This one’s just a small post about the benefits of travelling with others, vs. on your own that you may wish to consider if you’re (as I was on my year abroad) still on a break between sessions. Personally, I travelled Thailand with others, and on my own. I did the same with New Zealand and Australia – so I’ve a little background knowledge. Here’s a few of my observations regarding each one.
- FREEDOM (cue braveheart). If you’re on your own, there’s an almost infinite list of possibilities for you to do on a daily basis. If you’re like me, and are happy to sack breakfast and get up at sunrise to explore before everyone else wakes up, this is a major plus. Less of the whole faffing about and then having to contend with crowds queueing for temples/selfies etc.
- Go where YOU want, without limits. Had I travelled with others for my entire trip in Asia, I never would have been to Cambodia. I’d have missed out on the harrowing S21, the white sands of Ottres Beach, visiting deserted islands, $0.25 pints and most of all – Angkor Wat. Thing is, everyone has their own priorities and list of spots they want to hit. Going solo means you can hit exactly where you want to go.
- Flexibility. It isn’t just about freedom, and solo travel isn’t all on your own. What’s also great about (initially) travelling on your own, is that you can then book onto tours around the Whitsundays with people you don’t know, join a couple of people in a hostel to go see a deserted island the next day, or just chill with new friends that you’ve only just met on the beach. The world literally is your oyster, and going solo to start with leaves plenty of room to join up with others on your journey.
- Doing stuff you wouldn’t normally do. This was a big thing for me – in Thailand and Malaysia, I wound up visiting all manner of places I would otherwise never have been to. Had I been planning my trip to Thailand alone, it’s pretty unlikely that I would’ve wound up on Khaosan at 3am eating a scorpion. Having said this, going with the flow of others and saying ‘yes’ has taught me that scorpions are hella crunchy.
- Security. Whilst I found this less of an issue, travelling with others can also give you a sense of safety, as you’re not just left alone to make your own way. This was something I noticed others that I travelled with tended to benefit from, if they had previously felt a little more apprehensive about travel plans.
- Teamwork. This applies to roadtrips especially – having done the whole east coast of Australia on my own, I know for a fact that you can only get so much done, and drive so far, in a day. With others, though, you can sleep near enough whenever you want and take it in turns to drive. This is a big one for getting more into the day, or for getting between places.
Thing is, though, it isn’t just what you get to see and what you experience – it’s who you experience it with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to go for a solo hike and watch the sun rise over the mountain, but sometimes, climbing the same one with others is just that bit better, and is far more memorable. The thing with travelling is that it isn’t just about making tracks over the world, it’s about making memories.