By Mio Igarashi
Have you ever traveled alone? You want to try but you are scared? Just give it a try! I am sure that you will get the most precious experience ever in your life. Some people prefer traveling with a group. That’s fine, but I would recommend you try it alone.
Independent travel is good because you have to solve all your own problems. You don’t get to problem solve if you’re traveling with a group. Instead you’ll have a lot of help and sometimes you won’t have to do anything. Although being helped may sound appealing, I believe that traveling alone and fending for yourself makes you a stronger person. It gives you confidence. It changes your life and makes you a better person; whereas, if someone is holding your hand all the time through life or through travel, you don’t have the benefit of growing stronger and better as a person.
When you travel on a package tour, your schedule is completely out of your hands. For example, you can stay in your favorite place for only 30 minutes or so, which is such a pity. On the other hand, if you travel alone, you can stay in your favorite place for a few days if you want. “When traveling alone, you don’t have to follow the schedule. You can go anywhere and have whatever you want,” said Edowardo S. from Mexico.
As well, for example, what if you fall in love with somebody living in a place you visit and he or she wants you to stay longer? If you travel alone, you can definitely extend your stay and you won’t bother anybody. When I was traveling in Mexico, I fell in love with one family in Taxco which is about 3 hours away from Mexico City. I was supposed to stay there a few days but actually I stayed there for 1 whole week. I met the family when I was eating dinner alone at a restaurant. They treated me like a daughter and I had a wonderful experience with them. They always invited me home and offered me delicious Mexican food. Also, I study Spanish, so it was good for me to practice my Spanish with them.
It’s all up to you when you travel alone. It’s not easy of course. You need to find your way all alone. “I like traveling with a group because I don’t want to get lost,” says 25 year old Aki Kunisawa from Japan. However, I can tell you from experience that getting lost is not always bad. When I got lost in Costa Rica, I asked for a direction from many people and every single person gladly helped me even though my Spanish was not really good. You might be afraid of asking for directions in the local language, but if the local people are really kind to you, it’s going to be a great experience. You can get a lot of help from local people even though you are alone traveling, which makes you feel so warmhearted. There are tons of chances to communicate with local people. When a bicycle I rode was broken in Cambodia, many Cambodians came to me soon and tried to fix it for me. Nobody fixed it after all but I just felt so happy that they tried to help me.
One more thing I can tell you is that there might be some relationship problems when you travel with other people, especially with friends. “I have some experiences traveling together with my friends, but usually the relationship goes bad,” said Sany Kim from Korea who lives next to my apartment in Vancouver. I’ve met quite a lot of people who have the same experience as Sany does. I think one reason why the relationships go bad when travelling together is because everyone has such different opinions and desires and expectations. Your friendship could be messed up by a crack or a slightly sarcastic remark. “When I traveled alone, I saw many people who were arguing even though they were very close friends,” said Jaeho Baek from Korea. You better think about who you would travel with really carefully before you ask your friends to go on any kind of long distance journey with you.
I am not saying which is good or bad. I just want to recommend you travel alone if the idea is attractive to you. I bet it will make you a stronger and a more independent person. You will be proud of yourself after having managed alone. You will also get many new points of view through your amazing independent journey.