As a travel lover, I’ll be the first to admit that I write about travel a lot. I can’t seem to stop doing it or writing about it because of all the ways that travel has influenced my personal development and made me into the person that I am today.
I can talk all day about how travel has helped me to become the self that I love in this moment, I can wax poetic about the benefits of travel, I can go on and on about the travel experiences that I’ve had. But I don’t often stop to think about the little things that made travel so diverse and interesting.
For example: travelling solo or with others.
Travelling alone can be an amazing experience: when I travelled solo for the first time at age 19, flying to and working in Italy, I had my first truly distancing taste of independence. Sure, I had been at University for two years, living away from home, but my parents were only three hours away by car. I was surrounded by people that I trusted, with whom I had developed relationships, so, if I had a very serious problem, there was an old and strong safety net there to support me. My first time travelling abroad forced me to be completely self-sufficient in ways that I hadn’t been before. Don’t get me wrong: I did have a support network in Italy, between the company I worked for, the host family I stayed with, and the friends made during training and on the job. But these bonds were new and formed in only a week or two, not tried and true over a year or more. It’s a very different dynamic, and anytime I wanted to do something or go somewhere, I had to figure it out for myself. I had to be completely self-reliant, and while I didn’t know it then, I really needed that at the time. I’ve learned and grown so much while travelling alone, and while I’ve had ups and downs, I wouldn’t change any of those solo trips to partnerships or group trips.
On the other hand, I also wouldn’t remove the people I’ve travelled with from those equations either. Travelling with loved ones can be enriching and rewarding too, in different ways. Relationships can shift and change because travelling with someone is different than living or working with them, and it forces you to work together in ways that other situations don’t and can’t. Just like travelling solo, travelling with someone (or several someones) has influenced me a lot. For example, my family’s trips to Britain when I was younger cemented my relationships with family members and encouraged me to travel more under my own steam when I was older. In general, like with travelling alone, I’ve had mixed experiences, and have always come out of every travel experience differently than I went in. My relationship with the person (or people) that I travelled with are always different too. I wouldn’t want to remove the bad experiences from my life, though, because they’re a part of who I am and what I’ve learned. I can’t imagine who I would be today if my family hadn’t travelled frequently when I was young and encouraged me to continue to do so when I was older.
Did you come into this blog post looking for a debate between which is better: travelling solo or with others?
If you did, I’m not at all sorry to tell you that you’re in the wrong place. Both types of travel have pros and cons. Solo travel encourages independence and self-reliance, but it can be lonely at times. When I travel alone, I have to trust myself, be careful to be safe, make healthy connections with others, and prioritize my self-care. On the flip side, travelling with someone or several people that you care about, may deepen and strengthen your relationships with them… but it could also be more stressful to co-ordinate multiple people or have conflicts when you disagree.
At the end of the day, every travel experience I’ve had has been rewarding, whether I’ve travelled with others or not. Frequently, my travels are a mix: I’ll spend some time with someone I care about before moving on alone, spending some solo time, then meeting another loved one. For me, the balance is best.
What do you think, readers? Have you had a lot of solo, partner, or group travel experiences? Why or why not? Have you got any other pros and cons that I haven’t mentioned? Drop me a line below – I’m always up for a chat!
If you enjoyed this little post on travel, check out some similar older ones: “Somewhere: Wanderlust and Long-Distance Love”, “Somewhere: Travel and Dual-Citizenship”, and/or “Sunshine and Somewhere: Resilience”.
If you’re interested in my teaching, working, volunteering, and/or travel experience, be sure to check out my LinkedIn profile.
Thanks for dropping by!