‘the only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’ – Marcel Proust
For some people, the ideas of going alone (for fun) to a new place is quite ridiculous. I often got strange looks when i told my friend how awesome some movie i watched and i went solo for that. Its just a cinema, let alone to the foreign land miles away from home. For some people (or should i say most) travelling alone is too risky, lonesome or my personal favorite : proof that youre a freak who dont have a friend to go to.
I did solo travelling 3 times so far. Start gradually from Jogjakarta, do some confidence test in Singapore and the last one i brace myself to explore Macau & Hongkong. Not that i dont like to be accompanied with, but i take solo travelling as one of my life challenge. I gain a lot from that, not just the good memories but also learning and improvement , mostly self confidence.
What i will write below is some benefits i got from my lone adventure, hope that this can convince you and everybody to experience it as well . For a start, read this good post on why you should go solo.
A Lots and Lots of Me Time
Predictable and no surprise, when youre going solo youll be conversing alot with your self. Lets think about it, with all the gadgets and peripherals that save us from boredom we hardly ever got time with ourselves alone. In Solo travelling, unless you carry your own power generator, youll have a lot of time for this. Its a good time to reflect and think , usually about philosphical stuff such : what do you wanna do in life. Early morning in deserted airports, sitting on a park bench or waiting in a subway station, a little bit of do-nothing can really help a lot for you to contemplate whether you want to go for masters or apply for a job. In a midnight bus from Jogjakarta to Surabaya going home from a careerfair, i spent quite some time to think what kind of company i want to work at. The results, set of choices and some strategies for job interviews. Helps me more than i can think of.
Its a good time to farm ideas as well. Have you heard that boredom is actually source of creativity ?. So everytime you go lone travellin, dont forget to bring pen and paper. When ipod battery is out and cellphone got no reception, you do not want that brilliant internet startup concept that just come up slips away do you ?
Self Reliance and Self Confidence
Repeat after me, theres no one else responsible for your journey except yourself. Its a great real life self leadership lesson right there i tell you. What makes solo travelling a great course for that is, the consequences of your choice is directly affecting you. If you dont plan the destination route carefully then its you whose going to get lost. Too lazy to book flights early ? it will be your money to be paid anyway. Planning is essential, especially if its gonna be your life at stake. And no one will do that for you.
Even if everything is already set up well, you still have to deal with your inner beast which is fear. In travelling solo, the easiest part for me is buying the tickets (impulsively during AirAsia promo). The hardest part actually is convincing myself to actually go there. Credits to WikiTravel, i was excited to see the exoticness of Phnom Penh until i read about bricks attack to foreigner.
In situation like this, take a deep breath , give your self pat in the heart and say “Al Iz Well”. Your biggest enemy is always yourself. Have a faith in you and every quote from kung fu movies.
So wheres the self confidence comes from ? Your success of going through the journey and live to share the stories. And have i told you that travelling is actually makes you smarter, sexier and more productive ?. So gonna use that for a pickup line.
Appreciate Little Things More
It was past midnight in Macau international airport and i sat in one of the waiting room bench, munching chocolate bar as dinner. Things get lonelier when my blackberry passed out i couldnt chat no more with my friends in the group. Cold, quiet and i cannot sleep cos i wasnt too tired. After an hour of torturing boredom and insomnia, suddenly at bench beside mine two girls sitting there and start to chat. They start to chat and laugh. Eventhough they spoke in Korean, warmth and joy is after all, universal. For a second there, i had a thought that i can trade everything i have for a friend to sit next to me and talk about anything. Just like both of them.
Whether it is your mom shouting wake up calls, your dog, your favorite bedsheet, you will really appreciate how comfortable everyday thing is while youre not at home. Evenmore on solo travelling , you will definitely miss your best friend. All the awesome stuff you saw, definitely gonna be a virtue if you can high five and shout AWESOME! together. But you cant, and that makes you appreciate them more. Its the absence that makes the heart fonder.
To wrap things up so far, solo travelling is awesome. Thats it ? yes, as simple as that. I strongly suggest you to plan ahead before the journey, to minimize the risk, cost and anxiousness. On a second thought, maybe going spontaneously gung ho could be more exciting. Ill try that someday. Let me close this with a quote
“If you have something you really wanna do, dont let loneliness stops you ” – Kiki Ahmadi
Super cool eh ?