Solo Flight

April 2010 Bath Spa Train Station 
I have read a lot of articles lately about why everyone should try to travel alone at least once in their lives and I couldn't help but to follow the trend and share my own piece of advice.

While for most people, it is scary and lonely, surprisingly for me I find it very exciting! 

I have travelled alone for at least thrice now in my life, (five times if I consider moving to two cities I have lived at). 

A lot of my friends (mostly guys) don't get why I like the idea of travelling alone while they themselves can't or won't prefer to do it. I actually try to convince them to try it for themselves so they can relate to my enthusiasm. But nevertheless, they will always say that "it's always better when you are with someone." I can't argue with that because it is true. Doing things with other people are always fun but there are other things that I'd say can still be done without a companion and travelling is one of them. And you don't have to entirely rely on other people to make the trip a fun one, right?

Here are the reasons why I think travelling alone is actually not that bad as may others perceive it is. These are all based on my experience and it may or may not affect you the same way it did to me. 

1.  To go out and actually do something valuable with your time.

My very first solo trip was going to Bristol. Well it was actually more of a business trip as I had a training for work there. I didn't see much of the city but I made an effort to take walks after office hours or during lunch time. I was a bit culture shocked to find out that most of the establishments were already closed at 5 PM! (except pubs I think). I don't know about you, but instead of watching TV on my hotel room, I walked around. I actually did enjoy it. 

I find Bristol very laid down. It is definitely very different from the bustling cities I have lived at (Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore). It's quite refreshing too to finally see trees, flowers and grasses everywhere. A breath of fresh air indeed!

Castle Park

St. Mary Redcliffe

It's the same thing what I did when I went to Phuket. I signed up for a one day island hopping tour. It was definitely more fun compared if I opted to stay on the beach and just sunbathe and read a book.

2. To gain confidence.

During my stay in Bristol, I decided to check out the next nearest city called Bath Spa. I have to admit I was scared to go there by myself but in the end, I really had a great time. I hate to think that most people hold back in doing things because they are afraid to do it on their own or they think they can't. Ever heard them say "you won't know unless you try?"

So one weekend, I walked up to the train station in Bristol (Temple Meads) and bought myself a ticket to Bath Spa. The train station was like 15-20 minutes walk away from the hotel I have been staying at.

The train ride was very quick, less than an hour. There was a scenic route to it as well so it was really enjoyable. I was 24 when I visited the UK so I was able to avail their 16-25 rail card (ha!) and got discounts.

Train ride from Bristol to Bath Spa
3. To be decisive and independent.

While I do enjoy being with friends during trips, some of the things that can't be decided easily are simple things like "What are we going to do today?" or "Where are going to eat?" or "Where are we going to stay?" The bigger the group gets, the harder it is to decide on what just to do next. If you're by yourself, it's easier. You'll do exactly what you want to do at that moment. So the next time you'll go on a trip with friends and they ask you "What you want to do?", instead of saying, "It's totally up to you , whatever , wherever, I'm cool", you can voice out your own opinion. You'll actually be more decisive and go after what you want instead of doing what everyone else wants to do or expects you to do.

So as soon as I arrived in Bath Spa, I went to the nearest tourist office and looked around on how am I going to explore the city. I didn't want to take a cab because I have no idea where I will go first (plus I didn't exactly know what can been seen there). So I decided to take the tour bus, (very touristy) and hopped in!

Even though it was sunny, I decided to sit on the top deck and just enjoyed the cool breeze. The whole city was just small and the bus ride didn't take long to get around. So for the next stop, I just decided to walk around.

4. To have some "ME" Time. 

In this fast-paced world that we are living in, you don't get enough time to be just by yourself. Travelling alone will surely give you a lot of that and I personally believe that it helps you in a lot of ways. You'll be surprised how enjoyable you as your own companion can be.

I honestly didn't know what to expect and see in Bath. I went there as recommended by my officemate. The first thing that caught my attention was the Roman Baths so I checked it out.

Apparently, this is England's only hot spring. Built by the Romans 2,000 years ago as a temple and bathing complex, it still flows with natural hot water.

The entrance fee included an audio guide as well. Most of its areas have no labels (except the museum part) so it was pretty handy to have an audio guide that somehow served as my companion too.

The Roman Baths

5. To learn and discover new things.

I try to compare my behaviour when I am travelling with companions and when I am by myself. I tend to concentrate more on what I can do and see when I am alone rather than when I am in a group. I had more time exploring places when I am by myself because I had a lot of time to kill. 

This is the museum part which displays some of the ruins from the temple.

This is what it looks like from down below. (Please excuse my poor photographs. It was really dark).

6. To meet people.

With an old man portraying as a Roman at the Roman Baths
Being a stranger in a foreign country can be scary, but trust me, you'll be surprised by the kindness of the people you'll come across with. I am not the kind of person who will walk up to a total stranger and try to strike a conversation and perhaps share my story, but when I travelled solo in Phuket, I have met two couples whom I never thought I'd be hanging out on the beach and sharing mojitos with. You may end up being good friends or not, but I always find it interesting to meet new people.

I didn't meet anyone when I went to Bath Spa, most probably because I honestly just enjoyed roaming around the city by myself. So after checking out The Roman Baths, I walked around and found myself in the park. A lot of people were soaking up in the sun and just enjoying that lovely day.

 A few more photos that I took while exploring Bath Spa. I like that it's very picturesque and somehow looks like straight out of a postcard. 
Beautifully Old.

Bath Abbey/Abbey Church

It's been a while since I last travelled solo. Writing this makes me miss it and perhaps I'll plan soon where to go next.

So I'd say try it once while you can, do it more often if you can.