And yet – even with solo travel booming – we often find ourselves lingering on the precipice, not quite ready to commit.
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We cast around for friends whose work schedules/holiday needs will tee neatly and precisely with our own.
Never mind that this is a Herculean feat, given the frantic pace at which most of us live our lives. We still somehow crave the comfort blanket of a go-to travel pal.
But here are three good reasons to call off the search:
1. There’s no such thing as a perfect travel buddy
Just as there’s no such thing as The One, that ideal travel buddy you’re looking for just doesn’t exist.
Different people are good for different needs.
And let’s not forget, *anyone* who you travel with when there are just two of you is almost guaranteed to grate after a week or two.
Like sharing a flat, travelling is a process that throws up annoying little quirks you never noticed before.
Remember Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman? They were best mates and even they struggled with a bit of unsaid tension on their biking trip down through Africa.
With that in mind, it’s no great surprise that even married people are now increasingly opting to travel alone (according to this new study).
2. You see more of the world alone
The fact is, you don’t need another person to help you travel the world. Because, without someone to hold your hand (figuratively or for real), you’re likely to open your eyes and really see what’s in front of you.
From a pinkish sky over the skyline of Manhattan to hot air balloons rising up above the countryside of Myanmar, when you fly solo, your senses are primed for greater appreciation.
To quote the old cliché, you wake up and smell the roses; something that’s proven to boost happiness.
“Next time something good happens, stop whatever you are doing, give it a second and appreciate that moment,” writes best-selling author Eric Barker in Time magazine. “[…] Focusing on the positive and appreciating those things more leads to happiness increases in less than a week.”
When you set out alone into this glorious world of ours, you give your capacity for focused attention a lot more air time. You really do live in the moment.
3. You are the agent of your own adventure
Travelling with one other person is like carrying around a giant fluffy duvet with you.
Sure, it’s comforting. It will keep you feeling warm and secure. But it can also get in the way and become suffocating. It blocks you not only from seeing the world, but from meeting new people.
When you travel alone, you’re more open to meeting people around you; it’s a process that happens quite naturally with fellow travellers all over the world.
And if you don’t want to set out entirely solo, travelling with a group of strangers is a nice compromise.
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Because you’re with a new gang of people, you’re pushing your comfort zone; and so, you’re still attuned to new experiences. You’re alert to the world in the same way that you would be travelling solo.
Plus, you get to hedge your bets with not just one travel buddy but a whole host of ’em; from the deep thinkers (for late nights in Cape Town bars) to the Frisbee players (hazy days on Kerala beaches) and beyond.
You are the engineer of your own reality; the agent who can go out and claim the adventure that you crave.
So, if the world is calling to you, forget about that travel buddy: the only person you need is you.
Photos: Flash Pack and Shutterstock