Challenge Yourself: Travel Alone
By Eric OdomNow let's be honest, this isn't going to be easy.
I find traveling alone to more of a mental workout than anything. When you travel with a few friends or a significant other, you have several other people encouraging the hard decisions to be made in one direction or another. When it is just you, you have no "yeah let's go there or "I want a beer in Ireland". It's just you. You have to make the decisions. You have to buy the plane ticket and plan everything from scratch. You"ve got to hit the search engines and find the information, you've got to figure out exactly how Europe works and you are going to drive yourself mad wanting to know what a youth hostel is. Traveling alone isn't as easy as it sounds.
Ok, so are you scared yet? You shouldn't be.
Actually, I was only kidding. If you slow your mind down and just understand that a truly unique journey does not begin when you step off the plane, rather, it begins when you confirm the purchase of your airline ticket before you even begin planning your trip.
Purchasing the airline ticket: The proof is in the pudding
This may be the first time you've ever heard this, but I truly believe that purchasing the airline ticket is the turning point that allows you to go from being seriously interested to filling out your time off request at work and booking hostel beds. It is at this point that you begin coming to grips with the fact that you are about to travel halfway around the planet.
Buying your airline ticket is the key. If you are reading this and are considering going overseas but have the butterflies, I suggest you buy the plane ticket and consider the deal done.
Now comes the unraveling of a vision. You'll probably go through a few phases where you find yourself looking through forum posts of those looking for travel partners, you may ask a dorm roommate or friend to see if you can summons any interest, but in the end I think you conclude that traveling alone is indeed the way to go.
When you go alone, not only do you get away from everything you know, you get away from every person that you know. Where you are going no one knows you. You are but a stranger roaming through Europe on a journey of freedom, soon to return to where you live with a vague memory of what you witnessed It is because of this that traveling alone truly gives you freedom in life. Freedom from the life you know. It is journey into a new world of experiences and people.
Go ahead time to challenge yourself and be creative. Step out of that comfort zone and explore what your imagination has been running over and over for the past few months.
Traveling alone allows you a better chance to experience foreign cultures, create new friendships, and eat foods that you are unaccustomed to eating, live like you have never lived by surrounding yourself with everything foreign and unknown.
I traveled alone the first time I went, and every time thereafter.
If I never traveled alone I would have NEVER spent 6 days on a canalboat in the canals of the UK. I would have NEVER met the person that I met on that boat and in turn would have NEVER boarded a train with her headed for Spain. I have seen islands that I never knew existed because I traveled alone. When I first arrived in London I was clueless as to what to do so I booked a bed at St. Christophers, and the next morning talked everyone in my dorm into hiring a canalboat. Had I gone with the original plan of going with my roommate at the time, we would have stayed in a completely different area of London and I would have never seen the flyer for the boats.
In the end, I firmly believe that traveling alone is by far the only way to go.
Get away from everyone you know This is all about you!
Travel Alone. Stop talking about it and do it!
About The Author
Eric Odom is editor for http://www.backpackearth.com.
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