If i’ve ever talked to you about traveling, you already know how much I promote for people to travel alone in their lives. Of course trips with friends are amazing and sometimes the most memorable, but how many times on those trips have you had time to think about yourself? It’s definitely a scary endeavor to take, but you can work your way up to traveling to venturing into the unknown. Last year I took trip to Japan alone, and whenever I mentioned to my friends that I was going alone, I was always confronted with the same question “Are you crazy?!”. They all had the same concerns of , 1) what will you do all by yourself, 2) I was going to get abducted traveling alone, and 3) how would I deal with the social anxiety of being seen alone. Of those three things, I think the most common one I’ve heard is that people are afraid to be seen alone doing some activity. But in reality, your friends were busy or you wanted to have a trip to have some time to yourself, and so you went out and did that. I always recommend my friends who deal with this societal pressure and anxiety to start small and work up to doing bigger activities alone and eventually you’ll be out traveling around the world with just your camera and the bag on your back.
The top 3 reasons to travel alone in my book, are really identified with the freedom and flexibility that comes with going alone.
Since you are traveling alone, you have no concerns of another to schedule your days. You want to wake up at 10am and have a slow morning to yourself, do it! If you want to wake up at 4am to drive out and take pictures of the Grand Canyon, do it! The whole point of traveling alone, is to liberate yourself from the things we owe to society and to feel free from societal responsibilities. It’s extremely liberating not being held responsible to anyone else and just focusing on your own self for once. Our daily lives are surrounded by maintaining the relationships around us, but we spend very little time in self-analyzing and self-reflecting for growth. Being on your own schedule, you are free to go capture the world as you want and all while doing some self-care!
2) Leave fear at home!
This is one of the biggest things about traveling alone, and it’s crucial to a successful trip. Leave your fears at home, as it will define how your trip goes. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, well because it’s unknown! I’m always asked if I’m scared traveling to a country where I dont know the language, and my response is always the same, “What’s the worst that can happen?”. In today’s world of technology and smartphones, it’s almost impossible to get lost or not be able to communicate with locals. If you do get lost, don’t panic, just look around, check on google where you are, and if you can find a police officer that can guide you. Don’t let fear ruin your amazing trip!
3) Meet the locals!
Get out of the bubble and say hi to a stranger (in the right setting). A lot of the times you will be visiting locations where other photographers will be visiting to capture shots, and are most likely going alone as well. So, get out and say hello to fellow photographers and make a new friend. In Japan, I was visiting popular temples in Kyoto, when I noticed another guy whom I had seen at all the other temples I had visited today. So I decided to say hello, and found out he’s from a small town in Germany and traveling alone too. We had a great chat and now I have a friend who lives in Germany, in case when I visit there. Expand your horizon’s while traveling alone and do something your usual self wouldn’t do (within limits).
As a result, by following these 3 rules while traveling alone, you will feel thrilled about the freedom and flexibility of your days on vacation. After being able to get past your inner fears and being open to embracing the location you are visiting, you can embed yourself with the locals and other travelers.
Let me know your thoughts on my top 3 list of traveling alone as a photographer.