While traveling solo can be a lot of fun and a learning experience, it also has its downfalls as well. Here are some things I learned while traveling by myself to Japan and I want to share with you in the second part of this blog series (on traveling solo).
Safety – Traveling alone can feel a little unsafe. While Japan is relatively safe, there are areas that may not be the best for traveling solo. I was even offered a “massage” by a random Japanese lady outside of a club-looking building, but it was 9 in the morning and a police station was just a few steps away (it was weird). While it may have been legit, it still felt odd and not right. You just need to be on your guard and keep your eyes open for anything that just looks out of place. Being alone makes you even more aware than you would usually be. And of course, being alone makes you stand out even more to others.
Lonely – It’s lonely! Riding solo is fun at times, you are your own boss, but there is no one there with you. It’s just you, nobody else except the locals and tourists going about their routines with no care about what you are about. Sure, you can call home, post to social media, or meet others in tour groups, but not having a close friend on hand makes it a little harder.
No one to talk to – Not being able to speak to someone is really deflating at times. Even if most people spoke your language or you spoke theirs, it is still hard not having someone to talk to. Not being able to bounce ideas off of someone can make it hard and can even change your decision making. For me, after a long day of travel, just being able to sit in the hotel, have a drink, and talk with others was relaxing and fun. Traveling solo takes this little nugget of fun away.
Boring – Being solo can be boring at times. Not having a person to talk to, roaming alone, and being someone like me who tends to keep to themselves, can lead to a boring trip at times. I am not the type of person to go to random bars and try to make friends, especially in a foreign country, just not something I would ever be comfortable with. Instead, at the end of a long day, I would just head back to the hotel to relax, but sitting in a room for an hour or so by yourself it can get boring really quickly.
No one to share with – I remember seeing so many crazy and amazing things the first time I went to Japan in 2017, but would then turn around and have no one to share it with. Sure, posting on social media or contacting home could be done, but there was no one there to share the experience with in real time. There were plenty of times I would say to myself “Did you just see that?!” but would then have to keep it to myself, there was no one around to talk to.
So there are some downfalls to traveling by yourself. I will have another set of blogs to show the differences between traveling solo and with a group of people to compare and contrast the two sides of the travel coin.