Should I go alone? Wouldn’t it be great if a friend joined me? For anyone preparing a trip, especially those first couple of ones, that’s one of the biggest and most asked questions. It’s hard to choose and hard to decide. The reason for that is that there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages into both. But still, there is no one better or worse way, traveling alone and with friends are just two completely different experiences. So different that it’s impossible to compare.
I mostly travel alone for a reason. Going to see the world by yourself is, in the end, a quest for your inner self, it’s, in other words, an odyssey. It’s a very powerful, inspiring and unique way to find your best self and take the best of you out. It’s a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions and, for sure, it means experiences you’ll never forget.
Being alone around the world is an experience more about learning, of opening yourself and of growing up. When alone you command your times and you choose when and where to do something – you are in full control.
And, in the end, you are never alone. At least not as long as you are willing to open up. In fact, if you are not a closed kind of person, you’ll end up meeting more people when traveling by yourself than when with one or many friends. I met people at hostels, inside the trains, while stopping at cafés and even in the plazas. When you are traveling you always have one amazing story to tell, so make sure you do it!
Traveling alone also makes you more responsible and mature. It’s not that you got to be organized and picky to the smallest details, but you got to be careful. You and you alone have to take care of the budget, keep things safe, do all the paperwork and organize everything a bit head of time, set up plans, etc.
Also, the maturity side of the deal comes in when you got to cook for yourself, wash the clothes, sew and do all those things that you would never do at home. I always had my mom, my grandma or a girlfriend to give me a hand with all these – This time it was me and only me. Of course, on the way I would meet lots of people who would teach me, who would cook for me and more, but many times I wouldn’t. I love it that I can do all these things now. But it was tough sometimes!
And what about traveling with a friend?
There are two big things that make traveling with friends more attractive than alone. First, it can be much safer. And second, it can be much more fun when it comes to parties and festivals. In return for these, you have to be willing to lose depth in your quest for maturity, for responsibility and the actual odyssey itself.
I don’t like to give up all these, but if I’m going to do the Silk Road or go to the Oktoberfest, I rather do it with at least one friend. In remote places, far away from civilization, what can I do if I feel terribly sick? What can I do if I get robbed? It’s not the same as in Europe or in the Americas, which are much more prepared for tourism. Places as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan must be beautiful, but I’m sure it would be no fun to have big problems in there and be just by myself. And as for big parties and festivals, despite you can always meet new people and have a great time, it’s great when you go with your very best friends and have the time of your life all together sharing the moment.
The big tricky part here is choosing with who you would like to travel with. Pick up the wrong person and the whole trip could be ruined. Make sure that it’s someone you can spend a long time with and who has similar fashions and customs as you do. Most of the times this is not your best friend but someone else – Perhaps someone you have never expected. Unfortunately for me, for instance, none of my best friends in Buenos Aires fits on this criterion. I love them as if they were my real brothers, but I would never go traveling with them for more than a couple of days. But, in return, there are a few guys and girls who I know I can spend a long and fantastic time with. Make sure to choose wisely!