Solo or Companion Travel

I have had the good fortune to have traveled alone when I was single to now with my wife.  Looking back now, I don't think I would enjoy long term travel as a solo person.  OK, with that established, I wanted to delve into what it was like to have done both of these experiences with the hope that others will provide feedback on their travel outlook.

When I was traveling and for a while lived in Alaska to being in Central America and Europe by myself, one inevitably is responsible for their day to day decisions and has the freedom to decide on how they choose their day.  This is a great thing because you have no one to answer to but yourself and at the same time allowing for flexibility to change your mind as you go along.  Hey if you decide to hang out with another traveler or go hiking instead of touring the city, we'll you can.  This is both great and sometimes bad, for example, I can be somewhat indecisive at time, so having too many options means I revert to doing what I enjoy the most, which is usually the outdoors and miss out on cultural aspects of my travels.  Another thing I notice is that I have a tendency to get lazy, especially after long bus rides and having to deal with the constant decision making of finding food, lodging, planning for the trip, money issues, etc so will often times either sleep in or cancel my plans made the previous day.  Again, I would finish up my trip not having been to places that I wanted to go. 

Now, I am all for flexibility and know how important this is, especially traveling in foreign lands where the things you expect, don't usually materialize.  I am OK accepting things outside my control but felt I wasn't pushing myself hard enough or giving into doing things for others, so while no regrets, felt I needed to better manage myself.

If you've guessed it you're right, this section is about traveling as couple and how different it was.  Let me start by saying that while I enjoyed my solo travels, traveling with my wife opened a whole new set of experiences, one of the major ones being that we had only been married barely a year and so the chance to spend almost every moment together was the best way to establish a relationship.  The great thing about having a companion was that I never needed to rely on anyone else to share or do anything, I know this is obvious but having constant company was energizing for an extrovert like me.  I can also be a bit shy sometimes when it comes to communicating in foreign languages, so again having my wife laughing or smiling as I attempted to utter a few broken phrases was also a great ice breaker and acceptance that I wasn't alone in looking like a fool.  As I alluded to earlier, I can be lazy, but Sabeen had a drive to keep us to our commitments, such as after hellish bus, ferry, trains, and car rides.  When I would complain and later realize, I was glad for having done the things we wanted to do and had a chance to encounter something else.  It was also good to divide up the tasks.  We agreed on the countries that we wanted to visit but once we arrived, Sabeen had far superior skills at reading maps, so she took the lead in planning once we arrived.  I would do the research on places to stay and she would figure out how to get us there.

I also think having another person balances your outlook on things, for example its easy to become desensitized and lose the excitement of traveling, especially when you have been doing it long term and it starts to look like work.  You need the other person to tell you to slow down or enjoy the moment, without constantly feeling like you need to be someplace.  It was great to meet other travelers and have a chance to express yourself to someone else because having constant companionship, you get to know each other sometimes too well and end up doing non-verbal communication or you end up talking about a lot of the same topics.

Despite this, we met more solo travelers, especially females, so it doesn't really matter.  What's important is that if you have an interest than you do it.

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