Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why I Prefer to Travel Alone

It has been long time ago since I discovered the advantages of traveling alone. I was planning a trip to Portugal with one of my friends since I was 19. This trip never happened together, due to her lack of time or money.

I couldn't wait to visit Portugal! Amazing views from Luis I Bridge, Porto side to Vilanova de Gaia.

One day, after my Erasmus time was over, I decided I couldn't wait for anyone any longer and I went on my own to Portugal. I found a super cheap ticket in the low cost company I will be working a few months later, but I didn't know that before. I was just happy to found a cheap return ticket Madrid- Porto for 20€ only. (Back in the time, 2007 low cost companies weren't that develop or popular yet and people still very scared of them, as if the aircraft will fall down straigh away.)

I went 3 days to Porto, in Portugal. Grab a map from the Tourist Office and went to the Youth Hostel (I haven't discovered Couchsurfing or Hospitality club yet). I realized, that being alone, I had more time and I visited all the places quicker than ever! Seated on the bus, I realized too, that if I pay attention, I do understand Portuguese! It's very easy to pick with open ears for Spanish people...I would never do this if I would be chatting about something with my friends...

From that moment, I never traveled with anyone anymore. I always head to my trips alone, however some friends are always welcome to join me on the roads!

I could list the advantages of traveling alone:
  • You plan your schedule only considering your time off, not everyone else schedule.
  • You choose what you want to have for lunch or dinner.
    "Hmmm, this daily menu in Tarbenix looks fine for me"
  • You make your own itinerary.
  • You are responsible from your own mistakes or good decisions.
  • Locals are more likely to interact with you, if you are alone.
  • Local will also appreciate you more if you are in your own and concentrating in learning as much as you can about the local culture and ways of life. 
I though I did something wrong but no! These Chinese policemen wanted to invite me to try Chinese Hot Pot with them!

  • Local will even take photos of you, if you are alone.
The local guide who took me around one island jungle in Malaysia and even took amazing photos of me!

  • If you are doing couchsurfing, homestay or hitchhiking, hosts or driver are more likely to pick up a single person than a bigger group.
The lovely Kyrgyz family that hosted me in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.
  • A bed in the dormitory is the cheapest option always, unless you are sharing room with 3+ people (But can you imagine to travel with such a huge party? OMG!)
  • You will notice misspelling and funny mistakes everywhere. You will be basically paying more attention to the little details. 
Anyone can find the mistake?

  • You will make friends EVERYWHERE (this is guarantee. Honestly, unless you are very shy or antisocial)
Japanese scholar girls in Kyoto came to me to improve their English. They even make origami for me!

However, there are some disadvantages too:
  • Noone to take a photo of you, especially if you are off the beaten path in wonderful place and you want a new facebook profile picture.
Foto in Castello do Queijo, Porto thanks to a wall.

The same wall improved in the second picture.
Trying to use a stone as photographer.
  • Accommodation is cheaper if you share between two or more you have more privacy and sometimes safety.
  • You can sleep peacefully in the train or bus thinking that your travel mate is keeping an eye in your belongings.
  • You can travel lighter of baggage if you share toiletries, travel guides, underwears... 
  • You can chat about that hot guy you just meet in your native language (believing that noone will understand you there in most of the cases)
  • You are safer (well, not necessary) 
  In brief, I decided that traveling alone suits more to my personality and lifestyle. I am too much independent and I cannot be bother to wait for someone else. The advantages of traveling in company are not strong enough to say goodbye to my freedom as a traveling.

As I was telling to one of my friend a few days ago:
"Once you start traveling solo, there is no way back. Your life and your travel will be totally different"

Do you agree with my statement? I want you to share your concerns. Am I forgetting something important in any of the points? How do you behave as a traveler or how will you like to behave?


Mustachio said...

I agree with the advantages and disadvantages you have listed down, though I still prefer to travel with a friend or two (friends who are not too picky).

Boem said...

Ayyy... ¿quién sería quien te lanzo a vivir aventuras solita por la vida?... pero veo que te ha servido de mucho, una reflexión muy buena! Besazos elficos!!

Agness Walewinder said...

Noelia, wonderful post. It's so true. I agree with most of the mentioned things and advantages but there is nothing better than travelling with your best friend. Right now I can't imagine not sharing my feelings, photos, laugh and tears with Cez. Miss you like crazy!!

Noelfy said...

It's not bad if you have friends not so picky or your best friend to travel with. I still think, traveling with another person will not suit me in this exactly moment of my life, though if I am very sociable person and I love to share everything with everyone!

Si, mi elfi, pero siempre nos quedará ese rasta-viaje con la chancleta por la ventana pendiente (aun me queda mucho Portugal por descubrir! Muack!)

jorgin said...

very nice blog!

Noelfy said...

Gracias jorgin! Espero verte pronto por aqui!

Anonymous said...

You,re so witty.....while I was reading your article I felt sharing your emotions and exciting¡ Wundering is the first rule, any true traveler knows.Keep writing please, thousands of people are traveling with you.Thanks¡¡¡

Noelfy said...

Thank you so much fellow traveler!! Glad to travel together with so many amazing travelers!

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