I really do think that the myth of travelling alone is too dangerous has really passed, or at least it has in my books. After moving abroad to become a teacher, I had many weeks off which I always chose to fill by travelling. Coming from Canada, I could never let a moment pass of my free time where I didn’t choose to explore a new country. I decided to gain experiences instead of money, and it was the best option for me.
When I first arrived, I knew one person, so when I started to travel and to book trips, I realised that some of them would be on my own. Don’t get me wrong, at first I contemplated doing these trips with the constant questions of, ‘What would I do at night? Will I be lonely? Will I feel unsafe?’ But all of these questions were just my uneasy way of thinking. I guess I never really thought about the positives of travelling alone, instead I was making a list of the cons.
My first trip abroad, I went to Copenhagen and Ireland. I will admit, when I first arrived in Copenhagen, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, but quickly upon my arrival I told myself to act quick and just do something to keep me occupied. When I arrived, I went down the bar, brought my phone and grabbed a beer, and although I was sitting alone, I was able to just relax and watch the atmosphere around me. I realised that people watching is quite a valuable aspect of travelling. Your surrounded by culture and other travellers that can teach you more than you know. As the days continued, I began to do things on my own. I did a lot of sightseeing and I found myself walking around aimlessly without any type of plan or direction of where I was going, it was absolutely fantastic. For once, I was not concerned about my fellow travellers, what their plans or budgets were. It was a liberating feeling to be experiencing these things all on my own.
Ireland seemed to be a bit easier to meet new people. As soon as I arrived in Ireland (10pm on a Monday night) my first walk down the Dublin streets, all I could see were people drinking, dancing and singing in every pub on the corner. I quickly got to my hostel and dropped my bags and made it to the first bar I saw that was busy. After having one drink I was quickly socializing with everyone in the bar, and at the end of the night meeting more people at the hostel. It seemed like an easier country to travel because of its ‘small town vibe’ atmosphere.
If you want to meet new people, my suggestions would be to join walking tours, hostel events and pub crawls. If you are willing to be confident enough to strike a conversation, you will come out of these events with a friend or two. The biggest aspect of travelling alone that I enjoyed was the fact that I was more open to learning and exploring more around each city and also open to the idea of talking and getting to know fellow travellers. It’s lovely to be able to travel with your friends, but also a treat to share your travels with people who love to travel just as much as you do! Let's face it, when you travel alone, are you really travelling alone?