Last year I got the opportunity to do a semester abroad in another country. During the trip I did a fair bit of solo travel as result of travelling there on my own. In my 6 months away, I did a semester in Melbourne, Australia where I met some incredible people and made life-long friends, two weeks in New Zealand road tripping around South Island, one week in Indonesia exploring the beautiful islands the country has to offer, and one month travelling down the east coast of Australia where I went on my own and had the time of my life.
Before travelling to Australia on my own, the longest I’d been away from my family travelling by myself had been for 2 weeks in a group excursion to Guatemala the year before. Leaving Canada, all I could feel was this really exciting, yet scary feeling of the uncertainty of what I was getting myself into! Going in I never imagined I’d be able to backpack on my own, let alone doing it freehand without booking things in advance and taking everything that came at me in strides.
However looking back, the month of solo travel I did along the coast of eastern Australia has probably been one of the greatest months of my life. And no I didn’t ‘find myself’ while away, but I did learn a lot about myself and my abilities along my journey. I also met some of the coolest individuals from all over the world, and made some unforgettable moments with them. Which honestly, would likely not have happened had I not been on my own.
The best and worst thing about solo travel is that you make every decision for your whole journey. There’s no one there to argue otherwise. So whether you’re feeling energetic that day and decide to get up at 6am to catch the ferry to another island, or decide to sleep in and lay in the beach all morning, ultimately it’s whatever you decide to do.
Going into this trip, I was worried about spending a lot of time on my own, and I know a lot of other people were very curious about this as well asking me about it once I was back. I get a lot of questions asking if I felt lonely going by myself. And the answer is no. Not at all. Along the 4 weeks I spent on solo travel, I only spent 2 evenings on my own, and those were because I chose to. I spent my days in a steady rhythm of alternating between being on my own or surrounded with people I could now call my friends. Doing the study abroad on my own, only let me immerse myself further in the Aussie way of life where I had ‘no worries, mate’, and had daily adventures with my international group of friends.
Ultimately, solo travel is something I couldn’t recommend enough to everyone. If you can, get some backpacking experience travelling with friends first, and then go on your own. But not having travel buddies is not something you should let hold you back if you have a desire to be elsewhere. When you travel you decide how you want your trip to be, and it’s just a matter of being open to new people and adventures.