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Vagabond Journey

The Benefit Of Solo Travel

Go it alone.

One of our YouTube subscribers has been asking questions preparing to go abroad long-term for the first time. She says that she’s going with a friend. While it seems easier at the onset, this isn’t something that I often recommend. This blog post is inspired by this. 

Travel is a completely different experience if you do it alone or if you do it with other people. I don’t mean different in terms of what you do, but different in terms of how you do it.

When you’re with other people you need to have an explanation for everything you do — you need to think about your actions in terms of words and expression. You can’t just do, you have to explain first, and the preparation for this explaining means that you simply can’t just act.

This isn’t necessarily bad in and of itself, but it makes you think differently than you would if you were alone and you simply don’t do many things that you would otherwise — especially those intriguing, un-thought out, intuitive things in travel that may come off as weird if you posited them formally in words to another person.

It means that you can’t just hang out somewhere for no reason. It means that you can’t just check out little intrigues. It means that you end up questioning yourself and talking yourself out of doing things that you’re on the fence about.

Being with other people makes you different. You are no longer “you,” you are “you+someone else,” which the final product is rarely ever the sum of its parts. It renders everything you do into a conceptualized decision making process. It makes you vet your actions, and you can no longer be driven by intuition and intrigue, you can no longer flow with your surroundings, which is really one of the most beautiful and beneficial things about travel.

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That said, I have had some excellent travel partners. My wife only limits me in the fact that I can’t really film as much with her around as I would normally. Other than that, being with her is similar to me being alone. She kind of gets embarrassed by me no matter what I do, so there is little to lose by just letting it rip.

Stubbs — who you may find stories about deep in the archives of this blog — was also someone who I had an incredible connection with when traveling. We were two lunatics looking over the same edge …

Filed under: Perpetual Travel, Travel Questions

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 89 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3457 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Melaka, Malaysia

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