How To Pass Time When Traveling Solo
Travel. Go where you have never been. Travel alone to find yourself. The internet is inundated with such statements. As alluring as they may sound, giving in to such whims is not for everybody. Not everyone likes being alone for long periods of time or days. Not everyone gets excited about the idea of exploring a new place with no close person around partaking in the experience. And lastly, not everyone knows what to do with their time once they decide to give traveling solo a shot and start feeling lonely.
While going on trips with your close people is always enjoyable, traveling solo is something that should be tried once. It will pull you out of your comfort zone, make you more self-reliant, and give you time to do all those things that you could never manage in some company.
Take your hobbies along with you, meet new people, learn a new skill or simply indulge in some introspection. This personal time can be used to truly nurture yourself and feed your creative side that never thrives in your otherwise occupied lifestyle. Read on for ideas on how to entertain yourself or pass time during your solo travel trips.
Activities for solo travelers
1. Reading – the most common and easy habit to cultivate on the road is reading as you don’t need anyone else to do it. Try to find a book about the area you’re visiting and you’ll enjoy connecting with those places even more. Also, if you’re passionate about social service, you can try to find a nearby NGO and read out to small children. Two birds with one stone!
2. Cooking – with the popularity of homestays, hostels and airbnb, it is possible to eschew the restaurants for every meal. If you like cooking then it’s the perfect opportunity to learn a new dish with local supplies! It saves money and gives you a reason to bond with your host or other travellers, since who would mind someone happily cooking for them.
3. Sketching – carry a small plain notebook and a pencil or a few colour pens with you next time. If you don't have your own idea, then while you’re sitting out and enjoying the scenery or just sitting in a café and observing the locals, try to draw the scene unfolding in front of you as you see it. You don’t have to be an artist for this, and can easily start with landscape and progress to people. This will make you more aware and observant about the surrounding, and the result could be your best self-made souvenir!
4. Socialise – meetup, couchsurfing, eatwith, etc. are all great ways to meet with locals sharing your interests. Heck, even a tweet can sometimes get you connected with right people. Now that you’re traveling solo and are open to new experiences, make new friends! Knowing a few friendly phrases in the local language may help to break the ice. (P.S.- We’re not Tinder fans)
5. Keep learning – traveling gives you a chance to try out crazy new stuff but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue learning intellectual stuff. Videos from TED, Youtube, MOOC sites, articles, podcasts, download them all beforehand and there will never be a dull moment on the trip for you.
6. Writing – if you enjoy writing – stories, poetry, blogs, journal, you name it – you’d definitely enjoy doing it on your solo trip. With all the free time in the world, write what you want to and not what you have to!
7. Learn a new skill – sometimes the place you’re visiting may be renowned for a certain activity. Or, you may choose to go the other way around and visit a place renowned for an activity that you’ve always liked. For eg., attend yoga workshop in Rishikesh, learn ayurvedic massage in Kerala, do a beginner’s paragliding course near Mumbai, enrol for a traditional painting workshop in Jaipur, attend a cooking class for the local cuisine offered almost everywhere, and so on.
8. Fitness – if fitness is your priority then you can do a few things to kick some action. Explore the place walking around. You will see more, feel more involved with the place and remain busy for the most part of the day. Also, hiking, renting a bike, enrolling in a local gym, swimming pool, etc. on a per day basis is also a good idea. Places like Gokarna, Hampi, Varanasi, Pushkar, etc. that remain top choices for solo travelers are great for exploring on foot. Read here about how you can stay fit on the road.
9. Photography/Videography – the activity that can be really enjoyable, as along with enjoying a moment you’re also saving it for the future. Try to be creative and shoot in styles you’ve not tried before – portraits, street photography, long-exposure, HDR, etc. Capture beautiful moments to revisit them later during the dull moments of your life and the images and videos will sure lift your mood up.
10. Figure out your life – with no one to disturb, now is the perfect time to unplug and see a zoomed-out version of your life. Back home you may get too engrossed in just one thing – a relationship, project, job, etc. – but far from all that you can now take time to reflect on different areas of your life and refocus on what mattered to you but got left out amidst the chaos.
We hope you’ll have some motivation now to challenge yourself for the uneasy quest. If you were with someone else, you'd have probably gossiped around instead of diving deep within your own interests. Even if you get bored at times, that’s okay. You sometimes get bored at home too so don’t make a fuss about it when you’re out. Come back with a fresh take on your life and your mission of going far has been accomplished. Godspeed fellas!