travelling alone.

Luckily one day I was in a courageous mood around Christmas time. I was in a mall in Denmark walking by a book store together with my big brother and his family. I stopped at the book store to look at guide books and I was drifting away in my dreams to foreign countries and new adventures. My courageous mood made me a bit high. Also I realised I was not early 20 anymore and I had more money today than I had then. So I made a decision to try travelling solo being arrogantly thinking if I did not like it I had only “wasted” money and I could always go home earlier from the holiday if it was really horrible. I realized that because I had more money the risk of buying an airplane ticket and eventually have to end the holiday earlier than planned was not so high. So I decided to go the following summer. I picked two countries – Vietnam and Philippines – and promised my self that my personal goal would be to visit these two countries soon.

My first solo holidays

Boracay
The following summer I bought airplane tickets so I could visit both Philippines and Vietnam.  I had a very good holiday and reality was that I loved Philippines so much that I cancelled my trip to Vietnam that summer and spend my whole summer holiday in Philippines. Originally I had planned to stay 3 weeks in Philippines and 2 weeks in Vietnam. However I enjoyed being in Philippines and made a decision to go to Vietnam the following year instead. Next year I visited Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for summer holiday and had another great holiday as a solo backpacker traveller.

Since my first solo travelling tour to Philippines I have been regularly backpacking solo. Of my big tours I was travelling for 3 months in 2010 and in 2013 I was travelling for 6 months. Most my holidays have been to South East Asia. I am starting to feel I have explored what I want in the part of the world and would like to visit South America for my next big holiday.

This was my story on how I became a solo traveller. In this section of the blog you will find other articles around solo travelling. I have among others described my life as a solo traveller in another article.

 

5 Comments
  1. Great article and I can so relate to it coming from Indian background where its not normal to travel solo….I get this even today being a solo traveller for two years now…love reading this

  2. Awesome article! And you know what, lots of solo travelers or backpackers had enjoyed staying in the Philippines.

  3. Nice article! I’m a Filipina and a solo traveler too! It’s good to know that you enjoyed your vacation here in the Philippines! 🙂

    • Hi Grace,
      Thanks a lot. Yeah I enjoyed it there.
      Hope you have a good fun on your travels.
      Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

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