Traveling is one of my resolutions this year. It is now one of my favorite activities besides painting and paper quilling. Gretchen Rubin, the author of my favorite book the Happiness Project once said, “When u do new things – travel to a new place, meet new people – you’re more apt to be happy than people who stick to more familiar activities”. Traveling does put a little spark in my life even though it requires money. So, I recalled from what my mom told me “Just go wherever you wanted to go. You’re still young and carefree”. By following the advice, I save some money for vacation. Lucky me, the company where I’m working with never bothers my vacation as long as I’ve completed my responsibility before I leave.
Spending most of time lying on soft mattress of sand beach with the sun kissed on your cheek and the blue sky holiday as the roof, it was awe inspiring. I love going to the beach but I don’t mind of going downtown to visit local markets and munch some street food. I used to hate going to the beach before, I hated when the sun burnt my skin. But now, I love when the sun kissed my skin and of course I put sun screen before going to the beach and therefore I still get the tan color safely.
Traveling with family, in groups or maybe going solo have its own challenge. When you travel with someone else, you need to brace yourself and you have to discuss your adventure like places you want to visit or you don’t want to visit, what kind of transportation you will take, or what kind of food you want to taste with your companion.
Well, I don’t mind of going with travel mates as long as we have the same interest. For example, I’m very fond of walking and I would be happy if my travel mates don’t mind of walking side by side with me.
Moreover, I don’t like a whiny that complains about how hot is the sun that might give them dark skin tone and prefers to stay in a room with AC [Well, I sometimes hate the sun especially when I’m about to go for work, when I’ve put make up on my face then it smudges due to too much sun, oh yes. I hate it. However, it is completely much different when I was on vacation. Oh how I love the sunny holiday!],
Or maybe complain about the awful public transportation in one’s country, or refuse to eat with locals for street food because it is less luxurious and the possibility of diarrhea germs on their plate. Oh, seriously? Cited from Andrew Zimmern from Bizzare Food, “If it looks good, eat it!“. Well, it’s merely about discussion when you travel with mates. Better to say what you like or you don’t like and you can find a way to bridge the gap.
Pros of traveling with mates:
- It is said that two is better than one. It’s nice to have someone to share the amazing view of sunset, or the color of the falling leaves, or maybe just sitting in silence and together admiring how awesome our life is.
- Pictures. Yes, you have someone for taking your pictures and tag them on your Facebook page.
- You can share food with your mates (as long as you and your mates have the same taste. If it’s not, well, good luck!). Moreover, by going with mates, you can share transportation fees and accommodation.
- It would be much safer for girls to travel with mates especially in rape prone countries. Unless you can do martial-art.
Cons of traveling with mates:
- There will be a lot of discussion to agree about things like I said before (places to visit, what kind of water games to take, where to eat and so on).
- Prepare your ears to hear when your mates’ complain about the sun, public transportation, meals, sweat or maybe the dark skin they got.
So, what about going solo?
I don’t mind of going solo, the truth is I love going solo. You don’t have anyone to depend, you don’t have anyone to discuss about things. You depend and discuss with yourself. However, this kind of activity increases the amount of joy, pleasure, gratitude and friendship your life. I also realized that the true friend of your life is yourself. I learnt about self acceptance while I was on solo traveling, I learnt to conquer my ego and become completely “me”.
Then, I can’t wait to have more adventurous journey and do new things in life by myself. When I was completely alone, I could really see the beauty of life. Everything that I saw was beautiful in its way. Since I didn’t have anyone to talk to, maybe that kind of aloneness ‘forced’ me to meditate. Haha.
Pros of traveling solo:
- No discussion with anyone else, no schedule and you will have a marvelous spontaneous activity/journey.
- You don’t have to take anyone’s pictures by request.
- Traveling solo is stress reliving. You don’t need to pay attention on your mates’ complains which might lead you to another stress.
- It might boost your confidence. I never talk to strangers. However, when I was going alone, I talked to many new friends and shared stories. Omg! It was amazing. My world was just suddenly become larger.
- Traveling alone might be the best time for you to reflect, to know who you really are without anyone else beside you. This is my favorite part of going solo. It’s time for me to connect, learn to love, and accept myself completely.
- I admit, going alone might be uncomfortable and challenging at first. But once you’re doing it, it will change your point of view.
- You will have a lot of “me time” as much as you want. Either you want to stay in bed all day, splurge your budget on meals or do anything you want to do.
Cons of traveling solo:
- You have no-one to share transportation and accommodation budget.
- Safety issues. If you’re traveling in a safe area/country it would be fine. If you are not, better to equip yourself with pepper spray. Or, if you can do martial-art then it’s probably not an issue for you.
So, it’s completely your choice whether you want to travel with companion or going solo. Each choice has its pros and cons. I prefer going solo if I wanted to visit a location which is categorized “safe” for female traveler.