Monday, September 15, 2008

Five reasons to travel solo: #2 New found friends

Most people assume that travelling solo means you travel like a hermit and spend all your time alone. Far from it - you only need to be alone if you want to be alone. In reality meeting other people tends to be much easier when you're on your own. For starters, you'll be forced to come out of your shell and initiate conversations with others. And moreover, as a solo traveller you're far more approachable than a couple or a group of friends.

A casual chat in a local cafe can easily turn into an invitation for dinner or even the opportunity to discover a region of a country you'd never dreamed of going to. For me, a chance meeting with two other travellers in L'viv in the Ukraine turned into a cross-country train journey into the heart of the Carpathian Mountains to trace the family roots of one of my new found friends. It was actually one of the most fascinating, fun and entertaining trips I've ever been on. Yet while most friends you make on the road will temporarily provide you with the benefits of having a travel partner without the commitment, there are those kindred spirits that you'll meet that will become friends for life. In fact, many of the friendships I have to this day have been made when I've been travelling solo - that includes my two travel buddies I met in the Ukraine!