Listen to the immortal lyrics of master songsmith Jason Derulo, from the 2009 hit single ‘Ridin’ Solo’, in which he vividly recounts the new-found benefits of the single lifestyle, and the dizzying pleasures that can accompany the sudden revelation of newfangled emotional liberation.
Whether you like his warbling falsetto or not, Jaso0O0on Deruloo0O has a point. Travelling by yourself is one of the most freeing experiences it’s possible to have. The first time you saunter through customs, completely alone in a foreign airport, it’s intimidating. I remember arriving in Auckland for my solo month travelling around New Zealand and feeling like the titular blonde-fringed piglet in Babe 2: Pig In The City.
I bumbled my way out of the airport, onto a bus and somehow made it to my hostel in the city centre, arriving around midnight, exhausted, confused and terrified. Within a couple of hours, however, I had found my very own Breakfast Club of international friends, and was mid way through a bar crawl weaving its way through Auckland, well on the way to making a drunken tit of myself as usual.
When you travel solo, you don’t have to think about anyone but yourself, which is absolutely crucial to rinsing everything you can out of the damp flannel that is life. You can eat where you want, stay out late, go home early, and do whatever you want. I’ve seen best friends fall out on the road. People tend to be selfish, and quite rightly so, when it comes to deciding how they are going to spend what may well be the best moments of their lives.
You will experience loneliness (ahem, Cuba), you will get lost, you will be challenged by the lack of support system and safety net that is a partner or friend. But what happens when you lose your support system?
You learn to support yourself.