We’ve all read the blog posts about traveling alone, going off into the wild, untamed earth to find yourself, making new friends along the way but experiencing your travel adventure as a lone wolf.
However, I think it is important to remember that while traveling by yourself can be an amazing and fulfilling journey, traveling with someone is an incredible way to see the world. There are numerous studies, as well as thousands of internet memes, explaining how happiness is only real when it is shared. Sure, if you’re on your own, you can make the decision to hike up that volcano in Bali to watch the sunrise without having to ask anyone, but if you do it on your own, are you really getting the most out of the whole experience? Can you really relive it when you step back into society when no one else around you has seen what you have seen? Wouldn’t it be better to turn to someone and say ‘remember when…?’ and watch as a smile blooms on their face as their memory matches yours.
Traveling with someone, whether it is a partner or a friend, means that there is one other person in the world who has experienced the adventure with you. It means on bad days when you are missing home and everyone in the hostel is going on a pub crawl that there is someone there who gets it, who gets you, who understands. It means when the whole group wants to go on a hike up a mountain, there is someone there with you who knows you would much rather visit the local temple. And it means that when you do want to go off and do your own thing, whether that is a hike up the mountain, go white water rafting or get a mud facial at a hot spring, that there is someone waiting for you at the hostel at the end of the day who is excited to hear about your adventure.
That’s not to say that it’s easy to find the perfect travel buddy – not at all. You need to be with someone who knows you inside out, a friend you really click with or a partner you want to ‘do life’ with. Someone who understands when you’re having a down day and knows how to make you smile when you miss big events at home. Someone who knows the lines not to cross and someone who can give you space without feeling unwanted or unneeded. If you find that person, stick with them – travelling as a duo will make your relationship stronger, take your intimacy deeper and build your memories together. There is nothing like it, nothing more challenging, more rewarding and more inviting that dropping everyday life and taking off into the wilderness with that person.
Traveling alone can be great, and just because you are alone does not mean you will be lonely. But traveling with someone means you will always have a travel companion, always have someone to share those incredible moments that move beyond mere words and always have someone who truly understands what it was like to leave home, drop everything and carve out your place in the world. Sometimes, that can be worth more than simply being able to do what you want without checking with someone first.