Traveling solo

Personal

Edit: I can see that I started writing this post December 19th 2015. This was after my first solo trip traveling to Portugal. I remember feeling almost embarrassed back then to say that I was traveling on my own. Oh how things have changed. I then continued writing almost three years ago before I headed to Sri Lanka on a five weeks solo trip. Lastly I edited the post after returning from my solo trip to Turkey last summer. For some odd reason I never posted it, but now here it is. 

“Who are you going with?” Time after time this is one of the first questions I get asked when talking about a new trip I’m planning. “Myself” I answer proudly.  An answer that’s usually reciprocated with a nervous smile. Some people flat out ask “Why!?”
Others say something like; “Oh… but.. you’re going with a group right? .. Or an agency?” When the answer to that question is “No,” the nervous smile turns into a weird look, and so the explaining begins..

To me traveling solo is the feeling of complete freedom, strength and independence.

Each time I feel happy when traveling alone it is a different kind of intense happiness than other people can give me. It’s happiness completely created from within, and experiencing that I am capable of feeling that kind of happiness solely brought upon by myself, brings me the strongest feeling of content.

The happiest of campers after completing a challenging hike all on my own through caves in Cappadocia, Turkey

Solo traveling is done by many, but questioned by even more. Nonetheless it is something I have come to love. I might even say I’ve gotten addicted to it.
Each trip is a growing experience, and every time I connect with a foreign stranger I get an exhilarating feeling. In the strangest way, traveling alone makes me feel more alive. This feeling is mostly derived from becoming friends with people holding a different nationality. It makes me feel both wildly excited and incredibly calm to know that all around the world are friendships waiting to be had.

When I travel alone I experience everything more intensely, and I get to know myself better. I push boundaries, move outside of my comfort zone and each time I reach a new destination, I start over from square one.

Every solo trip start out with me being nervous. “What have I done?” “Why am I doing this?” are just few among the many questions that runs through my mind when I am at the airport, waiting impatiently to board the aircraft.
Traveling alone is not easy peasy flowers and butterflies. There’s no one to hold your spot in the two hour long service desk line you’re forced to wait in when you missed your connecting flight and you’re two mili seconds and a rain drop from peeing your pants. There’s no one to help you out when you’re five minutes from the airport and realise that you forgot your passport at the hostel you were staying at (yes, this really happened…). There’s also no one to look after you late at night when a person is following you on the way back to your hostel, somehow appearing at every corner even though you continuously make the weirdest turns. These are few among many issues that you potentially have to deal with all by yourself. There are lonely moments and moments when things go wrong and I’d do anything to have a travel buddy by my side, but they are few and far between.

Another question I often face is “aren’t you going to get sick of your own company?” To be quite honest, I think I am the only person in the world I could spend 24/7 alone with for five weeks without getting sick of my own company. I kind of have to be able to do that. And truthfully, each time I travel alone, I find myself being surrounded by more people than if I had been traveling with a friend. You meet so many new people – new friends – from all over the world.

I’ve come to know incredible souls from Canada, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Russia, Holland, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey, Germany, Spain and so many other countries. These might not all be people whom I stay in touch with on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis, but if I ever visit their country I’ll be sure to stop by to give them a hug and share a bottle of wine. Just as they all know that if they ever come across Copenhagen, they’ll have a place to stay and a tour guide at their disposal.

“Those who fly solo have the strongest wings” said a quote I once read. Now, I believe that nothing is stronger than the bond two people, whom have chosen each other, share, but to further strengthen that bond, I truly think that it is paramount to know that you are able to “fly” on your own, without having someone ready to catch you if you break a wing. If you ask me, traveling solo is something everyone should do at least once in their life.

I don’t intend to always fly solo, to always travel alone, but for now it is undoubtedly my favorite way to explore, experience and grow. Little by little. Trip by trip.

So please don’t make me explain.

// Annika