Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why I Don't Travel Alone

If you are one of those who loves to read the blogs of other travellers around the world, one theme that is always common between them, is that they almost always travel alone.

Besides the point that as a Muslim, I am not encouraged to travel alone there are other reasons why I usually don't travel alone.

For one it is more fun travelling with friends or friend. Travelling alone would mean being in the 8 hours flight and not having someone to talk to. Sure, you can always start a friendly conversation with the stranger sitting next to you, but in most situations, people just like to keep to themselves and prefer to sleep than entertaining my excitement of seeing the place that we are heading to. I realized nobody really cares to share with me their travelling plans like I do.

That happened to me when I was flying solo to Melbourne last December, and the solo traveller sitting next to me just pretended that I did not exist. I tried to make eye contact, and smile the brightest smile I could muster but she just shut her eyes and went off to sleep.

The only communication we had was when I was already asleep,  and the girl woke me up just to ask me how to fill in the visitor's country entry form. Geez, thanks girl for being so friendly.

Sometimes you are lucky and there are people that you meet for the first time, that you can instantly strike up a conversation with. But again you are not always lucky.

Having friends travelling with you makes you feel special because you have other people to share your experience with. The memories do not only belong to you but it also belong to your other friends. From time to time, it will be fun to revisit and reminisce the memories together. If that experience changed you, there is a possibility that it had changed them as well. Wouldn't it be sweeter for you to face the changes together.

Another big motivation to travel with friends is that you can share the travelling costs. Although there are more ways to do budget travelling nowdays, having friends reduces the costs tremendously.

You can easily get a nice apartment, with 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen for a price of below than RM100 per night each in New Zealand if you share with 4 person. Now, isn't that sweet?

Having conversations with your travel buddies and planning your itineraries before your next day of travelling before sleeping is already in itself a novelty. 

Two heads are better than one. Sometimes in travelling, it requires a lot of planning and strategies. People take months to plan for a certain trip, often causing inevitable stress and sleepless nights depending on the scale of the trip itself.

From choosing your travelling dates, to booking the flights, to calculating the cost of the trip, to booking accommodations, to applying visas (to places that require visa), to making itineraries and choosing places to visit can cause quite a headache. But having friends going for the same trip, can save you a lot of time when you know how to delegate tasks to each person.

I always prefer to check out the prices of each places that we want to visit and calculate the distances of each place of interest and the logistics of each accommodation rather than booking flights and accommodations. So hence, this is the time when each individual in the trip would illustrate their strengths.

Another plus point for this would be during the trip itself. Each individual has their on strengths and weaknesses. Travelling together means we can utilize the strength of each person in different ways.

Take me for an example. I am no expert in cooking. I just know how to eat food. But often there will be friends of mine in those trips that will know how to cook. So I would always volunteer to do the dishes or chop some onions at least rather than cook.

Another advantage of having friends is relying on them during the trip. Knowing you are always surrounded with friends gives you a sense of security. If you fall sick, you can be sure that someone in the trip would care for you or provide you with some medicine. 

During my trip to Beijing in April last year, there were 2 very significant incidents on which both incidents demonstrated how much I relied on my dear friends. The first one was when I got lost in the middle of the chinese market, and had no idea where were the rest of the tour group. I got separated for a good 30 minutes (I honestly felt it was only 10 minutes). Hadn't it been for my friends searching for me, I would probably have been lost by myself and end up starving the whole night or worse.

Another incident was also the night when we spent in the cool chilly air, feet and hands were numb from the cold, despite our termal wear and layers of warm clothings, abandoned by our Mongolian van driver in the middle of Beijing, not finding our hotel location. It was really a pretty scary night. Not understanding Mandarin, not finding any taxi available to send us, (we were offered by a mischievous stranger to ride with her) and just standing there praying and keeping faith of Allah's protection. But luckily there were a four of us, and we took turns to figure out our location and eventually found our hotel.

Point is there are many reasons why for me travelling alone is not my thing yet. Some  might argue that there might also be some disadvantages to travelling in a group such as being way too comfortable and not making new friends but I find that not to be true. I managed to make friends when visiting a friend in Australia, granted the friends I made were her friends, and I also made a new Canadian friend during our trip to Madinah recently while travelling with my sister, aunt, uncle and cousin.

So in short, it depends on what your preferences and your choices are. There is no harm in travelling alone as it helps you to rediscover yourself, but I do still wish I could continue exploring the world and rediscovering myself with my travel buddies, always.


  1. when u travel with friends, there will be always a throwback moments, haahhaha like everynight


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