There are many things written about traveling solo, regardless if you are a male or a female. It does not really matter if they are listing the pros or the cons since there is something no one actually tells you about traveling solo. After three years of traveling solo consistently, I have already made my own lists of pros and cons, and I will always defend anyone who wishes to travel solo. It is such an amazing thing to do, but it could be a nightmare as well.
All these years I have been traveling solo, I have felt happy with being able to choose how to move, where to eat, what to visit first, which people I want to talk with, and having a lot of time to think about my life. I love doing all that by myself, unless I actually get to meet new people because I decided to. But I guess I am actually getting old. Let me explain.
Traveling has been self-reassuring until now. It has been that period of knowing myself a lot better, of self-confirmation that I am actually mentally healthy and that I can solve my own awkward moments by taking the best decisions possible. However, the last time I traveled by myself, I thought there was something missing.
As a young woman traveling solo, many would think that the chance to have travel flings, going out to drink or just hanging out would become easy, but no. Last time, I actually felt alone. I am totally used to not having someone to take my pictures and having to take selfies or using the timer while the camera is hanging somewhere safe. I am totally used to eat in a table for one. I have never had issues with that. But last time, I actually felt I needed to have someone next to me with whom actually share the experience. I never felt I needed that.
That time, while I was walking around Rome, I thought about people back home: "I'm sure X would love seeing the Colosseum" or "I wish Y would try this gelato with me." I actually needed to have someone there, and no, I don't think I was acting differently because I wasn't making as much friends as I usually do while traveling. The dating scene this time was worse than usual. Blame it on Tinder. I actually felt like the antithesis of what "Eat, Pray, and Love" ideally describes of that solo traveler every women want to become. There were times I wanted to go back home -- that was also something new.
How do you -- as a travel blogger -- explain that you're actually exhausted of traveling solo? Isn't that the same thing you promote as a blogger? Yeah, those were the first things that came to mind when I realized what I was feeling was exhaustion. I got tired of being by myself. I was going through a moment where I asked myself: "With so many people in the world, how is it possible that I always have to do this by my own?"
It was hard to accept it, even harder to explain it. People tend to look at the privilege you have of traveling. How am I supposed to be so vain by telling them "I am not feeling happy because carrying my bags around a new city by my own is not exciting anymore?"
When I discussed it with people, I thought they would understand. Instead, they pointed out my traveling privilege or would say, "Why are we not switching places?" And I knew they were right. I am privileged of being able to travel because I chose it as one of my main writing topics. I am privileged of having loyal readers and of having earned the trust of so many people. This just seems totally stupid, but I decided to actually accept it, and this is the reason why this text came to life.
Yes, I am a solo travel blogger. Yes, I will always encourage people to not leave for tomorrow what they want to do today just because they are afraid to be alone. But, this experience has taught me I can't deny human nature. In the end, we are social creatures. It doesn't matter how independent and how self sufficient we can be. I actually wanted to have someone to hug when I discovered a new place. I wanted to hold a hand when I felt I needed it but no, as a solo traveler, those moments do not really exist. I am craving the feeling to travel along with someone.
Travel by your own, explore, feel and love. In that self confirmation that journey can bring, do not feel scared to admit your flaws. Knowing what you can handle while traveling alone is a great start to get to know yourself better. Once, I read a quote that said that "Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions." If in that certain moment of your life you need a space to be alone, you will manage it as well as possible. As I previously mentioned, the older I am getting, the more I need to share experiences. I know I will always be a solo travel blogger, but I am totally looking forward to write that blog post where I can talk about my experience shared with someone special.