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Tips for solo travelers

INA WO(A)NDERS: About traveling alone

“Where are you going next?” I am often asked.
"I have no idea where I'm going," I say. And feel free.

I have been living alone in my small mobile home since March. My Fiat Ducato is white and unassuming, reliable and grumpy, a crisp '96 vintage, and his name is Theo. Sometimes he's thirsty. Sometimes I have to take it easy because the roads are too bumpy and the trees are too low. But he doesn't argue, he mostly just does what I want. And I love him for that – and my newly minted, self-determined freedom.

Travel alone with the van

Nevertheless, I sometimes ask myself: is it actually ethically justifiable to travel all alone? When studying my expenses, I keep realizing that in the past that would have been enough for two - and would have been more sustainable. Now I only fill up my own bad diesel conscience. Drive to places just because I want to. Treat me to a break on an organic farm in Portugal - and live alone in a tiny house for two. I use the small machine in the laundromat because I can't get the big one to full. My food on the gas cooker simmers just as long as ever. Although it just has to fill me up.

Does happiness increase when shared?

They say that happiness is the only thing that increases when shared. And that certainly also applies to travel happiness. A super sunset on the beach with nothing but your favorite person by your side and grains of sand between your toes - that's just magical. In any case, more magical than a photo that I then post in my Instagram story to at least share the situation with someone out there. What is particularly practical about shared experiences is that the other person can remind us of it at some point later – out of the blue. "Do you sometimes think about that super sunset in...?" A good reason for a loving smile in everyday life. It's as if you could briefly warm up the holiday memories in the microwave while a small spark jumps between two people. Great!

Solo travelers are more spontaneous and intuitive

And yet, since I've been traveling alone, there have always been moments that I perceive more intensely than ever before. My senses seem sharper because they alone are responsible for not missing anything. I follow impulses even before they reach my mind, without putting them in letters and putting them up for discussion. So I take spontaneous turns that I might have been talked out of earlier. And end up in places whose wild beauty takes my breath away. For me, traveling alone is a kind of intuition training and a “I’m-worth-that-workshop” at the same time. And if I find a magic place with a lot of gut feeling and a bit of luck, there are no distractions. I take my time and memorize every detail. No one will remember this moment except me. It's up to me alone to preserve it.

Enjoy traveling alone

Seen in this light, traveling alone is perhaps not all that unsustainable. Because the more intensely I experience my journey, the longer I can draw on it. Like a well-stocked pantry that I can use for weeks to come. I often stay in the same place for many days until the water tank is empty and all the moments are savored. Until my own thoughts get on my nerves and I long for people to share them with. So that being alone does not suddenly turn into loneliness.

Do you like to travel alone or with a partner or friends? Have you ever felt lonely while traveling? I am always happy to receive feedback, suggestions or questions – either as a comment or directly by e-mail [email protected].

Photos: Ina Hiester, Mediamodifier / unsplash, Wikipedia

Ina is a digital nomad and travels through Europe by land and sea. The journalist is always on the lookout for special places for Good Travel, philosophizes about travel in her column, takes photographs, makes music and writes articles on all kinds of environmental and sustainability topics.


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