I don’t like traveling alone. It’s not because I am afraid of being on the road all for myself. I honestly don’t believe that in terms of security it makes any difference if I am traveling on my own or in a group. Traveling on one’s own is great. Sometimes you simply won’t have another choice because you won’t find anyone who’s coming with you. I believe that we all should travel on our own at least once in our lives and I have made some great experiences when I was traveling alone. But let’s face it: It is even greater to have a travel partner.
We should stop traveling on our own. Even though it has its advantages: Those who are traveling alone don’t have to compromise or enter into a commitment. They can do whatever they want. Anywhere, anytime. Lonely travelers will rarely feel lonely because it is pretty easy to get to know other lonely travelers on the road. Those who travel on their own never have to comply with anything or anyone.
Solo travelers are rarely traveling alone
But: Lonely travelers rarely do travel on their own. Most of the time, you’ll meet them in groups, partnerships of convenience. They’ll usually gather at some place to find company for a part of their way. They’ll cover a certain distance together before they split up once again to follow their own tracks and meet new people. The travel companions we meet on the road are easily replaceable. We make friends just as fast as we lose them again. We befriend each other on Facebook. And in the very moment in which we say goodbye and promise that maybe sometime we’ll visit each other at home in different parts of the world, we really believe in our words. We would love to do that. But in most cases, we just won’t. Ever.
There are three things that make travel the awesome experience it is. They are anticipation, traveling itself, and the afterglow of the experiences made while traveling. It is wonderful to know people in different parts of the world. But they are loose contacts, no matter how deep your relationship felt at the time you went traveling alone together. They’ll never become our friends. Instead, when we come back home after our travels, we try to tell our real friends about our experiences. We talk about things we did with people that are completely foreign to them. We show them photos of people from Australia, Italy and South America. People they don’t know. To our friends, our experiences are important but they can’t relate to what they see on the picture – they lack the basis of our experience.
Wouldn’t it be much better if our friends, partners, or family had been traveling with us in the first place?
We can only ever reminisce in collective memories with people that have shared our travel. But since these live anywhere in the world and have traveled on different paths and with different people as well, it is hard to catch up with them. Thanks to Facebook it may work for a while, but it will rarely work forever. You know that. Whenever we are with our friends and tell a story about our recent or past travels, nobody will be there who can fully understand the meaning of our story. Years after our travel we might not find anyone to talk about it at all. Wouldn’t it be much better if our friends, partners, or family had been traveling with us in the first place?
Besides, there are some purely practical reasons why having a travel partner is better than traveling alone. It is a lot more fun because you can rely on the fact that there’s always someone whom you can share your observations with. Because you know how that person will react to what you say. And because it can get really wearisome to get to know knew people all along the way and tell the same story over and over again. Given that you want to travel at a higher standard than dorms and hitchhikes, traveling alone is much more expensive. If you don’t travel on your own you can share a great part of the costs.