Solo Travelling: Is it Worth it?

A woman backpacking in a busy city
Jacob Edwards

When university work has got the better of you, or your housemates are getting on your last nerve, have you ever dreamt of jetting off on holiday all on your own, without a care in the world? Jacob has – so he did it, and now he’s here to let you in on all the highs and lows of solo travel.

It is only in the more recent years of my ageing life that I have really developed a thirst for travel – barely a day goes by without my dreaming of packing up shop and living la vida van-life. However, in spite of constantly hopping from city to city and country to country – provided I can always fund myself – it was not until this summer that I got to fully experience the joys of solo travelling when I accidentally ended up fleeing to Dublin all alone.

The beauty of solo travel is that at any moment you can decide what you are feeling up for and simply go and do it

It was purely coincidental. I had booked the four-day getaway? with some friends a month or so beforehand for a measly £20 return flight. There seemed no better way for me to realise my dreams of visiting Ireland and hearing the melodic accent firsthand. However, a couple of nights before, both my friends informed me that they could no longer attend (which I decided not to get too upset about) so it looked like I would be braving the trip alone. Nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Museum of Literature Ireland, which one of my friends had been repeatedly raving about to my bookish self. 

A picture of a futuristic looking glass building in Dublin.

After re-booking all the fiddly bits, I was en route and collating some worthy sites to see. When I arrived in Dublin, I got the impression that it was somewhere I was always meant to be, and I didn’t feel the slightest inkling of unsafety. The sun was glistening on the glass of the futuristic architecture – everywhere looked so fancy yet so welcoming. I was at peace. The beauty of solo travel is that at any moment you can decide what you are feeling up for and simply go and do it. Luckily, I didn’t need to think long, as my stomach decided for me.

It can seem daunting being all alone in a city with no one you know within a country’s reach, let alone an arm, but I instantly felt the window of opportunity hit me. With my earphones on, I bopped along, minding my own business to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift, and it felt like nothing in the world could stop me. My friends had expressed their interests in other bits and bobs for the itinerary, but now that I had the final, and only say, I gravitated towards all the spots that felt very me, and made sure to frequent the multitudes of museums there.

Throw yourself into any and every opportunity you find

One thing that I did find particularly useful was to embark upon a free guided tour. It feels good to familiarise yourself with your surroundings, and being part of a group with a regional expert is a good way to acclimate yourself, but it can of course be done alone too. Given that the guide for our group was a lovely local lad, he had all the best advice to give us on places to visit and those to avoid, as well as immersive details on the history we were walking through.

A picture of the bustling Temple Bar in the evening.

When travelling afar without familiar faces, it can be good for you to do two things. First, to take a moment to relax with some quality time to yourself, which I did particularly on the day I dedicated solely to museums. Secondly, to throw yourself into any and every opportunity you find with people you meet. At the end of the aforementioned culture-filled day, I met a lovely American girl named Ella at an exhibition on W.B. Yeats. After bonding over a shared love for Harry Styles, she invited me out to drinks with her friends, and then the next day for ice cream and all. She also introduced me to ‘Derry Girls’, which I shall forever be thankful for. 

Not only that, but I decided on my final day to take the train out to a place an hour away called Greystones, where The Happy Pear, a couple of chefs on youtube that I admire, own their café. I ended up meeting one of them and befriending the barista, who then proceeded to serve me one of the nicest coffees I have ever let my lips grace.

A picture of the author with one of the chefs at The Happy Pear café.

Obviously travelling on your lonesome is not for everyone, but I mean to say that you never truly are alone, or at least you needn’t be if you try. Simply overnighting in hostels is a great way to meet people too, whether in the rooms, the lounge, the kitchen, or at the activities they provide. At the end of the day, we all watch the same sun rise and set, so more often than not you will find the people on your travels to be like-minded, or some even in the very same position as you. If you find yourself still without anyone by the trip’s end, do not fret, as I can honestly say some of the finest memories of my life exist in the solitary moments I spent on this trip and others, simply admiring the world and all it has to offer.

Jacob Edwards

Featured image courtesy of Steven Lewis via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of Jacob Edwards. Permission for use granted to Impact. No changes made to these images.

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