Today is my last day of a four week stint in Thailand travelling alone. Later this evening I’ll be making my way to Suvarnabhumi airport and catching the overnight flight back to London Heathrow.
Both January and February in the UK are grim months. The weather’s cold and wet, and people are miserable. London’s great when the sun is shining but it’s a different place altogether during the winter. I prefer to leave for warmer climates during these months.
I travelled alone. Most people I know are tied to their jobs so only have an allocated number of days they can take off. Many of my friends have partners and kids so they usually allocate this precious time with them.
That’s not the life for me.
Over the years I have travelled alone either for pleasure or work on many occasions. My personality is more aligned with a sigma male than any other archetype. Travelling alone has never been a problem for me.
Over the years I’ve travelled to Russia, Cyprus, Greece, Thailand, France, Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Brazil, Dubai and the U.S. alone.
This year I plan to visit a lot more countries. Again I’ll be travelling alone. No biggie.
Depending on the company I usually prefer to travel alone. I don’t have a problem travelling with other people and have travelled with girls and mates on holidays and stag dos many times.
Enjoying being alone is vital for your own masculinity and how you move through this world.
I know a lot of men who have never travelled – at least not to any extent – by themselves. They’ve always had either their mates or wives and kids in tow.
They never had that call to go and explore. That ‘this is all on me’ feeling where they return after having the time of their lives and thanked themselves for it.
Travelling alone gives you more confidence and self-reliance. Most importantly it is vital to build your character.
You’ll get to know yourself better
Spending long periods of time by yourself in unfamiliar countries will put you in situations where you’ll get to know yourself more. Some more dangerous than others.
I’ve had an axe pulled out on me in Thailand, a guy in Lithuania tried to jump me and Cyprus I got set upon by two drunken English youths.
I caught a flight from Romania to Bulgaria in some kind of pre-communist beat up propeller plane which I was sure was going to crash.
The point is I was in situations where there was some kind of danger which were ultimately down to me to get myself out of. These types of situations allow you to see first hand how you’ll react to a given situation.
Periods of getting to know yourself don’t have to be during dangerous situations. The periods of solitude will allow you to reflect on the past and consider the future.
You’ll meet new people from around the world
In the past I’ve travelled with friends and we generally stay in our own bubble. When you’re with people you like you don’t feel the need to go through the process of getting to know strangers. Excluding attractive females.
Unless you’re a complete introvert, travelling alone forces you to interact with new people by striking up conversations with random strangers. Sometimes those strangers become friends.
Throughout the years I’ve travelled I’ve met new friends along the way. Some of which I still class as friends today.
The world is getting smaller and more competitive. The more you understand other nationalities and cultures the better you can navigate through it.
Every mistake you make is yours
Went at the wrong time of year? Your fault. Picked the wrong city? Your fault. Don’t know where you are at 3am in a drunken stupor? Your fault.
Over the years I’ve found myself in a few predicaments.
- I’ve gotten all the way to the departure gate at 1am in a Cyprus airport to find out my flight wasn’t until the following day
- Arrived at Gatwick airport only to check my itinerary to see I was flying from Stansted
- Flown all the way to Prague only to be stood up by Maxim magazine’s Miss Czech Republic (a story for another day)
- I’ve even arrived at the Cambodian border without a tourist visa. Thankfully Cambodian border officials are not averse to a little bribery
When you travel alone every mistake made is yours. You have to own it and more importantly learn from it. Trust me, every time I go for a flight I triple check to see if I have the correct date and departure airport.
Equally, every success is yours too. When you make the right moves, go to the right places and discover new things you can thank yourself for it.
You’ll experience things you otherwise may not
I have friends whose idea of holiday travel is to get drunk for pretty much the duration of it. A fortnight away with the lads consists of all day and all night drinking with little time to explore and learn about the place we’re in.
When I was younger I was more about that life. Now I find it boring. It’s the male equivalent of being a basic bitch.
If you depend on other people to travel you’ll miss out on doing the things you want to do. You won’t be blindly lead by the group to engage in activities that don’t appeal to you.
Find you call to adventure and go travelling alone.
Even if you’re married and have kids you should allocate a chunk of time to go off and explore by yourself. It will give you time to check into your life, think, reflect and appreciate what you have. If your partner “won’t allow” then I’m sorry for you.
Most people fear being alone regardless if they’re travelling or not. It takes an inner confidence to decide to pack your bag and explore a new country. I have nothing but respect for women who travel alone to countries outside of the Western world where there is more chance of danger.
Like them you should find the call to adventure. It’s part of rekindling that warrior spirit people often lose as they age, learning to be self-reliant in unfamiliar places and ultimately about building your character.