Travelling alone can be daunting. I have travelled by myself many times but, on every occasion, there was someone to meet me at the other end of the bus, train or plane journey. This time was different. Last week I had a holiday from work, but none of my friends had the same week off. I decided that I still wanted to do something, so I booked a train ride to Toronto and reserved a bed in a hostel for one week.
One week by myself! Would I be lonely? Would I be bored? Quite the opposite! In fact, there are many benefits that come from travelling alone. Firstly, I was able to do whatever I wanted. I spent hours in museums that would have seemed boring and dull to some of my friends. I walked all around the city, which some people may have found too exhausting. Instead of relying on someone else to remember directions or to suggest activities to do, I discovered my independence and developed map-reading skills that I didn't know I had. I could get up and go to sleep when I wanted and I didn't have to wait for anyone else to shower and get ready every morning. Being in the safe environment of a hostel with like-minded travellers also gives a great opportunity to meet new people from all over the world, which can help combat loneliness.
In spite of the benefits, I found that there were also some disadvantages of travelling alone. I missed having someone to talk to and to bounce ideas off. Experiences are often more enjoyable if they are shared, and part of the fun of travelling is the memories you have afterwards. Without a travel partner, I won't be able to laugh about and remember my Toronto adventure with a friend or family member in years to come. In addition, eating in a restaurant or cooking in the hostel was less fun on my own.
I am very proud of myself for travelling alone and I had a fantastic time in Toronto. However, in the future, I think I will always prefer to travel with another person or in a small group. Though, maybe it depends who you travel with – I would rather be by myself than with someone who was lazy, difficult and argumentative!
Have you ever travelled alone? Do you prefer to travel alone or with someone else?