The idea of solo travel isn’t for everyone. Is it for me? I’m not sure yet but I’m going to give it a go. My decision to travel solo came about a couple of different ways.
Firstly my partner has totally different preferences when it comes to travel. One namely that travel isn’t really for him. Me? I’ve dreamt of travelling the world since I was 6 years old reading National Geographic magazines. I’m a visual person and I want to see the whole world up close before I die.
So much of the world is changing, growing and urbanizing. I see it even in the city I live in. The Toronto of 2014 is such a different landscape than the Toronto of 2002 when I first moved here and even more so from Toronto’s past.
All around the world it feels like progress has sped up. With technology advancing as quickly as it is so many rural and remote areas are being brought into the global community which is causing significant changes in such a short period of time. I don’t want to miss these fleeting moments and snapshots of places that, for some of them, will soon be lost forever.
All that to say, not everyone feels that pull like I do. Yes some of the places I am set to travel have been travelled by millions before me. Look up travel blogs and what you’ll see is “Oh Southeast Asia? Yea that’s so over” As if any value in it is trumped by other new trendy locations. But it’s new to me, it’s farther and more different then anywhere I have ever been and it’s exciting whether it’s currently trendy or not. I want to experience it and if no one else is on board with me, I’ll forge on alone.
Secondly I’m at a point in my life where I am not really into making too many compromises. Getting married relatively early in life the biggest lessons you learn is about compromise and how the decisions you make are never just your own. Bullocks to that. I want to be free to make selfish decisions without anyone relying on me for their happiness or enjoyment. This view on traveling became clear to me over the past few years on our family vacations. With 6 adults there is always a pull and compromise to go with whatever the group wants, when I was usually the odd one out with my preferences being a little more off the beaten track. My family was great about compromising so I was able to do some of what I wanted as well and it pushed them out of their comfort zone a little but in the end it’s never the full experience it could have been. I’m not working three jobs, saving every cent I have, travelling to the other side of the globe to compromise on the experience that I want and I’m ok with that meaning I’ll be doing it alone.
Thirdly, I’ve been struggling with the idea of independence. In the pass few years I’ve really thought I’ve been growing into my independence but if I’m honest it’s total BS. Ever listen to the lyric to Common People by Pulp? It’s kinda like that. I come from a life of privilege and part of that is that I’ve always had a safety net. Now I’ve always been very prideful in not accepting help, support or assistance and wanting to stand on my own two feet (sometimes to my detriment) but there is always the idea that I could rely on it if I needed. I have a support system if I fall.
This trip will be my first experience on my own. Hell, I’ve never been apart from my spouse for longer then 10 days in the near 15 years we’ve been together. Although there will be monetary support from afar if I really need it in an emergency, I am essentially there to completely take care of myself for two months. The more I think about it the more scary it seems but I need to be confident that I am capable in the real world and I think being able to prove that to myself over this time really will boost my self-esteem to a place it’s never been.
I love to read sites/blogs from other solo travellers, so if that’s you or you have a great recommendation please post it in the comment!