Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Ecdemomania

“Traveling alone is not for everybody.”  Whenever I meet my friends, family or even strangers they tell me this. But what makes someone travel alone? Is it their personality? Their background? Their situation? After days of thinking, researching and reading, I’ve come to a conclusion…

People get jealous. It’s the fact that I’ve been traveling for almost a year that get this conversation flowing. First question is always, where did you go? Then comes, who did you go with? Guessing and assuming from this, most people find the destination and the company of the travel the two most important things. And I’m pretty sure everyone has a, what they call, “dream destination”. Places they dream to visit and sights they wish to see. But why? Why don’t you go? I ask. Here comes the long list of excuses I hear every time:
I’m too busy.
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have money.
I have kids and a family to take care of.
I don’t want to travel alone and no one can go with me.

Like I said, these are just excuses and not reasons. I personally believe everyone CAN travel, better yet, travel alone. Everything in this world has a positive and negative. Traveling alone does too. But the point I’m trying to get to is, don’t let being alone ever stop you from going to places. We live on this earth as individuals. No one will live your life for you, so why wait for someone to travel with you when you can do this by yourself.
Trust me, I had my fair share to excuses. I was also too busy, had no time, didn’t have enough money, and lastly was scared to go to places I’ve never been to, all alone.  Reality is, you can make time, you don’t need a lot of money and you can overcome that fear. You can. You really can. I don’t believe anyone will work 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Obviously, that’s impossible and every country has its fair share to holidays in a year. Some jobs even have days off. Make use of these times wisely. Even if you only have a day, you can still travel. Plan your rest days in advance. Set dates out to travel ahead of time and if you can even request for some days off. Work in advance and make sure you’ve done everything you need before going on a leave. Don’t just opt for spending another weekend at home. It’s time to explore because you will not be the same person you were after traveling.  

Next is money, which limits to where we can go but can never stop anyone. There are so many options, cheap options when it comes to traveling. Prices also depend on the season, so research is crucial when you are budget traveling. I, myself am a budget traveler. I’ve been to 6 countries in Europe on a tight budget. It can work. Well, it did for me. I went to Europe late January which is the off season, meaning plane tickets are cheaper at this time of the year. The reason being the weather is cold and it is harder to walk around. Plane tickets are an important part of budgeting. Choosing the cheaper airline, picking the tickets with a stop-over and the cheaper dates can play a big role. After comes the motels or inns you wish to stay at. Try staying at dorms, it’s cheaper and also fun because you get to meet new people and can also get tips from the owner. After that comes you just making sure you don’t spend money on unnecessary expenses. See? Budgeting is not that hard after all!

Lastly, the excuse of I can’t travel alone. I’d ask first of all, have you ever tried? Most people will say no. Then, how would you know? If you never tried traveling alone, how would you know if you would hate it or like it? And if you have tried it alone and you hated it, maybe you can try again but this time think about why you hate it. Trying to know the reason might help. Like for me, I was just scared. It was mostly fear. Not knowing can become a huge fear to people. But remember, fear is just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. After going to a destination I had no idea about, the next became easy. After that, I wanted to go everywhere, even to the most dangerous places. It’s simply that one step. One step and soon you will be running.

You can start with destinations within the country you are living then moving to the continent, slowing making way to different continents. It is going to be hard to start with a country you have no idea about so just take baby steps. You don’t need a grand plan nor have to get stressed about arriving at a certain place at a certain time. Because a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving, in the words of Lao Tzu. So pack your things and just go. Doing is better than saying. Any day.