The Joy of Solo Traveling Part 1

1:00:00 PM Pinoy Boy Journals 9 Comments

The greatest advice you will ever receive from me is to TRAVEL ALONE.

I have traveled to many destinations with many different people and to be honest, the most memorable ones are when i am traveling solo. There is a different feeling to it. It's exciting and very experiential. 

When you travel alone, you take care of yourself!

No one's there to have your back when you get into a fight, no one's there to assist you when you drink too much, heck - there's no one there to guard your bag when you go to the toilet. That's the simple truth!

I have traveled to the southern islands of the Philippines and many countries around South East Asia ALONE. There are times when i feel lonely and sad. That's the truth yet, it's a fact of life for some people. Sometimes, when loneliness hits me, what i do is i call home, surf the net, I write down my thoughts here on my blog or i just drink beer. Someone i know who's traveling for 26 months and counting said his iPod comes in handy whenever he feels lonely. 

Maybe you will ask me if i am a loner? if you really know me that's the least adjective you can describe me. I live hanging out with my family and friends. But i also love spending time alone traveling. It's just my nature, i think.

I traveled to Boracay Island alone for seven days straight and i had a really great time. With a few people i know passing by, meeting new people along the way, but most of the time i was just there alone, wandering around. I've survived the occasional power supply shortage, drinking in the bar alone and the many lonely walks going back to my little hotel.

Chilling in one of the many isolated islands of Guimaras, Philippines

I traveled to Guimaras alone. I hitched a ride on the back of a motorcycle to get to a resort i have no idea where and have no clue how it looks like. Still, i braved the bumpy roads till i get to a little cove in the middle of nowhere. Miscommunication and huge reptiles aside, I've seen how things differ from life in manila to life in a relatively unheard of place like this province, and that made all the difference. During the full moon, i went outside of my simple nipa hut room for a smoke to kill time before i go to sleep. But wait, it's still just 8PM. A few puffs later, i found myself sitting with a group of people i don't know, and don't know where they are from. A few hours later, i've downed to many Gold Eagle beers and crunchy danggits. The next few days, i found myself staring blank on top of the cliff watching the sun go down. I admired the beauty and splendor of the place quietly. I also spent many days going around and finding myself mostly lost in the highway with occasional stares from the locals. Never did i once felt afraid. I felt at home actually. On my last day, i hitched a ride with my new friends back to Ilo-Ilo up until i was dropped off by the jeepney in front of a hotel. With no money spent and not even a clue why, i got the taste of the real kindness from these strangers.

I could literally sleep in green green grass of La Paz in Ilo-Ilo for the whole day, watching youngsters play football, women well dressed for the church and getting lazy. As i sit in a lovely corner infront of Jaro Cathedral, i found the solace i was looking for. Near God, and living a very simple life. I was alone, buying myself two hotcakes and a fresh mango juice. I said a prayer instead because i couldn't understand a word the priest was saying. I walked back home trying to find myself where i should be. I roamed around in the many sidewalks till the sun set, followed the procession of the Virgin Mary and ate early dinner in one of the many Jollibee's. Yet, i never felt so at peace with myself.

After an unbelievable trek going to the beach separated by amazing cliffs in Railay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Besides getting lost in translation in China literally and finding myself giving my necklace to a lovely Khmer girl, one of the most memorable experiences to date was in my first trip to Thailand, and there i was alone again. With no expectations nor with any fear, I was flying in to the very south of Thailand where supposedly the growing guerrilla fights are still happening. Went to the islands alone and slept in a room with strangers i met on the plane. I found myself the next day crossing an unbelievably hard trek just to get to the other beach. I passed by killer rocks, crops and left over underwear. The next few days, i transferred from one island to the next. Then, i got the last room available with broken padlocks and no ceiling. Met someone and made love in the sea. Drank some more and went home at around 9AM surrounded by shady Thai police. No fear at all. 

Maybe, the real reason why i was the king of confidence and fighting spirit was because i was traveling alone. I didn't have to explain to anyone where i was that night, or why i did stay in the islands longer or why i became lazy in the middle of the trip.

I did what i did and just moved on. No explanations needed. No arguments. No walk outs. No drama. Life is simple. Traveling with someone makes traveling complicated. 

My dear readers, this is just my personal opinion. Some people work well traveling with someone. I, on the other hand work best when i go solo! 

Maybe one of the reasons why these experiences became so memorable to me is that i challenged myself. Regardless whether i was successful or not, i completed it. 

Lost at the majestic mountains and tiny little coves of Antique, Philippines

There's also the feeling of isolation. The truth holds that whatever i do now will never ever pose a problem with anyone but myself. Whatever decision i make while i was on the road will never backfire at me when mishaps happen. And they do happen. 

Of course, traveling alone may pose a problem. Let's get real.

I needed to pay for my room alone, i needed to pay for my boat alone, i needed to pay and eat a huge meal alone. And there's no one to talk to in my native language when i feel tired of speaking my second language. But that's about it. Other than that, i want some space traveling.

There is no greater achievement for me than to travel alone in an unknown destination. Through traveling solo, you will learn to be street-smart, responsible, knowledgeable and sociable!

To be Continued.


flipnomad said...

travelling alone gives us the chance to get to know the most important person in our lives... ourselves.

and knowing ourselves well helps us become better in forging lasting and meaningful relationships to other people around us.

keep on travelling Jerik.

that is very true flip. i just wish everyone well while they're traveling. When people are traveling alone, realizations are more pronounced because they have the time to ponder on events, emotions.. there's just a different achievement when you are traveling alone. its slowly boosts your confidence and you become worldly.

sooner or later on, knowing you have traveled the world, and alone at that it will grant you journey fulfilled.

thanks flip for your comment, you're very right! Cheers bro! =)

Anonymous said...

hurrah..for solo travel even for female travellers! Totally agree, I would also count my solo travel (I only had one to date but I'm planning to do more soon) as one of the best travel experience I had.

yes, i don't know but there's a different feeling when you're traveling solo. maybe its the adventure and uncertainty. I also love traveling with friends, but trips alone are the most unforgettable! Do you have solo trip plans in the future?

Anonymous said...

Solo travels makes you more perceptive of the place and the joy of the freedom to do whatever you want to do in the trip. No solo trip in the near future yet because on the other side of Solo travel, it's more expensive since you don't have anyone to share with. More travels for you! I am doing some armchair travel reading your blog :)

true that, when you travel solo, you pay for a whole meal, one room, etc. etc. because you have no one to share the expenses. Thanks so much. would love to hear from you again! cheers!

Jazz Chillax said...

Same thing here, I always travel alone.
Question, how do you take pictures of yourself when you were just alone?

@Jazz Chillax i've mastered the art of taking one's photo so i point in different angles. but if there's a friendly passer-by, i seek his/her help. hoping, that person won't run away with my camera. that's one of the cons of traveling solo, actually. thanks so much for visiting my page. Check out some more of my solo trips around the Philippines and Asia.

marge said...

Ive just read similar stories like yours, I am looking forward of travelling alone too but not sure where to start though. Thanks for sharing!