The Ups and Downs of Traveling Alone
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The Ups and Downs of Traveling Alone

This is a briefing about the ups and downs, or the advantages and disadvantages of traveling alone.

Getting off the beaten path does not always exclusively refer to a physical place, but can also mean needing to get away from others, keeping a crowd off of your heels when traveling abroad. The company can be nice, but a vagabond needs his or her space every once and awhile and a chance to get away from their routine life. While it may at first seem like a route that only the anti- social take, traveling alone can yield some truly rewarding experiences.

Ups

Run on Your Own Schedule

You get to make the calls without having to wonder what someone else prefers when you are traveling solo. If there is no one with you to keep busy or cater to, then you have endless options on how to enjoy yourself while abroad, whether it be browsing the local market, climbing nearby cliffs, or simply kicking it back to enjoy the scenery.

Interacting with Locals Comes Easy

Being by yourself makes you a more approachable individual since locals most often are deterred by a large group of foreigners. Also, when you have company with you, it is easy to fall into the habit of closing yourself off to others and simply just interact with your companion since there are no social or language barriers between you. Taking the high road alone forces you to try to break those barriers with locals and can lead the way to meeting some truly incredible people.

Build Independence

Bouncing from destination to another by yourself induces you to break off the training wheels and to ride it out on your own. No companions mean no one is there to keep holding your hand, helping you to become the more independent individual. Finding yourself somewhere where you did not initially speak the language and is a world away from what you are used to at home; and being just fine signals that you are developing as a lone individual.

Self-Reflection and Discovery

Being alone is an opportunity to clear your head, reflect on your life as well as learn new things about yourself. Physically getting away from it all by yourself can really put things in perspective and help you investigate solutions to many scenarios you have back home. Also, traveling solo leaves room for new self-discoveries. You may find that you are capable of living on very little or that you have a knack for a communicating in different languages. Riding the trail without an additional party can help you become more in touch with you.

Downs

Higher Safety Risk

While much more often than not you will meet locals who are happy to meet you and converse with you, but each destination, with severities varying, have those crooks and thieves that target lone foreign travelers. This especially goes for women who are often perceived in many countries as helpless. Traveling alone makes you an easier target for robbery or kidnapping since it is easier to ambush one person than two or more. Just trust your gut, use caution and avoid all dark and reclusive alleys and corners.

You're on Your Own

Sometimes complications can arise such as losing your passport, getting injured or having your transportation break down. When vagabonding solo, you're on your own when luck turns its back on you. The best defense is preparation. Have approachable first aid kit or have standard plans for various emergencies. If you're in a city, find out where the local hospital is located and find out what the emergency service number is. Also, know where in the country your nation's embassy is located.

Potential Loneliness

While being alone can be a state of serenity and adventure, there will be the occasional moment in which you begin to miss those you normally see; especially if you have been gone for an extended period of time. Portions of your journey may not involve any human interaction, which can be a gift and a curse at the same time- a curse because the boredom can get to you. Bring a journal, sketchbook or some literature to keep yourself occupied during such times.

Photo: Woman On Road by nuttakit

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