Travelling Alone and Why You Should Do It!
Translated by Elisavet Kechagia
Based on the original article in Greek by Μάριος Κωστόπουλος
College, work, adult responsibilities, routine. Who doesn’t want to break free from all these at some point in their life? To take a break from the race for survival in the modern urban jungle? Naturally, picking a course of action is completely subjective. But one should stop and wonder: Is there a better way of making your escape than travelling abroad? Be it part of your ERASMUS life, an activity of a group or an organization that you volunteer in, or your own decision to use your vacation leave in this fashion, travelling is priceless (even though the prices are not less).
The matter in question is, however, whether you would travel on your own. And before objecting without a second thought, I know that crossing the known borders to seek peace in foreign lands is an experience to be shared with someone close to you. But you shouldn’t underestimate what a solitary experience can offer you. The goal of this article is to prove that travelling alone is equally important to traveling with company…if not more.
First of all, even though we are all equal, we are not the same, a truth more or less known. The sooner you realize that this also applies to important events such as travelling, the better off you are to travelling alone. Few of the disagreements that might emerge while travelling with company include disagreements on money spending, travelling fashion and location. Even if they are avoided, there is still a chance that you are a morning, carpe-diem kind of person, when your friend cannot think straight before lunch time. While these disagreements may seem mild, especially when contrasted to the appeal of the foreign, they could in numbers turn a lifetime experience into an average event. Instead of compromising, choose a destination that intrigues you and live your solo adventure to the fullest.
Secondly, give yourself enough space to broaden your horizons by meeting a culture different than yours. Meeting the customs, traditions, opinions, tendencies, the ideology and in general the different world view of such a culture, can only be achieved through interacting with its people. There is no denying that we tend to socialize differently on our own than in the face of company, without exception. So do not lose the opportunity to develop your personality, and maybe even change your beliefs for the better.
Also push yourself to the limit, mostly psychologically. Will you make it on your own in a country a hundred miles away from yours? Will you stand up for the challenge, or leave on the next plane petrified? In case you have never lived alone, it is understandable to want to back down with no parents around at a one hour distance, but at the same time it is a great step towards becoming independent. There is no better way to do so than making your own schedule, be it about the sightseeing for the day, or selecting tonight’s dinner. Seize the opportunity to see whether you are capable of adapting to foreign conditions, all the more in an environment where your only concerns will be the basics such as eating, staying hydrated and bathing regularly, unlike the constant pressure of keeping up with the university’s deadlines so as to make it up to your parents for (financially) supporting you all the way. Do not allow the illusion of loneliness in a foreign country get to you, for you are equipped with everything you need to have a memorable experience.
And do not be afraid of being on your own for a while, of creating new experiences and memories, of relaxing, educating yourself and socializing, all the while making sense of it all. In other words, do not be afraid of becoming better human beings. And all you need to do is simply travel abroad on your own. Take it as a cathartic experience that will make you see the grim reality under a different light. Besides, as Miguel De Unamuno states, if fascism is cured by reading and racism is cured by travelling, imagine what is to be gained from a journey abroad on your own once you are already human.