Why Traveling Alone Is No Longer For Me
Whether it’s traveling with a friend, family member, or relative stranger, my perspective on the here and now shifts to a more memorable experience in the long run.
Although I admit I’m often the first to jump at a new experience, not afraid to put myself out there, alone, in a new place with new people, it wasn’t until I had the ability to compare solo, versus companion travel, that I realized what I was missing.
I always knew that a lot of what defined a place for me was the people. Sure, a place can be breathtakingly beautiful and capture my heart but the majority of the time, it has some tie to an outstanding person by my side, or an individual I met along the way, who helped shape my journey in that short blip of time. I may not even realize it in the moment but when I look back I can clearly make a list of who shaped certain trips and when.
So, as much as I love traveling, and traveling alone, I’ve come to the conclusion that I get more of a rush from sharing my travels with someone else. Being able to return to my room at night and talk to someone about the unforgettable day we just had and to be able to translate those discussions into memories for the future.
A couple years back, during an all-too-brief Eurotrip, my best friend and I laid in our beds at various hostels over the summer and reminisced on the day’s activities. We began writing down these moments of laughter, confusion, culture-shock and tastebud explosions, so, that it became a routine each evening; we “recapped.”
Sometimes over a glass of wine, sometimes barely with one eye open but there was something special about living through the day in an abbreviated version that helped give the experience longevity and the moments further tangibility.
Too often when I travel, it all seems like a dream; sights that are too beautiful to be real, people too kind to exist. I get caught up in it. So, although taking personal notes was always a routine I upheld during my travels, the regularity and responsibility to recap with another became a fun pastime making me more aware of each second of each day.
I do agree that solitude is important to have when you’re on trips with people, to take time and self-reflect but as I traveled more, and with different faces, which included my brother, my parents, and even other hostel-goers, I put their apprehensions to rest with this recapping, as we all enjoyed having that someone to share with. It’s an active way to ensure I’m soaking up the entirety of the experience. Turning to another and saying, “Wow, isn’t this incredible” has become my way to ensure that I’m soaking up the entirety of the experience, rather than taking photo upon photo in an attempt to capture the moment, because in reality, this only minimizes how I reflect on the image in the future.
Thus, I reached this personal, yet seemingly universal, realization during the past two years of travel, focused more around companionship than solo endeavors — Some things are meant to be shared, and travel is one of these magical things.