My next holiday is a fairly monumental one for me – for the first time in my life I’m going away by myself, winging it alone for a whole week. I’ve been wanting to take the solo holiday plunge for a while now – I even picked a destination and started considering dates – but I think in the back of my mind I was always doubting my own conviction, worried that in the end I’d wimp out, find a reason why it wasn’t possible and promise to try again next year. So I felt hugely proud of myself when I booked my flights to Slovenia a few weeks ago, on a non-refundable basis. No going back now.
As expected, several people have expressed concern, surprise or even confusion about my decision to go on holiday by myself. The worries for my safety expressed by my grandparents I accept as their duty, but more irritating are the assumptions that this isn’t a choice – that I’m being forced to travel solo due to a lack of other options. So like many before me, I’m setting the record straight about why I want to try going on holiday alone.
I like to go at my own pace
I don’t often re-visit destinations, so when I’m in a new place I’m always aware that I might never be there again, that I need to soak everything up now while I have the chance. This means I don’t like to be rushed – if something grabs my attention I want to be able to spend as much time on it as I like – and equally I resent having to spend valuable time doing something I’m not interested in. Travelling alone means I don’t have to compromise, and can allocate my time exactly as I please.
I’m a wanderer
No, I don’t mean this in an airy-fairy, figurative way; I mean that if something catches my eye or I can see something more interesting happening 50 feet from where I am, I will literally wander off to to take a closer look, with very little thought for whether my companion has seen me leave or how I might find them again. I imagine it can be pretty irritating for people who travel with me, so best to do it on my own where I can’t annoy anyone.
I want to rely on myself
I have a bit of an odd personality when it comes to control – I love planning trips and usually run the show when I have a laidback travel partner who’s happy to let me do so, but if there’s a more dominant person in the group I often let go of the reins and let that person lead. Travelling by myself not only means I get to be the kick-ass organiser I can be, but forces me to improve some of my weaker skills, like map-reading. Damn I hate directions…
I enjoy my alone time
I love going on holiday with my friends, but I’m a bit of an introvert at heart and constantly being around them for prolonged periods of time can get overwhelming. If I’m away with someone for a week or more I often have breaks where I go off by myself – it’s nothing personal, I just need regular time to myself. I feel like some people think I’ll get really bored with my own company, but actually I’m going to love it.
I want to meet new people
I might be an introvert, but no (wo)man is an island! I love meeting cool and quirky characters while I’m travelling – it’s the reason I’ll be staying exclusively in hostels – but when you travel in a group or particularly as a couple, people often assume you already have all the company you want and keep their distance. As a solo traveller people feel much more comfortable striking up a conversation with you, and being alone pushes me to be more outgoing and strike up conversations.
I need to get over my fear of eating alone
I realise this is a really silly, petty hang-up to have, but I hate eating alone. As I plan my solo trip around Slovenia I have no worries at all about finding hostels, navigating public transport or bridging the language gap, but the idea of sitting down in a restaurant for a meal by myself makes my stomach do a big flip. Which will not be helpful when I’m trying to work up an appetite, bur as I refuse to live on rubbish food it’s a mental barrier I’m going to have to break through. I’m planning on packing plenty of books…
Have you ever been on holiday by yourself? Tell me about your experience and give me some positive vibes!