As you may know if you have followed me for a while, I am quite a well travelled person, considering I am still quite young, I can count on two hands, all the different countries I have been too and if we count the amount of times I have been to that country as well? The list grows a lot more…
In October 2015 me and my family took a trip to Malta, a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea that is literally the size of London. Yes you read that right, if you really felt like it and could handle the heat, you could walk from one side of the island to the other!
It is on this trip that I finally realised I wanted to travel, now, don’t be misunderstood, my dream of travelling was developed long before October 2015, but this was the time when I knew I wanted to do it, I needed to do it and it needed to be soon. Not long after, I booked my flight to New York, I have visited two times before but never on my own, I will be going in August this year (2016) and to say I am excited but nervous would be the understatement of the century. However very recently – I’m talking two weeks ago recently – I took another trip to Malta for 6 days.
I did this for many reasons, I wanted to return and experience the real Malta, I have family there, my family is from there and the bluntness of the people makes me feel at home and a lot less rude. I also wanted to clear my head… big time… you don’t realise how many things are bouncing of the walls of your brain until you really sit down to sift through all of these thoughts and find yourself wanting to make a list just so you can actually manage to do it! Malta helped me to sift through each thought, especially going on my own, I could walk along mindlessly in my own world for hours and not have to worry about leaving anyone behind. Suffice to say there are a lot of reasons as to why I wanted to return to Malta but the main one is because I wanted to do it on my own. Before I went off and took an 8 hour flight to the big bad city that never sleeps I wanted to experience an airport on my own and boy am I glad I did it… turns out, its not that bad!
But this brings me onto our list of reasons why you should travel… on your own…
It builds up your confidence BIG TIME, it was so nice to walk around a new country (sort of) and know that I got myself there… my mum didn’t pay for the ticket, I didn’t have anyone babysit me through the airport, I was getting from place to place by myself. This helped me realise that I’m not completely useless, I don’t need to rely on other people to get me where I want to go, I can do it myself.
It’s peaceful. Travelling with other people is fun, you can experience things together, create inside jokes, have a better relationship with that person because you would have bonded a LOT. But travelling on your own?! I previously mentioned that I was able to walk along in my own world for hours and not worry about who is next to me and how they feel about what we are doing… this was one of the BEST things about my trip! I ate when I wanted to eat, I slept when I needed to, I went out when I wanted to and once I was out I could stop if I had to, I could take a picture of this and that without having to run to catch up after someone else, I was completely free. I certainly don’t suggest you spend weeks on end on your own because you’ll miss sharing the experiences with others, but it was so nice for me personally to just be in my own head for a little while each day and do whatever the hell I wanted.
You meet people! When you travel with someone else you become wrapped up in your own world and what the two of you (or three of you.. or four etc etc) are doing and talking about… which is totally okay, but I wouldn’t have had the same experience with another person as I did on my own. Here’s why; on the plane going to Malta I sat next to two old ladies, at first I felt awkward and didn’t know what to say until they pulled out their ipads put in their headphones and watched tv/listened to music, after that one of them was having trouble with how to put airplane mode on so I showed her the quicker way. She was very thankful, the rest of the flight was a lot less awkward and we offered each other sweets, then when it came to landing we finally had the “where are you staying/ why are you here” conversation and I found out all kinds of things about them, I wouldn’t have done this if someone I knew was sitting next to me. Another example was when I got lost… (I did this quite a few times and found myself worrying about how relaxed I was!) instead of complaining to my companion about how neither of us knew where we were going, I asked the locals, I made friends, I was guided, one old man in particular made the bus driver stop in between where he was supposed to because he saw me realise I’d missed my stop because I was trying to sort out my bag… all of these things wouldn’t have happened if I’d have had someone with me.
You’ll get lost! Now some of you will read that and think “nuh-uh” total deal breaker! But just because you travel alone doesn’t mean you will get lost… I just so happened to, and trust me, if you care that much about getting lost, you wont let yourself! But I did get lost. Several times, it doesn’t help that every where looks the same in Malta!! But getting lost ended up being my favourite thing to do, I kept my back pack topped up with water and snacks and of course my cameras and off I went, which made it really easy to not worry… at the end of the day I had Google maps if I wanted to rock up a big phone bill but… I didn’t need it and I found some amazing places that I definitely wouldn’t have found if I’d have kept to the roads and paths I was supposed to!
When you go alone it lasts longer! For me personally, going alone made the 6 days I was away from everyone I know pass by a lot slower than it does when your busy not paying attention with friends, I enjoy it both ways, but soaking it all up meant I didn’t actually have to leave for a longer amount of time to enjoy it and when I came home I hadn’t missed much!
You’ll come away feeling fantastic! My flight home from Malta was very mixed with emotions, I was ridiculously excited to see my family (because I felt like I’d been away for years!!) but I was also sad to be leaving the sun and palm trees behind. When I got home I realised how great it was to go away, I love the feeling of actually being back home, it is the point where you know you have all of these amazing memories and accomplishments that you managed all by yourself, but you’re also now surrounded by your family.
That’s my sill little ol’ opinion anyway… let me know what you think and if you would ever consider travelling alone! Remember, work hard, have fun, make a difference! -Jess.