This morning in the office, a friend of mine sent me a link on how to deal with introverts.
Contrary to popular belief, I have long established myself as an introvert. In travelling terms, this explains the reason why I find so much joy in taking long plane rides alone or even take off for a solo travel.
Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with friends. Not only is it a lot of fun, but also having friends around has a lot of benefits, one of the obvious ones being that you have someone to help you snap the cool shots, especially if you are travelling with skillful photographer friends, you will not have to worry about not having that new profile picture on Facebook (and they won’t complain if you ask them to help you snap photos because hey, after all, you are helping them practise their photography skills).
But back to the point of travelling solo. I remember there was a point some time last year that I just ended up feeling so suffocated by following everyone else’s travel demands. In the end I booked a solo trip to Copenhagen and London on impulse at the expense of end-of-year travel to Vietnam with my friends.
I have to say that it was one of the best decisions I had made last year since it reminded me of how much I needed it. Here, I listed down the best things about travelling solo, just to tempt you all fellow introverts.
- Freedom. For obvious reasons. You get to choose your flight timing, when you want to travel, where you want to go, what your itinerary is (if any), what to eat, where to stay, your budget etc. Doesn’t this tempt you already?
- Meeting new people. Who says travelling solo is lonely? I find myself more likely to make new friends when I’m not surrounded by a bunch of friends. Strangers tend to get overwhelmed by the presence of a large group of people. Who knows who you can meet along the way and often times those whom you meet have interesting stories to tell. The last time I travelled solo, I bumped into the Crown Prince of Denmark. How cool is that?
- Getting lost. I have to say, this is one of my favourite parts about travelling. Getting lost means stumbling into new unexpected places, like those boat houses in Regent Canal that I chanced upon on the way from Paddington to Baker Street. With my awful sense of direction, this is guaranteed to happen, getting lost I mean.
- At the same time, improving your sense of direction. Because I am forced to look at the map myself and no one else to rely on, I know my way around Copenhagen and London a lot better after having been there on my own.
- Perfectly justified selfies. Because sometimes you are walking along a leaf-strewn park in Odense and you want to take picture with yourself in it. Fat chance of finding a person who happens to pass by the area, even more hopeless to have someone who won’t find you weird for wanting to take picture with a park of nothingness.
- You are allowed to spend hours in a place. I spent four solid hours wandering the Harry Potter Studio at Watford without having to answer to anyone’s bored faces. I got to look in detail the Ravenclaw’s diadem, Gryffindor sword, potion bottles, sat down in the cold with a cup of Butterbeer… you get the idea.
- New observations. Perhaps it is because I have to worry less about my travel mates, or perhaps it is simply because I can take my time to do anything I want. Well, I don’t know about you, but I seem to notice my surroundings more when I travel solo. Like how mysterious St Paul’s Cathedral looks during early evening. Or a chair dedicated to someone’s grandma next to the river at Little Venice.
- Improving your photography skills. You do not have to worry about someone else waiting for you while you so diligently attempt to take that perfect shot of a flag getting blown by the wind. Or a bee on a flower. Or leaves on the floor. Or a rock. Or anything. It is up to you to experiment, and no photos are too silly to take.
- Flexibility and spontaneity. Suddenly not feeling like going into a museum? No one is going to force you. Feeling like having Pret sandwiches throughout the day to save some money while you are in London? By all means. The days are yours to spend. You don’t have to answer to anyone.
- Recharging yourself. I guess this is the most important aspect for introverts. Those days spent seeing the world is a good way to get in touch with yourself and restore all your energy. True, you can do this by sitting in your room and reading a good book, but why not live out of the pages once in a while? 😉
So there, I hope you have started to think of a place you want to go on your own. Remember, no place is too boring to travel solo.