BLOG # 6 (29 May 2017)

Travelling alone…

„Andas solo?“ („You are travelling alone?”). When I answer “Yes” my interlocutors give me a sad look until I continue: “I am travelling the Bob-Marley-style: No women, no cry…”.  They then normally respond with a big laughter. It apparently still is unusual to travel alone.

In Spanish there exists a proverb: “Si quieres viajar rápido, anda solo. Si quieres viajar lejos, ve acompañado.” (“If you want to travel fast go alone. If you want to travel far, then travel with another person”).

Well, there are obviously many advantages to travel with a second person in particular with a partner: security wise (e.g. one can guard the car or the language while the other one is going shopping); emotionally (morning hugs and evening caresses, not feeling lonely), costs (it is cheaper to travel jointly), sharing travel impressions, decisions made after having them discussed with a partner most-likely might be better decisions;…. to name only some of the advantages.

On the other hand one should not be scared of travelling alone. It is not that difficult and most of all it is not boring at all. Quite the contrary it offers a number of opportunities and unique experiences. Let me point out some of them:

  • No need to discuss / justify your decisions: I am basically constantly changing plans: will I stay or move on; what to see; what to do, home-cooking or restaurant, where to sleep, how far to travel that day?…. If you travel alone you do not have to discuss your plans, decisions (or the change of plans) with your partner. You are much more able to do what you want and to arrange your life according to your guts-feelings.
  • Meeting other people: When travelling alone you certainly have much more contact with other people in particular with the local population. As people in Latin America are extremely hospital and friendly I constantly make new friends and through them learn much more about their life and their country.
  • Travelling alone also is the best way to improve your language skills. You basically get a 24/7 language course for free.
  • Silence / being alone: Sometimes it is really great to be alone, not to be forced to talk or to listen, just to be on your own. Particular when you travel by car with a second person it is not easy to have some space for yourself.
  • Living your own speed: When two persons travel together there is always one faster than the other, which means one always needs to wait or to adapt to the speed of the other. Travelling alone you can follow your own rhythm, one day faster, one day slower, you do not have to wait for anybody and you do not have to hurry up because of somebody……

Admittedly it might be more difficult for a woman to travel alone. However, I know many female travellers who do it and recently I also met two women, each of them driving their campers through South America.

Travelling alone or with a partner, both ways may have their merits and challenges and as usual you cannot have it all…. At the end it is a matter of choice.

For the moment I think I found a good compromise: Travelling partly allow and partly with a partner, taking the best of both.