I have done a lot of travelling in the past few years. Since the end of 2012, I have been abroad in some form or another.
Whether it was working or backpacking, I have spent the majority of my time away from the UK. When I look at the places I have visited, they fill me with joy and reminded of my times there.
However, it is not the places that I remember most of the time, as good as they were. For the most part, it is the people that I met along the way that hold firm in my mind.
I went to most of these places by myself and I met some great people along the way. If I hadn’t done so, I can’t imagine how I would feel about them.
Travelling by yourself is a fantastic experience, but it can become very lonely, very quickly. You yearn for company and realise that although the places you are visiting are full of beauty, there is something missing when you are by yourself.
When you are with other people, these places come alive. They become more interesting, but there is another aspect too. The whole trip becomes more entertaining.
It’s not just the places that stick in your memory, but the fun times you had. Sometimes, even random events in a hostel can be what you remember just because of the people around you.
We are social creatures, it’s no wonder we crave interaction when we travel by ourselves. As great as travelling alone is, the whole experience feels more complete when you are doing it with other people!
People Make The Places
Of all the places I have travelled to since 2012, New Zealand is my favourite. It is a long flight from the UK, it took me two whole days to get there, but it is worth it.
The country is one of the most beautiful that I have been to. I don’t remember visiting one place that wasn’t any good! That’s some statement because you normally come across at least one place you don’t like in each country
However, I never experienced this with New Zealand. I loved all the places that I visited!
As beautiful as New Zealand is, I’m not sure how much I would have enjoyed without the friends I made over there. I spent a year living and working in the country, and made some lifelong friends while there.
We had a lot of fun times, that I still look back on with fondness now. We went on numerous trips around the country by car that were challenging and fun.
Would I have enjoyed myself as much if it was by myself? The answer is almost certainly not. You can have fun by yourself, but there is an extent to how much you can enjoy yourself when you’re on your own.
Would I have seen as much of the country if I was travelling alone? Again, I doubt that I would have. As I based myself in one city of the duration of the year, if I hadn’t have made friends, the likelihood is I wouldn’t have seen anywhere near as much as I did.
Even if I did get to the same places by myself, it wouldn’t have been as fun. There were numerous funny things that happened while we were travelling around, which made the trips all the more fun.
When you’re by yourself these things don’t happen. Looking back on a lot of my solo trips, I struggle to remember much about the places. I can remember where I went and what I did, but they don’t hold the same significance as those times when I was travelling in a group.
The memories of the times I went travelling with my friends are much more vivid. There is always a silly story that springs to mind whenever I think of one of those trips. They are much easier to recall.
The world is a beautiful place, with lots of amazing scenery, but it is the people in it that truly make it special!
One of the downsides of social media is that it has led to people treating travel as a tick box exercise. While I understand the allure of wanting to visit as many countries as possible, this isn’t travelling for me.
Travelling to these places solely to say you have been there defeats the point. All of my best experiences while travelling have come when I have met other people, travelled as a group, and spent a long amount of time in each place.
To travel is to open yourself up to new experiences and different ways of living. Another bonus of travelling is that you meet some amazing people along the way.
A lot of my friends have met their partners while they have been travelling. Relationships have been formed from solo travels that still last to this day.
Would this have happened if they were treating the places they were visiting as a tick-box exercise? I highly doubt it!
Travelling solo has many pros and cons, but doing it for the long-term can be weary. As good as it is, travelling always feels more meaningful to me when you are sharing experiences with someone else.
They are there to corroborate your experience or to offer a different perspective on it. Plus, the things you get to up while you’re away will never be forgotten by any of you.
The world is beautiful, but no one is an island, and travelling is just more enjoyable when you have others to share it with.