Traveling Solo? There’s a Hiking Group Waiting For You
Henry David Thoreau once observed, “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.” Now, over 150 years later, so many contemporary travelers are planning and embarking on their own adventures that the trend has its own name: solo travel. What are the benefits of solo travel? What are these independent adventurers discovering on their explorations?
Stress reduction. With everyone so busy these days it can be exhausting just synching everyone’s schedules for a vacation. When you travel solo, the only obligations that matter are your own. Once on vacation there is no squabbling over where to go, what to do, where to eat, and so on.
Intensity of experience. On your own, you no longer worry about whether friends or family are having a good time. If you want to go further on a hike or try a hike that may be more challenging than your usual companions are accustomed to taking, go for it. With solo travel, your explorations are shaped by your desires and not diluted by “going along to get along.”
Confidence boost. In solo travel there is great self-discovery. All the decisions you make are up to you. Often you find yourself outside of your comfort zone, making calls without discussion or back-up. You rely on your own inherent problem-solving abilities. And the self-confidence you come to depend on when traveling solo often spills over into the everyday routines of your life back home.
Self-knowledge. When traveling without a familiar group you soon discover that “alone” is light years from “lonely.” Without the bombardment of stimulation from modern technology, without having to always be connected, without having to uphold your end of a conversation, solo travel allows you to spend time with you. Often times, connecting with those you don’t know helps you learn more about yourself, than being with those who already know you.
Interesting People. Finally, one of the great benefits of solo travel is the opportunity it provides to meet new people in the fascinating places you travel. With friends or family, travelers are less likely to step out beyond their social circle for assistance or companionship. Traveling solo, you are more likely to engage locals and reach out to other lone travelers like yourself to socialize and compare experiences.
It is no longer an oddity to encounter solo travelers on a group outdoor adventure. To the contrary, the diverse backgrounds and experiences of solo travelers bring an energy most welcome on any hiking or backpacking tour.