Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Traveling Alone

Daniel Drake Galan - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - When one thinks about traveling, a companion often comes to mind. Traveling alone can be lonely - even risky. Especially at great moments on a trip, it's nice to have someone - someone special especially - to share it with. 

But traveling alone can also be as meaningful - at times even more meaningful - as traveling with a special someone or a group of close friends. Many first-time solo travelers do not necessarily want to go alone - but they just couldn't find anyone who is willing to commit the time and money to spend on a trip.  Often they have already drawn a trip plan, have made initial arrangements and are just raring to go - that turning back is no longer an option.

And soon, traveling alone becomes a habit with them. And these solo travelers swear it's quite an experience, every time. The fact that there's no one to consult and adjust with is both liberating and empowering, they say.

When one travels alone, the only person he needs to worry about or please is himself.  He makes his own itinerary, sets his own schedule. He has the freedom to decide where to go and what to see, without being influenced by a travel companion's preferences.

Not everybody enjoys the same types of activities.  With a travel companion, one worries about the other fellow getting bored, or even worse, at times, he just has to miss out on an interesting spot because his travel partner is not interested in it.  One may love to go out on the beach, while the other would rather be out shopping. And one is not happy having to spend the day following someone around who is in cloud nine hunting for bargains - on a vacation!

In traveling alone, one starts to notice how he spends his days and becomes more careful in spending his time. He takes full responsibility, in the absence of outside influences or help. In the face of any problem, there's only he to solve it. He may be forced to acquire a new set of skills, like reading a map, learning about public transportation, and other practical things.

The experience of the trip is often deeper when traveling alone. As there's only the solo traveler to decide on anything prompts him to get real, to take command.  An introvert is forced to come out of his shell and open himself up to meeting new people, whether to other solo travelers or to the locals in the area. The sense of independence also makes way for the discovery of what his true interests are.

Striking up a conversation with people is a step towards boosting self-confidence. There are a lot of things to talk about: places to see, activities to do, and foods to try.  As the conversation heats up, hearing other travelers' experiences could be a rich source of ideas for possible next destinations.  Of course, interacting with new people frequently brings on new friendships.

The valuable reward of travelling alone is returning with a deep sense of accomplishment. The experience can be a source of knowledge that he brings back with him and integrates into his everyday life.



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