Travelling, just like most of life’s merrymaking is a social engagement that no one is expected to undertake alone. We vacation with family or friends, always with someone because the point is to have fun right? People don’t just have fun alone, people cannot go to parties alone and people definitely cannot go to restaurants alone. Such people are sad and lacking in social skills…at least where I come from.
Such has been proven as social constructs to merely keep us from reaching our potential as humans, keeping us always afraid to explore, always preferring the safety and comfort of a group rather than the wide open spaces of adventure. Safety is good but adventure is more fun and those who are able to take decisions of adventuring on their own will always be the ones to drink life to the lees.
I remember the first time I travelled alone, my friend and I were working on a project in Windhoek and decided to take advantage of the fact that the sea and the desert were so near, so we booked a trip to Swakopmund. Well long story short my friend’s relative died and she had to go back home, we both decided that at least one off us had to enjoy the holiday, so I went alone. I think it was easier for me to make the decision because I have lived most of my life alone for as far back as I can remember since I have always had way too few friends, who do not share my interests. I have done lunch, dinner, movies, theaters, clubs and other such social engagements alone. But I had never done a whole five day vacation by myself so in a way it was a bit more challenging than going to a club or a restaurant alone.
It was the scariest thing I have ever done, a whole week in a place where I did not know even a single person and I was dead sure that it was going to be a disaster. Well it wasn’t.
The truth about travelling alone is that it is not only something losers without friends do but a wonderful opportunity for one to invest on a personal pilgrimage because;
- You will learn to be alone and to be okay with it: I think it was Rilke who said; “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” Basically what he is saying is blame yourself for being boring, being average etc. because without friends and family to keep you company and without them to blame for your inadequacies you will be forced to look deep into the self for support, for entertainment, for company because although you will make friends travelling, on some days you definitely will be alone and if your aloneness makes you uncomfortable you will make for such a frustrated traveler.
- You will learn so much about yourself: There is this thing in Gaborone that is very common where people’s hobbies and interests are acquired by associating with their friends and not by way of commune with self. If you say it ain’t so, well how do you explain every Gaboronian’s undying love for Jazz, let’s face it “re batho le vibe.” When you are travelling solo you are free to ditch the group community mentality and get to define yourself as an individual away from the influence of family and friends
- It will teach you self-reliance: Well if you are travelling alone you are solely responsible for your whole trip; the activities, the schedules, lunch etc. all falls on you and well you either swim or sink on this one really. If you miss your flight well you only have yourself to blame for not being reliable.
- You will make plenty of friends: Well if you are an approachable person with amiable personality there really is no how you can travel for even two days without meeting fellow travelers or locals who might even turn out to be your forever friends.
- It might be your craziest adventure yet: yes, when you are travelling solo you are free to be and do whatever you want (well in the confines of the law and common sense of course). When travelling in a group it is usually difficult to do what everyone wants so you settle for what the common consensus dictates as fun but travelling alone opens you up to the opportunity of indulging in all the fun you have always wanted to have but couldn’t because well it was not approved by friends.
Well, let us know what the best parts of solo travel are for you in the comments section below.
Onwards to Uhuru, Love and Light,