Whether we’re backpacking South America on a budget, couch surfing in Europe, renting a villa in Bora Bora or hanging at a boutique hotel in Asia, the choices are a result of our personalities. The beauty of solo travel is that we are able to dabble or fully submerge ourselves to what suits our comfort level and personalities without the need of bending to someone else’s will. I know this sounds completely selfish but let’s be honest, we’ve all heard the stories of relationships either getting decimated or so bonded they are unbreakable. Fine, I will admit that I’m being dramatic but the results skew towards the former.
The time we spend with most people in our lives is limited, and as individuals we are able to accept the cute quirks, silly jokes and sarcastic jabs of our friends, family and significant others. The challenge is the change of environment where our limited window of time turns into something longer and can result into situations where the quirks are not so cute, jokes become more annoying than funny and jabs become hurtful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is it for all or even most instances – I’m playing Devil’s Advocate.
Our travel styles are a result of our personality, and I’m pretty frank with my friends that should we travel together, I will spend the whole time in or by the water (minimum 8 hours). Some think I’m joking, but I’m not. My love and happiness is surfing, swimming, snorkelling or floating in the ocean. If I wanted a pool, I would go to the gym. My travels are focussed on one thing (even though I am terrible), surfing. Not hiking, camping, architecture, history or food but most are nice complements (not hiking) but never the key driver for my travel decisions.
I am also grateful and fortunate to have the opportunity to travel for professional reasons, but most of the time you see a city from behind a car door or in boardrooms but it is an awesome way to make a mental note of what you’d like to come back to see.
Solo travel is a great way to remind ourselves of who we are, as sometimes we get caught up in how we’re supposed act whether it’s a self-created image or societal/cultural perception. I certainly do. The time of self-reflection does wonders for your self-confidence, mental health and self-love. We all vary in travel styles, and there’s no right or wrong way to travel as long as we are happy that’s what matters.
My travel style? I will always be with my Osprey 65L backpack and GoPro by somewhere coastal and warm (I don’t like cold water surfing). Most of my travels for the next couple of years will be travelling my way through Latin America. My experiences so far have been positive. Love the language, culture, food and friendly people. It’s a reasonable distance to fly, and not engulfed in the western concepts of development. I stay at private rooms in hostels or in boutique hotels, allowing me the privacy I need but the opportunity to meet other solo travellers.
What’s your travel style? Are you the budget backpacker experiencing all you can on limited time and funds? The artsy traveller who will get lost in a book at a local cafe as you take a break from viewing the galleries and local shops? The posh traveller enjoying a cocktail outside your private villa overlooking the Pacific in the Maldives? The adventurer who is determined to see and climb all that wonders of the world? The beach bum who can hang out all day in their board shorts with salty hair and sandy toes?
Sure, quizzes and blogs can lump us into generic categories, but it is us as individuals that create the style that best works for us. Solo travel is a great way to discover and embrace your travel style. I hope you all get a chance to try it at least once!