I always thought it was weird to travel to a foreign place all alone. Be it for a weekend or a month. There was just something that made me feel uncomfortable merely thinking about it. Until I was fed up with not having a travelling partner to go to Porto with and decided to go by myself. Two simple reasons made me do it: the first was to realize that I might as well wait all my life for someone to have time to go on a trip with me and the second one was the call of adventure that did not let me miss out on super cheap flights because I was too scared to go alone.
Long story short I went to Porto. Alone.
This might seem like a nightmare to some of you but for me it was one of the best trips I had taken in a long time. And I want to give you some of the experiences I made to motivate you to also do it. To state the obvious you can do whatever the F you want to. There is no one who does not eat this or isn’t willing to stop for a fifth time in front of the famous Ponte Luís because the angle you just discovered is so much better than 50 meters earlier. I am lucky to have mostly patient friends who travel with me and are aware of my obsession with getting the perfect shot but it is still nice to not feel like a burden. Also no one was there to complain about me walking through the same neighbourhood about five times simply because I felt like I missed out on some good spots before.
As you are completely alone you can decide with whom you want to socialize and who you want to get to know. I always have the feeling that travelling as a group makes you not want to meet new people. Maybe it’s just me, but as you already have established roles in the group, it is hard to open up to other travelers. I am not trying to convince you to meet new people, if you go on a trip to be simply left alone and you just want to spent time with yourself, that’s just as fine. And I did that more than once during the trip, however I was more open to other people staying in the hostel or passing along my way and getting to know them. I met Jelle, Klartje and Leen a cool group of girs from Belgium with whom I shared more than just one funny moment and hung out, as we all have that special passion for dessert. (it does go to the heart and not straight to your hips!) But also meeting Wesley from Brazil or Suzanna (whose Korean name is not pronounceable let alone writeable for me) and hearing their stories on what brought them to Porto is something I would have probably missed out on, if I had stayed there with friends.
Another advantage is that everything is according to your own time. You are someone who likes to be at the airport 3 hours before departure even though it is the smallest airport with a maximum of 100 people boarding the flight with you? Well you go for it, there is no one going to complain about being at the airport too early or too late, if you are the opposite of what I just described. You like to have dinner at 10.30 pm? Head out for dinner at 10.30 pm and enjoy it! You won’ have anyone arguing, complaining or trying to convince you to have dinner earlier or later. It does sound selfish looking at it from this angle, but I think that it is totally fine to be selfish from time to time. That’s why it is such a relaxing feeling to go and travel the world alone.
You just found out that there is this amazing concert of one of the best local bands tonight? Buy a ticket and head there. As you are alone, last minute plans or a changes of plans are totally fine and something you would probably not do as easily when being with a group of friends or your family on a trip.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go to that place you’ve always dreamed of but never found someone to go with. For starters it does not need to be the world, go for a weekend away and see how you like it. If you’re feeling adventurous you might just go ahead and book a week or two or a month away. There are no rules, you do you is everything that counts!