The Ups & Downs of Traveling Alone

When I first started planning my road trip, there was no question that I would be doing it alone. I didn’t let any fears sneak in about flying solo. I had done it before (for a week) so I could do it again, right? Of course! After being on the road for a month I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I interact with the world when I am alone vs. with others. 

If you’re an introvert like me, the idea of traveling alone probably entices you. 

It’s not without its pitfalls, though. Not having a routine and a set of family of friends nearby can be very isolating when you aren’t confident in reaching out to strangers. Luckily I enter this “Travel Jenni” mode which causes me to chat people up more than I would in my hometown. I can’t say I’ve made new friends on this trip, but I have been able to get my conversational fixes on the days I am alone. And the best thing is that it’s a choice, and if I absolutely don’t want to talk then I don’t have to! 

Good ole Self Timer in the Redwoods

The role that social media plays when you are alone

I have been terrible at disconnecting, and checking up on instagram is second nature. I know this brings me absolutely no joy, but I still do it anyways. It makes me feel no less lonely and causes me to feel even worse that I’m not doing things as cool as others. Ha. What a joke. There will always be people doing “cooler” things. I haven’t figured out that balance of disconnecting since I still want to post and show people what I’m up to… but also in the same vein, this is my trip and I can do what I want! 

Here is a list of a few ups and downs of traveling alone 

UPS

  • You can choose own music or podcasts
  • The route is entirely up to you
  • You might reach out to strangers more
  • Reflection time alone is easy to come by
  • Not stuck with anyone (this one sounds mean)
  • You can go at your own pace. Stop if you want to. 
  • Being solo can allow for more opportunities like squeezing into a tour more easily
  • People are more likely to talk to you
  • Photography (for me) is best done alone
  • Introverts need space and you don’t get that in a cramped car with someone else

DOWNS

  • No one else to bounce ideas off of
  • You have to be the sole decision maker
  • No one to motivate you through hard hikes or get you out of bed when you don't wanna
  • Having someone around might make you feel more safe in certain situations 
  • Can’t drive as far
  • No one to help set up the tent or cook
  • No one to split the bill or the Airbnb
  • Conversations with yourself get old
  • Someone else will understand the wild journey you are on 

I really think there are solid points on both ends. I believe traveling solo is necessary for figuring out how you interact with the world, but traveling with someone or a group can be a lot more fun. But things like eating alone, going to the movies alone, camping alone (in non-bear country) have never been problems for me. It's important for me to get over those small feats in order to bring on the bigger ones - like backpacking alone (which I did! and survived!) For the main part though, I am not alone. I am visiting great friends and family and filling my cup in between the long stretches on the road alone. And it's awesome and tiring and rewarding and the best way to clear my head. 




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About Jenni

 

Jenni is a photographer and graphic design from Central New Jersey. She has always had a passion for travel, art and specifically finding new ways to be creative.


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