Adventuring Alone

Adventuring Alone Header

With my budget and work schedule, I don’t travel a lot as I want to. In fact, a lot of my vacation have me staying in town and doing staycations or doing day trips to visit parts of Korea with friends. Up until now, my travel escapades have been the following:

July-August 2004: Guam — I travelled alone to visit my best friend.
May 2008: Tokyo, Japan — I travelled with two friends.
October 2010: Tokyo, Japan — I travelled alone, but I met up with a friend every day.
January 2012: Daegu, South Korea — I travelled alone to visit a friend overnight.
September 2014: Donghae and Samcheok, South Korea — I travelled with two friends for an overnight trip.
January 2015: Osaka and Kyoto, Japan — I travelled with a friend.

In between all of these travels, I’d also visited Uijeongbu, Incheon, and Cheongju several times as day trips to see friends or to see the area with a friend. As you can see, I’ve never technically travelled “alone”. Next week, however, I will be completely travelling alone to a new part of South Korea — in Sokcho area. I wanted to go back to Japan, but that plan was way out of my budget. Besides, I really wanted to see the East Sea again, and Sokcho is a place I haven’t been to yet in South Korea. I’m super excited about this trip. It will be a short trip — four nights, five days — and it will be my own personal getaway. I’m going alone, and I made zero plans to meet anybody there. Why am I going alone? Because of several reasons.

Scheduling and Doing Activities at My Own Pace

I can schedule everything and however I want. I can spend a whole day in the mountain and hike at my own pace. I can choose to just sit on a beach and attempt to take photographs without making anybody wait. I can explore Sokcho and experience the coastal city life at my own leisure. I really like the idea of doing things on my own, without having to rush or slow down at anyone’s expense.

Gaining Solitude and Peace

The introvert in me desperately wants solitude and peace. My job alone drains me on a daily basis because I work in a super hectic, noisy, and chaotic environment. I have to constantly be an extrovert with people; I have a lot of days where I don’t want to talk or interact with people, but that’s impossible with my job. This trip is for the introvert inside of me. I’ll spend one day at Mt Seorak to commune with nature. I’ll be visiting the beach that’s nearby my hotel in the morning, afternoon, and evening, just so I can listen to the waves and watch the pretty water of the East Sea. I will not be obligated to talk to anyone, so that’s something I am eagerly looking forward to on this trip.

Escaping from the Chaotic City Life

I love Seoul. I’m a city girl at heart. I absolutely adore the fact that there is always something I can do in my own neighbourhood. However, my neighbourhood is the new hotspot for the young and the restless, and it’s . . . crazy on the weekend to where I can’t even walk down the street without weaving around people so I can get to my destination. I’m hoping to avoid the crowds for this adventure by choosing to travel during the weekday with no Korean holiday in sight! I’m ready to enjoy my time on the coast and the mountain. It will be, literally, a breath of fresh (and clean!) air.

Reflecting and Healing Session

Everything I wrote above will allow me to just reflect and heal my weary self. My mother kept asking why I’m going alone, and I couldn’t find the words in Korean to explain that I’m doing this to give myself time to reflect where I am with life and to just heal my body and mind. Sure, I can do that anywhere, but something about doing this away from my usual environment will be a welcoming change. And this will sound cliche, but I really want to just sit on a beach and listen to the waves. I want to open up my senses to the sea — to see, hear, smell, and feel the nature.

Tackling the Challenge

Lastly, I choose to travel alone because I see this as a personal challenge to overcome. I want to be able to say I’ve travelled completely alone, even if it is in a country I’ve lived most of life. I want to experience the joy and frustration of Sokcho’s confusing bus system. I want to conquer this “fear” of eating alone somewhere. And I want to show people that it’s okay to travel alone. Some cultures frown upon the concept of solo travelling, but I believe otherwise, that it’s completely fine to go to places alone if it’s something you truly desire.

Would you ever travel alone? Have you travelled alone? If yes, how did you feel? Or if never, do you enjoy group travels?

Comments

  1. Good luck! It sounds great! I also like being able to go where and when I like to places. It’s so much nicer to travel solo so you can go at your own pace.

    Public transport in another city is always the one that scares me, I hope you’re able to work out the system and not get lost :)

    • Thanks! Luckily, I can cab it if I get totally confused by the bus, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case :D

  2. Have fun on your trip! Can’t wait to read about it, if you plan to blog about it. :)

    I’ll be travelling alone soon for the first time, as well! So excited, mainly for the same reasons you stated here. It’s fun to travel with others, but I think it would be easier to soak in new places when one is on her own!

    • I will definitely blog about it :)

      I hope you will have a wonderful time on your solo trip! ^^

  3. Hey! I’ve never travelled alone, but I like all your reasons for travelling by yourself. Have a lovely time!

  4. I’m very independent, introverted and enjoy solitude. My friends always tell me that of all their friends, they see me as the one who would enjoy travelling alone the most. Nope. I don’t think I would ever do it. It puzzled me at first, until I brought this up with the boyfriend who spent several months after uni travelling around the world alone. He told me this:

    One has to be a social person to travel alone.

    Unlike the socially awkward misanthrope I am, I think you’re a well-adjusted, social introvert, Tara. :)

    • That’s a good point. A really good point. I know I can be a social introvert, so it makes sense. XD But I wonder if I’m also just okay being alone because I’m used to it? Hrm. Just something to think about.

      And no, I don’t think you a socially awkward misanthrope! At least, that’s not how I perceive you! ^^

  5. That sounds amazing. I would love to do something like that. It sounds so…soothing. I hope it goes as planned!

  6. This, I have yet to try. I’m afraid to travel alone, especially on long-haul flights, hence I required my husband to come home to get me when I left for the US!

    • Well, I am not certain if I’d want to travel alone in an entirely new country! I feel comfortable with Korea and Japan to do it alone, but not sure about anywhere else! XD;;;

  7. I understand your reasoning, but I’m not sure this is something I could do. I enjoy being in solitude at times, but I sometimes I easily feel lonely. I think the worst is traveling with family, because if one wants to stop, everyone has to. The best would be traveling with a partner – you can do some activities independently, but come back together and reflect at the end of the day.

    • Yes, I can see the benefits to travelling with a partner, but since I don’t have one, alone it is :) It’s definitely not for everyone, but I think being alone every so often can be a good thing, too.

  8. Tara, I absolutely hope you find some solace amongst the waves. I think every 20-something-year-old should take the opportunity to travel alone somewhere by themselves (if they can afford to, obviously) to find themselves. I don’t think it’s a cliche to even say that because it just rings so true. That’s why there are these ridiculous shows about 20-somethings running around the city, not knowing what to do with their life because they just don’t know & don’t even know who they are. I think it’s so important to be single & find yourself, get to know yourself, & see what’s out there in the world on your own time, your own accord, etc. So, even though you’re not in your 20s, I’m happy that you’ll finally get a chance to find some peace & quiet time by yourself.

    Would you ever travel alone? Yes, absolutely.
    Have you travelled alone? If yes, how did you feel?
    Yes, I traveled alone to France after my study abroad ended. I stayed with my relatives, but they had lives, so they couldn’t really show me around the city. I was left to my own devices & there were times when I felt really scared I would end up on the news, “dead American student found in alley way in Paris” or something…but I ended up figuring out how to use the Metro so well that people asked me for directions, thinking I was a local!

    Or if never, do you enjoy group travels? I also enjoy group travels, when it’s the right group of people. I always travel to Vegas with my cousins & Josh, but I’ve often traveled with other family members & my parents’ colleagues’ families. Some trips were better than others.

    Wishing you the very best, Tara!! This is such a great opportunity for you to wind down. Curl up with your thoughts & a good book!

    • Thank you so much, Tiffany! True, I am no longer in my 20s, but I am seriously overdue for this experience, and I hope it will go well. I think I know myself fairly well, but it wouldn’t hurt to try and get to know myself more!

      I’m glad your solo trip to France went well! I think it’s natural we all have similar fears when we’re alone, but it’s good to try and overcome it :)

      And you’re right in that some trips are better than others. While I enjoyed most of my “group” travels, some were not as great as the others, haha! XD

  9. I think that’s a great idea to take a solo trip and just relax and do things at your own pace :) I’m not a big fan of traveling with people other than my husband for the same reasons. Fortunately, he and I tend to want to do the same things, so it works out. We can do things at our own pace when it’s just us. When it comes to groups, the time it really worked out was when we traveled with another couple and just separated when we disagreed on what to do. Definitely easier to plan when there are less people though!

    At this point in my life, I prefer traveling with my husband. Whenever I have trips without him, I wish he was there so I could share the experience with him. The only time I’ve traveled alone was when I was interviewing for jobs, so I guess that doesn’t count, haha.

    I hope you have a great time on your trip later! It sounds like it’ll be really nice :)

    • I can definitely see how it’d be fun to travel with your husband/wife/significant other, but I’m still single, so that’s not an option, haha! I’m glad to hear that you and your husband travel well together! It can definitely be a challenge travelling with someone who’s not compatible with you XD;;;

  10. The most alone I’ve travelled was when I went to study abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. I was alone getting there, but once I was there, I had my classmates everyday. But this was before I had a smartphone and the internet there was very limited. I was too scared to explore because I was a freshman, but I should have done more.

    I think I would like someone to meet up with when I’m traveling and do some things together just because I like to share that experience with someone. However, I have no problem eating alone. The better I can taste my food!

    • Huh, you bring up a good point about how smartphone makes travelling easier now! I hadn’t really thought about that, but it really does make sense! Maybe that’s one of the subconscious reasons why I am comfortable travelling alone, thanks to smartphones!

      And I did that with Japan, meeting up with people every day. Not doing that this time, so it will be interesting to compare the two trips XD

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