Traveling Solo: The Pros and Cons
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At any point in life, undertaking something alone can be nerve wracking and downright challenging. Traveling abroad is one of those things. Everyone talks about it–whenever this or that happens, I’m going to travel the
world. Well, now’s the time. How do you travel solo, especially abroad?
Eileen Powers, the now retired headmistress of Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans, often went on trips abroad with her family. Now divorced and with her children all grown up, she realized her love of traveling and wanted to continue seeing the world, even if she was just exploring on her own. Her first trip was to Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia, with a group of school heads.
After this trip, she visited Bhutan, then tacked on another trip to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Despite being with guides and drivers, she was truly alone.
So, how do you combat loneliness? Eileen notes that the one time she felt lonely was during a trip to Hawaii when an earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami. While surrounded by other evacuees, she had no one she knew to find
“You’re trying very hard to not be lonely because it’s something you’ve elected to do, but if there is a crisis of some sort, then you get a little bit annoyed at being alone. We like to share crises with other people,” says Powers.
However, there are plenty of pros to keep in mind. On trips, Eileen has the freedom to choose her itinerary and change her plans whenever she likes. Traveling alone helps you immerse yourself in foreign culture and enrich your life through an experience that is truly your own.
Maybe you would like to join a group instead of going by yourself entirely. Travel agencies are a great place to start. Eileen herself went on a safari through Abercrombie & Kent, a travel company, and a women-only trip to Iran through the same travel agent for her Myanmar trip.
For first-time travelers, Eileen offered some solid advice:
Travel light. Go with a sense of adventure. Don’t panic when you miss a plane or get lost. Most people abroad speak English, so you can get help. Alone time isn’t bad; it helps you process what happened that day and plan for the next.
Eileen thinks that everyone should get out of their comfort zone and travel as much as they can.
“I believe traveling is the most educational thing you can do. You learn more from being in another culture than you learn from anything else. Most importantly, take it as an adventure. Each place presents its challenges and you’ll always be fascinated by what you find out,” advises Powers.
[vc_separator][vc_column_text]By Sarah Batrous