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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Solo travel gains traction as popular global travel choice

When it comes to seeing the world, whether it be the misty mountains of Bulgaria or the wide-open fields of outback Australia, there is nothing quite like taking in the sights of the world from new perspectives. We travel because we want to experience more of what this beautiful planet has to offer, but sometimes it can be draining travelling with other people. While travelling with loved ones – or even strangers – can be and often is incredibly rewarding, there is something especially unique about taking off to a new place in the big wide world all on your own. Travel in all its forms is a positive experience, but there is truly nothing in all the world quite like travelling on your own. This is a concept that has gained traction over recent years, fast becoming a popular option for thrill seekers and avid wanderers alike. People are more confident, more self-aware, more passionate about actively pursuing their dreams – no matter where in the world, or how far out of their comfort zone, those dreams happen to take them. Welcome to the era of solo travel.

When beginning a solo travel adventure, things that once seemed quite straightforward can become alien, daunting. Even catching a charter bus NYC on your own can feel like the biggest mission in the world. The very nature of solo travel centres around the bravery that it takes to lure ourselves out of our carefully curated comfort zones, and into the unknown. The best part about solo travel, however, is the first moment when you realise that catching that charter bus alone is the step that is taking you on the adventure of a lifetime. Some people never want to travel alone (if ever) – that is more than okay. Some people want to have a mixture of both – also fine. And some people, once they get a taste for it, want to spend years travelling solo. When you travel alone, you are not necessarily alone in the world. In fact, you are often far from it. Travelling solo allows you to get out of your usual social comfort zone and meet other people. Sometimes, these people become lifelong friends, just one of solo travel’s many rewards.

The case for solo travel is quite strong. Travelling with only yourself gives you the opportunity to see everything you want to see, without having to rush at all. There is nothing more frustrating than planning a trip to a destination you have wanted to see for a long time, only to have the person you went to see it with tapping their food or worse, falling asleep from boredom. Solo travel gives you complete control over your schedule. Everything from flight lines, destinations, time spent in each place, and travel insurance (and everything in between) is entirely up to you. And that is half the fun of it all. Having sole power over where in the world you end up gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment, accountability, and achievement all at once. You get to see everything, all at once, and if you want to stay somewhere longer than the choice is nobody’s but your own. Is there anything better?

Individuals with a keen sense of adventure tend to be the same people who yearn to see all the hidden gems of the world, as well as the crown jewels. Travelling off the beaten path is an experience like no other, and it often leads you to new perspectives (both literally and figuratively) and the yearning to travel more, to see more, to be more. When travelling solo, all of this is so achievable because you get to march to your own drum with no need for consideration of where the rest of the marching band is. While travelling with people is also incredibly rewarding, there is nothing in all the world quite like taking off with nothing but your own company. You grow as an individual, as a wanderer, and as a human being. The best times of your whole life can be had travelling the world by yourself, where there is nowhere to go but everywhere, and no one to tell you when and how to go about it.

Travelling is something that has been a constant throughout human history. We have had many incredible chapters in our species’ evolution, and each of those chapters has allowed for further discovery and exploration. Today, we are more in-tune with our personal goals and aspirations than ever before. This has resulted in an increasingly popular travel trend that has ballooned into a bucket list tick for millions around the world: solo travel. More than ever before, people are realising the far reaches of the world, and they are taking full advantage of the fact that the only companion they ever really need, is themselves. While travelling with loved ones is always an exciting adventure, travelling alone is a wild move that spells the beginning of some of life’s best stories. The era of solo travel has well and truly hit us – and we are not complaining in the slightest. Why would we? We all dream of the far reaches of planet Earth, and having the courage and the vibrant willingness to see them, even if no one will go with us, is a trait that is highly coveted. Bravery results in rewards. Always.

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