It’s almost unbelievable that anyone would dare to blame the female backpackers found dead near Ecuador’s Pacific Coast for their own deaths. And yet, that’s exactly what happened after the February murders of Marina Menegazzo, 21, and María José Coni, 22, of Argentina.
Social media erupted in their defense last week and #viajosola trended on Twitter as women, and men too, defended the right of anyone to travel solo.
Turn on the TV, scroll through your Twitter feed, browse a news website and there’s no doubt that the world is a dangerous place. It’s understandable, especially after the attacks in Brussels this past week, to want to hide away from the world and yet despite that or maybe because of it it’s never been more important to travel, even solo.
Those that dare to embrace their wanderlust alone often find it’s one of their preferred ways to explore a new place or rediscover a favorite.
“When you travel solo, you get to experience travel from a new perspective and I firmly believe everyone should try solo traveling at least once in his or her life,” travel writer Elizabeth Grace said.
Traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re alone. About 24 percent of people traveled solo on their most recent overseas leisure vacation, up from 15 percent in 2013 according to the 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study. We won’t stop traveling solo and you shouldn’t either.
You’ll Meet New Friends
Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to explore a destination alone. It’s a great way to meet other travelers.
You’ll Learn A Lot About Another Culture
Traveling solo forces you to be more flexible and step outside your comfort zone from the very beginning of a trip. During a journey that willingness to try the unknown means you’re more open to meeting new people, trying new activities and even getting lost, and as a result it lets you discover more about the culture you’re immersed in.
Your Time Is Your Own
”You call the shots and experience a wonderful new place in your unique way,” said Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours.
You’re neither reliant on nor responsible for someone else. Whether that’s for small things, like when and where to eat, or bigger things, like how to handle missing a flight.
It’s the Perfect Time For Reflection
“It’s actually very lonely too, traveling solo,” Brendan Lee of brenontheroad.com said. “You make a lot of friends but they’re five minute friends and gone before you really get to know them. So you have these moments that are kind of like, what the hell am I doing out here?”
Which forces you to reflect on who we are, what we want, and where we’re going, something we don’t do enough in our always connected, hectic lives.
You Can Visit More Places
— Selina WatermanSmith (@selinawatermans) March 14, 2016
Go ahead and cross off those bucket-list items. It’s Rewarding You won’t really realize how rewarding it is until you’ve come home and seen how you’ve changed. Traveling alone provides endless opportunities to test one’s courage and become braver by doing so,” author of Only Pack What You Can Carry, Janice Holly Booth said. And finally, solo travel represents a commitment we make to ourselves that we will live life on our own terms.