One of the great debates on the travel agenda; do you go solo or bring a mate? Or maybe you go all out and take a troupe. And the dog. maybe the kitchen sink. In the end, it all depends on what you want to get out of the experience, and who you are as a person.
On my first big adventure, i took a friend. As a girl just out of school, everyone agreed it would be ‘safer’. For me, i felt perfectly safe, but i liked the idea of the company, the soundboard, the familiar amongst the strange. I felt more confident in myself. When things went wrong, at least someone else was right there in the wrongness with you too. It is also really handy if you want a picture taken of you and you really don’t want to stand there with a selfie stick smiling vapidly up your right arm. As we had many similar interests and wishes, we never really had to compromise on where we went or what we did while we were travelling, because we both wanted to go to similar places or had certain things on our bucket list that matched. If you do take a friend, make sure you are both on the same page or are prepared to compromise, otherwise you may as well say goodbye to each other at the airport.
On my first solo adventure, i learnt more about myself. As a self confessed introvert when confronted with strangers, it brought me out my shell and forced me to really engage with my surroundings, no excuses. I found i had a great knack for getting to where i needed to go with fairly minimal drama, and also that when push came to shove, i could actually talk to those scary strangers like friends immediately rather than after two days of meek getting-to-know-you-because -i-am-shy periods. I avoided the dreaded single supplement charges by staying in hostel dorms, and that really is the best way to find like minded people. I think my dorm record was a 64 bed dorm on a remote island in Fiji, though i was more amazed by the lack of walls on the place; bed with a view took a whole new meaning! Travelling solo then, is more of an internal voyage as much as it is external. There is a reason why they say travel paves the way to self comprehension.
My first trip with a group was a girls holiday. In this type of trip, expect to learn nothing except how much you love (or possibly hate) your friends. While there may be little chance that the itinerary will include everything you want to do (if it gets further than sleep = day, night = party then as a whole, your group are doing pretty well) a group holiday is also an experience you will never forget. While you may have less memories of the places you visited, you will have memories with your friends to last you a lifetime, and that can be as valuable as the travel itself. Group discounts are also pretty cool.
Unfortunately, i have never travelled with a dog, or a kitchen sink. Maybe then, that shall be my next adventure, visiting lands unknown with trusty fido and a Volkswagen with a working sink. All i would need is my surfboard, and maybe a friend. In the end, any form of travel broadens the mind, and creates a different set of memories and experiences that you will cherish for years to come. Whichever you choose, don’t be put off any option by other people’s opinions or media sensationalism. Travelling with a friend will not always end in fights and squabbles and a lack of self realisation. Travelling alone will not always end with you being mugged in an alley or sitting in your hotel room alone at a loss of what to do, indeed people will never fail to surprise you with how genuinely good and kind they are. Finally, travelling as a group will not always end up in drunken debauchery (though it probably is more likely). Every trip is unique, as is every person, so go out, be unique, and stay awesome.
See you tomorrow adventurers,
Emily Jemma and Fido (still working on the kitchen sink)