The benefits of traveling solo

Last night, I was talking to a friend who told me he had a non-refundable round-trip plane ticket to Madrid. I asked him when he was going, and he said, “Well, it depends if I can find someone to go with me. I just don’t want to go alone.”

I did my best to convince him of the merits of solo travel: the freedom it allows, the way it forces you to be outgoing and meet people, its uncanny ability for helping you discover more about yourself. I made some headway in my argument, and by the end of the night, he seemed convinced that, if it came to it, he would go by himself.

For anyone else who is deciding whether solo travel is right for them, Michaela Lola of Brave New Traveler has a thoughtful new article, “Solo Travel: 6 Reasons to Wander Alone” in which she makes a compelling argument for flying solo. The article hits all the standard reasons– setting your own schedule, enjoying complete freedom, taking on a challenge– and it also elucidates perfectly what I have always thought is one of the most important reasons to go it alone:

“[P]acks and pairs of backpackers seemed to be surrounded by an “invisible shield” – a force field that appeared impenetrable and intimidating to fellow travelers and locals. It was as though they had a sign stating Do Not Approach in bold, neon lights.”

Check out the full article here.