Travelling “with” myself

Table Mountain – Cape Town

 

En Español

When i created my homepage, i left out an important detail, most of the time I travel by myself.

If anybody asked me how and why I started travelling by myself, I would say I didn’t give it much thought. When I finished university, December 2005 (it’s been a long time), I decided to go on a graduation trip for a month to study English in Australia.

I didn’t feel like I needed to travel with somebody else, but truth is, it’s not that easy to find a friend with enough time, money and desire to travel. A week in Brazil, a long weekend in Uruguay, short trips near to Argentina… it’s easy to find people to go with, but a month in China, that’s not the same.

So I started travelling WITH myself and I got to love it. Nowadays, it would be hard for me to travel for a long time with someone else. A week at the beach… the more the merrier, but a month in a country far away with a new culture to discover, is different.

I’m not saying travelling alone is great for everybody, it helps if you are outgoing and you don’t get scared too easily. If you don’t like eating by yourself at a restaurant, picture yourself doing it for a month. A little tip, seat at the bar, it’s not the same to stare at the empty seat in front of you than talking to the bartender.

It also helps if you speak other languages. English of course is the most important, but I made lot of friends speaking Portuguese. You should try to learn some worlds in the local language. I learnt how to say I don’t want spicy in Chinese and it was really helpful.

As everything else, travelling by yourself, has its pros and its cons. Taking pictures, for example is hard by yourself, either you have lots of selfies or you need to ask someone else to take you one. I’m very bad at selfies and finding a good photographer is really hard. I was in a boat in India and I asked a guy to take a picture of me and he took one pointing outside the boat, exactly like the pics I was taking. When I explained to him I wanted to be in the picture he just turned around and took a photo of the inside part if the boat with me in it. After a long time, I managed to get him to take a picture of me with the landscape. Tips for pictures, selfie stick (although they don’t aloud it all the time), a small tripod (I have a gorilla pod) or, if you are going to ask someone, look for people with good cameras, they usually can take good pics.

The main pro of travelling by yourself, is you can do absolutely anything you want. Sleeping late and waking up early the next day? Perfect! Spend the whole day at the hostel meeting new people? Perfect too! It’s easier to meet people when you travel by yourself. I usually stay in hostels or couchsurfing- I’ll write a port about this-, although as I get older I appreciate hotels a bit more. Those are great places to meet people, but you can make new friends at the street, touristic places, bars. People like talking to someone who is alone, and you are more willing to talking to strangers too. I’ve made great friends travelling! I’m going to tell more about some of them in other post, but here are some pics.

Friends in China and Thailand

 

Friends in Turkey and India

 

Last advice, it can be a con too, if you are travelling by yourself, you and only you are responsible of yourself, so do take necessary precautions. Don’t get too wasted or stoned that you don’t know where you are. Don’t get me wrong, I love parties, staying at a bar until it closes, going to a day trip sleepless, but I always knew how to get back. I was impressed my last holidays in Mancora, Peru, every night I took a different girl who couldn’t walk or talk back to the hostel. If you are partying with ten friends, they’ll probably take care of you, but if you are alone, you could be lucky and meet someone like me to walk you back or it could turn really bad really soon. So, take care of yourself!

To finish this post with a happy note, the best things about travelling by yourself is getting to live new adventures, meet different people, learn another culture, open your mind, grow up, and last but not least, getting to know yourself more. Most important, travelling by yourself makes you more confident of you, because if you could manage on your own at the other side of the world, with a completely different language, there’s lots of things you can do.