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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Traveling Solo - Pros and Cons by Tamshuk Saha

I hope everyone had a great last year and ready to achieve new goals with new year of 2016.
Today i am so glade to introduce Tamshuk Saha as my guest blogger. He is solo traveler so lets check out his story for pros and cons of Solo traveler.

I am from India, presently spending my last two months as an IT professional in Singapore. Last month I quit my decent-paying job to get out of a routine and safe life. More than the satisfaction of leaving my job, it is the excitement of my upcoming experiences that keeps me on my toes.In 2015, I have been on 6 trips across Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Indonesia. I plan to travel and live in the entire south-east Asia over the next one year and taking up volunteering gigs at every opportunity. I started my blog in June 2015 to share my travel experiences with folks out there. Travel, food, marine life, mountains, ocean and beaches - the six elements that define my passion for life. You can check my blog tamz explores


A few lines of this article might stand out like a sore thumb, especially when it is coming from an ardent solo traveler himself. I have been traveling alone, been on several trips by myself for over a year now and I personally have felt an entire range of emotions during each and every trip of mine. There are several blog posts out there that highlight the beautiful myriad that is Solo Traveling. However, very few of them say things about the other side – the not-so-rosy part of solo travel and there is good reason for it which you will find in the concluding parts of this post. For now, let me start with the difficult aspects of traveling by yourself. 

You are alone out there


This is probably the most telling drawback of traveling solo. You go out there to places, see people around - couples, group of friends and families - and you miss a company. To be honest, quite a few times on my trips, I have felt the absence of a companion - be it a friend, girlfriend or family - and it is not a nice feeling to have when you are on your travels. The wish to have friends around when you take that jump off a cliff into the sea or explore the beautiful life underwater with a beloved is truly very compelling.


You feel self-conscious


For people like me who are quite introvert by nature and have probably lived a life within a cocoon of a self-designed safety net, going out there just by yourself and opening yourself to new experiences can be quite unnerving. You feel too much self-conscious thinking that people are watching or even worse - judging you for traveling alone. You feel apprehensive to sit at a restaurant and eat alone. I’ve been asked “just you?” several times by waiters at restaurants when I said “table for one”. You feel awkward going on a island hopping trip where you know you will be surrounded by traveling couples/groups/families.

Safety


This is a far more significant aspect which even seasoned solo travelers are always wary of. When you are traveling alone in an entirely different country/city, walking among strangers and different cultures, there is always a risk of running into troubled waters. Mishaps, accidents, sickness strike you in a foreign land and there you are fending for yourself. I’ve been robbed in Jakarta once in broad daylight in a part of the city that I later found out was shady. In times like these, a companion is so much welcome.

Now to speak of the better parts of traveling solo, I am just going to turn around the above three points and portray a completely different picture.



We are NOT alone out there


No you are NOT alone at all. As Bob Dylan once sang “The times they are A-Changin”, the times have changed and people are moving over the conventional travel norms. Scores of folks all over the world are traveling around and going places by themselves. The freedom to just walk/run/drive/ride/swim wherever you want and whenever you want is something most people crave for. The thrill of having an endless journey on the road or the sea, without complying to the entirely different needs/wishes of a companion is what drives people like me to travel on our own. On the road, I have met so many solo travelers, made wonderful friends and created some of the most unforgettable moments. It just needs a smile and “where are you from?” to break the ice and get things going.


We are NOT self-conscious


Not anymore. After my first travel, I realized a few things. Most people are curious about you. They look at you and wonder what’s your story. They don’t judge you as much as we used to assume. Nobody is going to throw you off the boat if you take a snorkeling trip by yourself. Nobody will throw their food at you if you are eating alone at a restaurant. On the contrary, people love to hear your stories and they love to share theirs with you. And if I am hungry, I am going to eat -alone or not. So to the guy who asked me “Oh, just you??”, I would say “Nah, I have an invisible girlfriend who is right now showing you one certain finger”.

We are never safe


This is the eternal truth. Doesn’t matter wherever we go, whenever we go and with whom we go, we are never safe enough. If something bad is meant to happen, it will happen and there is no stopping it. Traveling solo or not, there is always a risk of an unfortunate moment when you are in a new place or different surroundings. However, on our part, like every normal and sensible human being, we need to take precautions to AVOID getting into sticky situations. The rocks on the shore look slippery? Don’t step on them. Poking a snake or a jellyfish? Not a good idea. Disrespecting and mocking local culture or people? A big NO. Pack basic medical aids, travel insurance, share your itinerary with at least one trusted person and the list goes on.




So, traveling solo - Yay or Nay? Yay of course. Solo travel is amazing. It has given me some of the most memorable moments of my life - night long conversation with Scottish doll Sascha (who is a friend now of course) sitting at a bar in Sihanoukville, bonding with a group of friends from Australia and Hong Kong on a snorkeling trip in Gili Islands or making new friends while dancing the night away and gazing at fireworks on the beach at New Years Eve - this is what I have got. People travel on their own for many reasons - rediscover oneself, take a break from routine life, get over a painful heartbreak, start a new journey or to just see the world. That is why there are so many few articles on the internet that speak of the drawbacks of solo traveling because the magnitude of those drawbacks are nowhere near to the sheer joy and ecstasy we experience on our journey. So,to all the solo travelers out there who are exploring the world on their own, we  are exactly what Barney Stinson said - “Awesome”.

30 comments:

  1. I personally love travelling by myself you get to capture unique memories.

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    1. True.
      You get to experience an entirely different world out there.

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  2. I love traveling solo as well..although it will definitely be fun with the whole family as well. But for sure I can go wherever I want when I travel by myself..

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    1. Well, traveling with companions has its perks too I am sure :)

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  3. My friend travels solo often and has shared many of your points with me. It is always good to look at the pros and cons.

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    1. Yeah. I have faced both sides while traveling by myself :)

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  4. i have travelled a lot but rarely solo - something to think about.

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    1. Definitely..
      Take the step when you can.

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  5. It's an overwhelming experience, but one that would let you become a better person! Or maybe because I just love being alone too. It's definitely worth doing.

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    1. Entirely agree with you. I find myself a more evolved person ever since I started traveling

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  6. I travelled solo many times and loved it although it would have been nice being able to share the experience. I agree with what you say though and I'm just glad i'm now married and have someone to share future travel with. Angela at Daysinbed

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    1. I agree with you Angela.
      As I said, traveling with a companion or a beloved one is an entirely different and pleasant experience

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  7. I travelled alone for the first time at age 18 to the Bahamas and I loved it! Looking back as a mother of 4 who is never alone. One of the loveliest trips ever

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    1. Oh I am sure you loved it in Bahamas.. But traveling with family is a great pleasure too as you already know by now :)

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  8. Such a wonderful experienced, you're so lucky to had traveled a lot of beautiful place as yourself.

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    1. Thank You Nicole..
      I guess I am lucky in some ways :)

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  9. Looks like you had an awesome traveling by your self. Sometimes i want to travel alone but i am scared.

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    1. Thank You Victoria..
      Trust me, the hardest part is booking the ticket and getting on to the plane. Things get easier after that :)

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  10. Traveling solo? I did before I got married...

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  11. I'm not adverse to traveling solo sometimes and think it might even be nice in certain instances. There are some places though, I really would prefer to have family with em. :)

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    Replies
    1. True. Traveling with family has its own pleasures.

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  12. I love to travel, but I've never done it alone. This is a great resource for those who are planning to travel solo.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you find it helpful. I hope you will take your solo trip sometime soon

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  13. beautiful I normally travel in groups would love to travel in this area so beautiful

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    1. Traveling is always beautiful. Even in groups :)

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  14. Call me weird but I sometimes love solo trips! You get to be selfish and see everything you want then ;-) love family trips... But once in awhile selfishness is fun ;-)

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    1. Nah its not weird and selfish at all.
      Traveling solo is an entirely different and enriching experience.

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  15. I have yet to travel solo on an international trip. I want to but I need to muster enough courage for it.

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    1. Oh just go for it. Trust me, the hardest part starts and ends with getting on that plane.

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