“But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to…nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?” (Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat Pray Love.)
So often, when sharing a meal or a drink with friends, our conversations turn to talk of the trips we’ve been on and the memories we’ve cultivated during these journeys. Most often, people go on trips with another person: a spouse, a partner, a lover, a friend, a family member, or in a group of fellow like-minded travelers. But I find some of the most interesting stories my friends have shared about traveling—and the most compelling memories I have about the trips I’ve been on – centre around travels embarked upon alone. Certainly, traveling solo isn’t easy. It can be daunting, and lonely, and challenging on many levels. But it can also be rewarding, and an opportunity to learn lessons about oneself and become more comfortable being alone – an important life skill.
Do you agree? Have you ever taken a trip alone, and if so, in what way was it memorable? If you haven’t, have you ever entertained the idea of traveling alone?
I agree, think taking a trip alone can be quite interesting. You learn a lot about yourself and you’re forced to try things on your own without the help or advice of anyone else.
On the one hand you can do whatever you like, and on the other, you can take time for yourself to relax and breathe. I’ve always been of the mindset that everyone should relish in some “alone time.”
I’m fortunate enough to go on a lot of business trips, which affords me the opportunity to explore new cities. I love learning something new so that I can go back and tell my family and friends of my new experiences—especially those which force me to learn a city’s subway system. It can be scary but I get such a rush! It always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and makes me feel as though I am worldly.
I would absolutely love to go on a trip alone, although I think I would be scared. It’s intimidating being alone in a different country, city or any place where you’re not familiar with. I think I would have a lot of trouble going off on my own only because every vacation I’ve been on has been with a big group of people, couples and my boyfriend and I. I think I’d rather experience someplace new with someone else than have to experience it on my own. Although this book has really made me think that if the opportunity arises I would snatch it in a second and record everything about it. I think if you have the chance to go somewhere just do it cause you never know if you’ll regret it.
I went to Australia on my own as my first trip as an adult. It was a great time. I had the freedom to go anywhere I wanted and was lucky to meet lots of nice people along the way. I was gone for 1 month and had nothing but wonderfully happy experiences. It gave me the confidence to travel alone and visit other exotic locations.
I have never traveled alone but I have considered it quite a bit. I tend to be a very independent person and I enjoy my alone time so I can imagine that I would love to travel alone. My only worries would be my safety and also getting lonely but I think if the proper planning is done to ensure that I always have something on my itinerary and am keeping busy in secure places, then it would definitely work out!
It’s been years since I was travelling alone but it certianly helped me grow as a person. You don’t rely on any partner you may be traveling with and are more apt to meet the people from the place you’re visitiing. It’s amazing how little it takes to have a complete stranger open up to you because you’re a visitor and took the time to ask a simple question. I had one women who turned around and walked with me for a half hour getting me to where I needed to be. I encourage anyone who’s thought of taking a trip by themselves to go for it – you’ll never regret it!
Travelling alone you are forced to immerse yourself in the environment and have a more direct contact. I have done a lot of travelling with friends, where I found I was sometimes more of just an absorber. Other trips in which I travelled alone, to places such as Paris, I found myself wanting to explore the life of the locals. My favorite thing to do was to wander residential neighbours, and sit in Parks.
I’m sure traveling alone could be very interesting. It’s a chance for you to indulge yourself. You can do what you want, when you want. You’d learn alot about yourself. For myself though, I’m not so sure it would be for me. I live alone, have for many years. I’ve never traveled so I think I would prefer to experience my first trip with someone.
I’ve been on a few trips solo and, although I was scared out of my mind before embarking on these trips, I’m definitely glad I did it! It forced me out of my comfort zone, gave me confidence to know I could rely on myself during the trip and in the future, it allowed me to be selfish and see, go, do whatever I pleased whenever I pleased without consulting someone first, and forced me to talk to strangers when I got a little bored of all the “me” time. Would I do it again? I’d probably be a little nervous about it, but absolutely!
I have never taken a trip by myself and the idea both scares and excites me. I have always had people around to help me out and to root me on and to be that shoulder to lean on. Although I consider myself to be an independent woman and definitely am on many levels, I question sometimes if I would really be able to venture off and survive on my own in an environment that is completely foreign to me.
With that said, I am planning a year-long trip for my 30th birthday. Call it the 30 year- life crisis or whatever you want but during this trip, I plan to explore the world, try new things and add to my “life resume”. As I am currently at a stage in my life that allows me this opportunity, I am going to face my fears and challenge myself in more ways that I’ve ever challenged myself before. I hope to come back a more well rounded person and at the same time know that at the back of my mind, I accomplished something that so many fear of doing.
I have never taken a trip alone as I prefer to go with my family. However, I do not think it would be a bad idea once in ones lifetime. Please enter my name in the draw for the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
Hi Barbara, a trip alone once in a while could be an adventure! Even if it’s for one night!
You’ll be automatically entered for our advance screening for your participation. Thanks, and keep commenting!
I agree traveling alone can be very refreshing given the fact that when you are on your own you tend to see many a thing that might be missed with casual banter from a traveling companion. I have traveled on my own and found it quite refreshing to take in the sights and sounds of unfamiliar places and meet strangers that might just be friends in a everyday world.
From a very small town at a very young age, I wanted to hop on a bus and take of to see the world! I’ve travelled across Canada by myself on trains, planes, buses, motorcycles and automobiles and always enjoyed the journey just as much as the destination! I always feel like there should be background music playing as I enter each town or city with the lights so bright or the mountains in the background. I’ve flown above the clouds and in the middle of snow flurries. I’ve been on a bus that couldn’t move forward any further because it was impossible to see anything through the snow! I’ve seen glacier lakes from high above and they were the bluest blue! I almost climbed over a stranger who was sitting in the window seat once when I was flying because it was my first time seeing the mountains! But the most incredible feeling of all was driving into the Canadian Rockies for the first time! I felt like I should be dancing along the highway instead of driving! Mother Nature threw me off guard with the sheer size of it all and they’re not even close to being the tallest in the world! When my daughter saw the preview for Eat, Pray, Love, she sent me a text message that said: “Momma! We HAVE to see Eat, Pray, Love together! That’ll be YOU someday!” I’ve never been to Europe, but my dog-eared copy of Eat, Pray, Love is telling me I will be there someday soon!
I went to the Turks and Caicos Islands by my self this past March.
It is pure luxury to swim in an ocean as turquoise blue as that one was, watching the sun go down, staying as long as you like, reveling in the white sands with no one one rushing you to go for dinner, just doing what you like when you like how you like, and not having a care in the world ( except from the local boys wanting to be “your friend” ) lol.
Eating a delicious chocolate brownie, sitting on the pier under the moonlit starry caribbean sky with the trade winds brushing your face… talk about stress relief. Heavenly!!
It was the most wonderful time, meeting different locals, taking in the sights, not having to worry about any one or anything. Sometimes it is the only way to go.
I have never travelled alone, but I think it would definitely be a great experience! It would force me to be more independent and forced in some situations I may not be used to.
This is my dream life…I have travelled but I’ve never actually taken the chance for me…it’s something I totally lack and really require is some time to just take for me and not worry about relationships and just focus. A true inspiration and one day … hopefully I will get this opportunity!
I really haven’t been able to take a trip alone? I’ve been told that I am guilty of NOT taking ” me time,” so I’m not sure exactly what I would do? Actually, come to think of it…I haven’t gone on a trip requiring airfare since I was 20 years old and that was with my mother, grandmother, and aunt to Florida (24 years ago and I ended up with food poisoning???). My last one-day trip was to Montreal,QC on the train with my fiance and 2 of our 6 kids. My fiance and his son had never been to Montreal or even on a VIA train! It was cold and rainy but we have great memories! All in all, I must say that my one escape now is found at home when the house settles down especially our 5 month old son I slide into our “new” roman bathtub, (“new” ’cause we just moved in last month) and I soak with my peppermint bath and shower gel…ooohhhhhh…that’s what I would have to say is the closest experience to taking a trip alone…an all-inclusive without the worries of packing/lost luggage/$/reservations/daycare…all is taken care of from the comfort of my home…and that’s what family life is all about and I wouldn’t change a thing!!! Thanks to everyone for reading this…I’m going to take a bath! 🙂
I’m on a trip as I right this blog. It wasn’t planned, it’s not a vacation, but I’ve been traveling since last fall. I find myself encountering experiences and people who are changing my perspective and helping me to heal while I find a new home. To tell you my whole story would probably take up a novel so I will only say that last year I lost my spouse and my dearest cousin to cancer. I hadn’t worked regularly for 3 years since my spouse was diagnosed. Then I was rendered homeless after a botched up engagement. (Wrong decisions…grasping at straws for happiness after so much sadness.) I spent the winter staying with my sister after a bout of the H1N1 flu made me very weak and unable to work. Then, a couple of months ago I returned to this place to finalize some estate matters over my cousin and I was offered a summer job. Since then I stayed with a girl who only ever met me once before she offered me a room in her home. She was one of the most fascinating people I’ve had the privilege to get to know. Then I stayed with a co-worker, who gave up his room for me to sleep in until I found a place to board for the summer. So now I am staying with a very nice retired couple who are showing me the value of living a committed, loving lifestyle while surrounding themselves with family and friends and the community they love… and scouts….lots of scouts. Mr. P loves to play old country music over loud speakers on his property from 8am until dusk. I had forgotten how much I love that old country sound. Come September I will travel west and return to university for a one-year post-graduate program. I’m hoping that it will help me find a job…and a new home. Who knows what will happen after April of next year… In the meantime, I am traveling and never really knowing where I’ll be staying next or what will become of me and my future. I am 40-something…. Starting over… No fixed address… On my way to who knows… But it’s a trip. So far I’ve found people I’ve encountered along the way to be very kind, accommodating and uplifting to the spirit. Thank you to them, to my friend Father Bob (who knows a good spirit when he sees one – even if it is beaten up a bit) and to those I meet in my future. And thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert, who has been here and has made it out on the other side. You are my mentor…figuratively speaking.
I have not taken a trip by myself … but there are times when being alone would have its advantages. The closest I have even had was a business trip but it was only one night. p
Yes, once …I thought I just needed to escape, I waited for years for some friends to save up for a trip to Austrailia .. it never happened, so I had saved …booked the flight and went. I was terrified, but I forced my self to go through airports, arrive at my one destination and end up in another. I am extremely scared of heights so I forced my self to bungee jump, did it. I managed to learn to trust my self, use my common sense, gut feels and stick to my plan. Instead of being lonely, I said hello to someone. I was amazed at the beauty of Australia and am so happy I did it on my own. I saw everything I wanted to see …and have never had a regret.
Traveling alone is such a pleasure for me because I like my time away from home to be unstructured. I can’t absorb all that I want from just a few hours in a museum or gallery, so I like to have the freedom to go back the next day, and the day after, and even the day after that if that’s what it takes. I love to walk everywhere and take lots of pictures, talk with locals, eat when I’m hungry and sleep when I’m tired. Traveling alone has allowed me to read John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row on Cannery Row, attend a birthday celebration for Buddha, participate in peaceful protests, spend hours in used book stores, stay up all night in a park talking with people I meet, and to explore a place in ways that can be hard to share with even the most tolerant traveling companion.
Before I went on my exchange studies to S. Korea for four months I didn’t understand how people can “love” to travel. I didn’t get it. But after meeting so many different people from such different backgrounds, I understand now that when you travel, you’re not just going to a destination but experiencing a whole new way of life. My friend who went on exchange with me from Canada put it best, “though we are here in S. Korea for exchange, we are really on a ‘world’ exchange”. We met so many people from different parts of the world that each of them in one way or another opened my eyes and mind to something new.
Prior to my exchange, the way I viewed life was one dimensional. I was so caught up in the “path” of life that I was completely ignorant of all the different possibilities out there. I learned how to take a step back or a step off the most traveled route to discover my own way. I thank all the friends and people I met and crossed path with on that exchange trip. It definitely transformed me.
I agree that learning to be alone is an important life skill. Not all the time ofcourse. I have come across so many needy people in my life who seem to be so uncomfortable by themselves. Sometimes this leads to being with the wrong partner or for the wrong reasons if you know what I mean.
I would love to have my name entered for the draw for this movie Eat, Pray, Love.How do I enter?????
Hi Cindy, thanks for commenting. I hope you get a chance to get away by yourself–even if it’s for just one night…and a bit of shopping of course!
Because you’ve joined our discussion, you’ll automatically be entered for our advance screening!
Going on a trip on your own is not the usual thing to do, often these memeories are meant to be shared with someone. A trip on your own allows you to seek out who you really are, what kind of person you are, allows a different kind of freedom. You’re forced to do things and make decisions on your own that you may not otherwise do…Makes you more of a risk taker…which can be fun and scarry all at the same time. 😉
I have never travelled alone, however, watching previews for “Eat, Love Pray” has made me start thinking about it. I wonder if I would be brave and adventurous enough to do it. I certainly love it when my family all go their separate ways and leave me home for a weekend. So, maybe I could do it…
I headed down to the States one summer weekend intending to camp and go shopping. I was held up at the border for two hours while they searched my car (I think they thought I was suspicious because I was going alone) and by the time I reached my destination it was dark. So instead of camping, I parked on the side of the road near a church and slept in my car. The next day I spent so much money shopping I didn’t have enough left for a campground so I slept in my car again. I enjoyed the freedom to do as I pleased, when I wanted…and brushing my teeth in the morning in the McDonald’s bathroom was okay too.
Have done a few solo trips. It’s quite fun as one is more willing to meet other travelers along the way, as opposed to when you are traveling with your friends or family. In my experience, friendship has developed for some of the people that I met in my travel, even though they may be in another country. In some cases, I’ve met these new friends in person again – in a different country! I often get invitations to visit them too.
my first trip completely alone was for business; it was to ottawa (i’m in vancouver) so this was my first trip alone and to a place i’ve never been to be with people i’ve never met; crazy but that’s business
after the uneventful airplane ride and getting to the hotel in one piece everything else fell into place; i was glad to get home though; the next time i had to do the same trip in two years it was much easier and i enjoyed it more even if i was in a different area
i’ll never forget to make the suggestion or remind myself that if i’m going to go walking change into comfortable shoes; man my feet were sore from sightseeing in business high heels; i usually wear runners or walkers
I’ve only traveled alone for business & knowing that I had a destination to arrive to was what calmed my nerves. Or I’ve traveled alone from home to the destination, only to meet up with a friend. I have a hard time just “wandering”, even if it’s just to go shopping in my own city. Not that I don’t enjoy my own company but I find traveling with another person is so much more satisfying & less scary when you get lost. So no I don’t think I would consider traveling on my own … hopefully, one day, I’ll have a permanent partner to do that rather than always asking others.
As someone who constantly travels alone for business I can a test to the fact that sometimes it is nice just to be on your own for a day or two. I love being with my family, but it helps to have that quiet time to yourself – be it on a plane, or a hotel room, just to reflect and have a few minutes to myself. Things get really hectic and busy while i am on the road for work, but my favorite time is at the end of the day, especially after a very busy day, is to climb into my bed, pull up the covers and drift into a peaceful sleep!
Because you’ve joined our discussion, you’ll automatically be entered for our advance screening!
I have taken several trips solo. I really like the freedom of going where I want, when I want and for how long I want. By travelling solo I can spend as much time as I want indulging in my interests without worrying that a travelling companion is getting bored. True, it can sometimes be lonely as it is always nice to share exciting new discoveries but I find the loneliness will encourage me to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I have met many very interesting people this way. Love the adventures, love the experience!
I have never taken a trip alone before. I would love to do it but first, I need to gather my courage! I will have to prepare myself for it especially if I am planning a trip to a non English speaking country. I hope I can travel solo at least once in my lifetime.
I have traveled alone and I find that there is nothing like it to truly be able to find the quiet place inside oneself that we all need to visit from time to time. It’s an amazing feeling to be away from everyday stresses and just be somewhere where no one knows your name.
First I was afraid to travel alone so I went alone but on a group tour. It went so well I went on another and another.
There is no reason not to travel because you don’t have a friend or partner. I went to London a few years ago alone and got to see all the museums my husband and friends weren’t interested in seeing. It was liberating.
I agree that traveling alone can be quite scary at time however very exciting and breath taking in other moments. This past year I went to England on my own. I was quite terrifed for parts of it since I had not been overseas before or on a 7 hr plane ride. I was so surprised to find that your body is so dehyrated from the flight. I was thirsty for days after the plane ride. I was nice however to speak the same language if I needed assistance with directions to get to places however, you still need to be careful with slang words and realizing that not all words mean the same thing in England as they do here in Canada. I really enjoyed myself and plan on doing more travelling on my own and with others.
The first time I travelled alone was an accident because at the last moment my friend couldn’t go due to family things. I went to Europe and Scandinavia for a total of 4 months. I had just graduated from university and had studied the history of most of these countries as well as their design and fashion histories. To actually go to the places of origin I had only seen in books was like a free fall. I had no fear, only great expectations. Of course events happened I could never have envisioned, and I met people I could never have dreamed. One event lead to another where in the telling of these stories seems stranger than fiction …. but exciting and memories I have forever. It’s true, I heard, saw and smelled new experiences and met outstanding people – even the opera singer in Rome who’s glorious voice echoed off the buildings in the early morning dawn…. as he was delivering bread! To this day what I love to see anywhere, Tokyo, Beijing, Santa Fe, Paris are ordinary people doing ordinary things like talking to their children, buying groceries. The richness of the so called ‘ordinary’. However, these travels are a different experience when shared with a friend or lover.
I loved the book and would love to be in the draw for the advanced screening. I am going to bring a friend who is terrified at even the thought of traveling alone. She thinks I’m special to have had my amazing experiences — I want to show her that I’m not. It is the act of traveling alone that lends itself to these wonderful adventures and self discoveries.
I travel alone all the time. It is a brilliant way to spend time getting to know yourself better. Every day you wake up, and there’s no one to answer to: no job, no spouse, no family. It’s just you, and whatever you decide to do–or not do–that day. You uncover a deeper sense of self–who you are, what you like, how you want the next pages of your life to unfold. Travelling solo is a real gift to oneself, and everyone should experience it at least once.
And the bonus is you meet SO many people, since you’re forced to speak with strangers if you want interaction. I’ve been blessed to encounter dozens of incredible ‘strangers’, who’ve extended themselves and their hospitality in so many ways: the elderly man in Portugal on my first trip abroad (and first solo trip!) who as I was walking by invited me into his home for a beer on a hot Saturday afternoon, even though I only spoke English and he only spoke Portuguese; the hotelier who became my friend in Taos, after insisting I stay in his hotel gratis for a week because he was worried about a young girl camping alone; the motherly woman on Kauai who insisted on giving me a spirit stick because of the way I “radiated kindness”. The list could go on and on.
To all those who haven’t travelled solo–get out there and do it. Even if it’s ‘in your own backyard’, somewhere not too far away where everyone still speaks your language. For me, travelling alone is the easiest way to embrace a meditative life, where you’re living in the moment, in the present, attuned to everything around you, including yourself.
I love the quote by Freya Stark: “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” In my solo travels, I love the feeling of waking up to a completely free day- no one to please, no schedules to follow, and a city full of new experiences around each corner.
I have taken many trips alone without regret. I’m dying to go to Bali and would love to see this movie for some inspiration!
Yes, I traveled alone for one month – when I was 33 y/o ….and newly divorced!
After listening to a radio interview w/Elizabeth Gilbert – I bought the book
and finished it in one day !! I look forward to re-reading soon….
Needless to say, I am anxious to see “Eat, Pray, Love” !!
I have never travelled alone and really have no desire to. I love to vacation with my hubby so I always have someone to share all the excitement with.
I lkove just getting in my car and taking off alone even if its a short trip or a long one. I have driven from New Brunswick to London, Ontario alone and back straight thru driving all day and night. I have driven from Miramichi, NB to Halifax, NS alone many times. I also drove 100km a day to work round trip and enjoyed the peace of being alone and see the scenery. Now that I’m older, I would still love to jump in my car and go wherever even though the days of driving straight thru are over. Now I have to stop at night. I think I should of been a truck driver.
I took a trip by car back to university. My Dad had wanted to come along with me, but I felt the need to go alone. It was a 16 hour drive. I felt a huge sense of mastery and independence about being able to do the trip all by myself. It was a great time to reflect, listen to music and gear up for another year of university.
To be honest, I find it difficult going on trips with anyone and prefer to venture to the unknown alone. My parents have learned to deal with my solo adventures and, in fact, my mother has said more than once how she envies my courage to do it. I have gone on a jeep safari in Cuba, sailed and snorkelled in Venezuela, sea kayaked in Mexico, walked in Tiananmen Square and ventured down the coast of Korea on bus alone. Sure, it would be nice to share those memories and laugh about situations with someone, but I am just as able to tell the stories and get people to laugh all on my own. I have pictures to show and the trips have enriched my soul with the opportunity to intermingle with the locals more. When you travel with someone else, you have to compromise and you become so involved in each other that you forget to note the intricacies around you… when you go solo, you don’t miss a thing! Every woman should take one solo trip in her life – it can be very liberating to know that you can do it alone and come away with a more enriching experience!
I have never in my life taken a trip by myself. I wish I had the courage to do so….I always worry about safety or some other ‘practical’ thing. I need to shake these feelings and just take the plunge…I have seen a movie by myself many, many times and my husband and friends just look at me strangely when I tell them this. Who cares? I don’t. Why should others?
I know one thing for sure: there is something to be said for ‘alone time’. I LOVE to do alone things, so maybe I should bite the bullet and travel by myself , right?
Hi, I read the book a year and a half ago. I am also in transition and found this a positive book and I recommend it. I cannot wait to see the movie.
I have never travelled far distances alone. I am fearful of doing that; however, deep down I’d love to have the courage to do so. Many times I’ve thought of it…….quickly I think of something else.
One day perhaps?
I travelled to Italy alone a few years ago. I hesistated at first, but I wanted to try something new. It was my first time traveling to Europe as well. This trip lasted a week, but I learned so much about myself. I love to travel. I don’t mind plane rides, in fact I absolutely love them! I also don’t mind airports as well. I feel at home when sitting inside an airport.
I learned on this trip that there are so many things to learn and discover in this world, that I dont have time to fret over little things in life. Theres so much beauty in this world and I determined myself to take more trips for self-enjoyment and satisfaction.
I have traveled alone a few times and have enjoyed it and been lonesome. I enjoyed the time alone but my family mens so much to me it is hard to have fun. All i think about is bringing them back to visit and showing them all that i have seen and share my expereines with them. But i would not trade my travelling alone though. it gave me an expereince not many i know do.
A week after graduating from university, I took off for Europe with an open return. Every day I wrote a journal describing the people I met and my extraordinary experiences. When I got to 10 pages or so , I mailed them home as letters to my family. After 3 months of traveling through Scandinavia, England, and France, my father called and said “Don’t do everything now. Leave some experiences to share with the man you will marry.” I’m being asked to NOT experience the world anymore until I wed? Well, I haven’t married and continue to explore the world of incredible people, historical sights and living events I could never imagine. I’m so glad I didn’t take his advice and when I do marry, if I do, a whole new set of experiences will unfold to add to my repertoire. Listen to your heart!
I agree! I have traveled alone before and it was nerve racking! I`m not the type of person to socialize with strangers or to do a lot of talking in general. I was leaving my country for the first time to come to Canada and I was scared as hell. I wasn`t sure what to do at the airport and I didn`t know anyone their, and so I wanted to go back home, because I didn`t think that I could make it to Canada. I was so nerve and scared, but then a lady came to me and asked if I was ok, because I look confuse, sick or something and I started talking to her and luckly we were going on the same plane. I felt real good and some how I wasn`t so nervous anymore again. However the problem started when we arrived in Canada and I`m to get my luggage, the waiting time was ridiculous, and there goes me again confuse and scare. I thought to myself, what if all my items that I have it my luggage gets lost? What am I going to do? What am I to wear? When I finally got my things, I was so happy and I was of to find my dad who was waiting for me on the other side. When I arrived their I almost calapse, because their was such large number of people staring at me, loking for their love one and friends…eg. I am not sure what my dad looks like anymore, has for me I haven`t seen him in years and he hasn`t seen me either. We didn`t know what we were wearing and so we automatically pass each other. Luckly Customer Service was right up top, so he went there and they called me, I went their and my dad, and I was reunited and it feel so good. We left there and went to his place which is also my new home.
I would like to do somemore traveling but myself, just to see if I would feel the same way and/ or worst.