Who doesn't love traveling? Exploring new areas, new cultures, and making amazing memories with friends. But what happens if all of your friends are working? Or can't afford to go? Just because you don't have a travel companion, doesn't mean that should stop you from adventuring.
In the fall of 2016, I took my first solo road trip (this is not my first solo travel experience). I traveled from Calgary, AB through the States and back up again. I had no timeline, or destination in mind, I was simply following the highway winds.
More often than not, I travel alone. I work seasonally and use the shoulder season/winter season to my advantage. Most of my friends, on the other hand, work their seasonal job in the winters and can't commit to itinerary-less trips. Because of this, the biggest question I get asked while traveling is "Wait, you are traveling alone!?" Some people just cannot wrap their head around the idea of a young female traveling by herself. They think that there is this inherent danger not present when you are travelling with people. Obviously, you still have to use your common sense, but honestly in my experience people tend to be more hospitable to solo travelers (we tend to be quieter and less messy). After they get over the initial shock, the skeptics are normally quite awe-struck and envious that you had the confidence to head out on your own.
Traveling alone also allows you to see and do whatever you want, whenever you want. Countless times while traveling with friends I've been reluctant to ask them to pull over so I can take a photograph or have been outvoted on a certain activity because they like to sleep in. You don't have this issue when you are traveling alone. If I want to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning and hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, well hell, I'm going to do that.
Traveling alone also does wonders for your mental health. Travel isn't always perfect sunsets or breathtaking ridge hikes. Sometimes it's sleeping at a truck stop, or a flat tire, or getting stuck in the snow. In situations like that, when you are alone, you are forced to be self reliant. There isn't always cellphone service in the bush, so what are you going to do? Well you'll have to figure it out (unless I suppose you have resolved to become part of the wood folk). You'll be surprise what you can accomplished, when you are faced with a difficult/troubling task. And when you come out unscathed on the other side you will feel like a whole new person. You will have confidence in yourself you never thought possible.
So go out and explore the world and don't be afraid to do it alone.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.