“No one can deceive you unless he makes you think he is telling the truth. " Cs Lewis
Many people have asked me about traveling and a simple answer for me is to just go. If possible for long,better still alone.
Now here comes the widely discussed topic about whether to travel alone or with someone.
( im sure there are many travel blogs that also write about this issue and many differing opinions available) I ll just share some observations from my personal travels as well as from what i have heard or read. Most of the issues below can work both ways for example when i say you will meet more people individually, if you travel with a friend who is a people magnet, you might end up meeting even more people than if you were alone....
As mentioned in my previous post, i spent 3 months in Europe traveling in the companionship of Jason ( a good friend i have know for 7 boy am i old...) This year again im in europe for the same amount of time but alone.
Advantages of traveling with someone:
1) Lower cost- sharing of rooms, taxis.... It works both ways, depending on the budget of both parties eg if one party wants to walk but the other is insistent on taking the bus, you might end up spending more...
2) Easier preparation and sharing of burden- its alot more practical to prepare food for 2 people than 1, sharing of stuff eg, one bringing soap and shampoo, the other toothpaste and face soap ( carrying stuff also, one tent for both, medicine and even guidebook) taking turn to do the dishes and chores...
3) Its safer - your friend can take care of you when you are sick or take care of stuff when you need to take a quick dump...with two people you can beat up more thieves than 1....haha
4) Someone to laugh with and share memories with - So people have said "some places are too nice to go alone" If you read my earlier blog post you will realise that there were many almost perfect moments where i was extremely happy but also sad that my best friends or family was not sharing it with me...It was also fun to have another friend in funny moments to share a laugh with or even share some stories and thoughts with ( Jason was the only singaporean in a hundred miles who understood me ( in a cultural context) and we could discuss our observations about the different cultures and perspectives immediately.)
Along with this, when you are finished with your travels you can reminisce the experience with your travel companion...Even now i constantly seek advice and continue to share about my trip with Jason as he is probably the one of only person who understands the situations i face well without me explaining much.
5) less stressful and scary- Your travel companion can help you with coping with cultural shock or with handling touts or even with food that you cant finish ( I dont drink as much and jason helped me alot last year haha, and we could taste more variety )
Advantages of going Solo
1)More challenging and exciting - You have to plan everything yourself and be really independent, if you are lost, no one will help you.
This might seem daunting in the start but is necessary and good for your personal development. Relying on people all the time is not always a good thing and with experience you can be the person rely on in times of need. Great for self confidence, there is a great sense of achievement and fulfilment when you realise you have overcome something challenging yourself
2) You meet more people- People generally find it easier to approach a single person than a pair/group. Its also easier for people to invite a single person to a dinner than a pair/group... Solo travellers might find it easier to approach people than two travellers. strangers might be kinder to you.
3) Immersion - You are really thrown into the culture out of your comfort zone, instead of speaking your local language with your friend you are forced to speak or interact with the real locals...Less nonsense talk eg what flavour jam to buy...
4)Freedom- You can do anything you want, you dont have to compromise on anything and you are not forced into doing anything against your will...No time wasted on arguements, tears shed, awkward silences or even cold wars...There is something amazing about arriving in a place where no one knows anything about you, sometimes fun when you are bored of your own identity..haha
5)Solitude, peace and quiet You have more time to reflect, do your own things, shoot photos or even shower. One of the important things humans posses is the ability to reflect and think. Sometime solitude encourages this behaviour and allows you to get to know yourself alot better. Solitude can afford you the opportunity to enjoy embrace nature and the environment There is a difference between loneliness and solitude and you will find out the difference when you have experienced either
6)Easier to tell crazy lies about yourself to impress the girls that you meet - Im just kidding or am i....
Well as mentioned earlier, many points can work both ways depending on who you are and who your travel partner is. My old and wise friend Sis Christine had advised me earlier in life to travel with the girl i planned to marry as from there i could see the "real side" of a person. Yes, travel does bring out the real, if not different side in everyone...She gave the example of a guy where no 1 else was looking would still open the door for a girl or when extremely hungry and tired would still be a gentlemen and look to the needs of a girl before himself. I realised last year also that your travel companion is also going to be the person you spend the most time with. Yes, Jason was the person i spent alot of time with ( 24 hours a day, 7 days a weel,3 months) Even my mother had never spent so much time with me consecutively...you cannot escape your partner once choosen...so choose wisely, Just remember, depending on the both of you, travel can sometimes make or break a relationship----
In retrospect, i hope this has helped you make an informed decision whether solo travel is suited for you, i ll tell you about my case when i end my travels in August. However, if you are sitting there and reading this, have no intention of traveling at all, the more important message i'd like to say is... Alone or with a friend can affect your travel...but the thing is...To travel.