Have you ever had that one EPIC trip that you have always wanted to do? Hitchhike across the U.S, do a coast to coast road trip across Canada, backpack Europe for a summer? What has prevented you from doing it? Finding a travel buddy to share the adventure with. I’m mean, really. Who wants to road trip alone? When first asked if they would come on your adventure, they were so excited! They rip out their national geographic magazines, their laptop and their cup of organic green matcha tea and they start looking through Google for all the highlights that you guys will have to hit. Both of you decide that next summer will be the perfect time to go as the summer is half gone, and who wants to backpack in the winter? Besides it will save you sooo much money if you plan ahead of time so you can get cheap flights. The deal is made, you do your secret friendship handshake and you both go to bed that night dreaming of your amazing trip next summer. Fall arrives with its pumpkin spiced lattes, then winter with its warm woolly sweaters. The next thing you know, spring arrives with a few false starts and a couple of surprise 20ft dumps of snow blizzards. Your eye starts roaming toward travel websites and you start stocking up on travel advice off of Pinterest. And finally the day is here… The day you book your plane ticket and make this TRIP OF A LIFETIME a reality. You pick up the phone and call your friend because you want to book at the same time so you get seats next to each other. And the conversation goes something like this: You: “You ready to book this epicness? I’m so excited I don’t dare drink any coffee right now or I will start climbing walls! ” Friend: “I wish! But I’m starting school in the fall, so I’m going to be working all summer saving up. I can’t afford a trip right now. Sorry. Have fun though! And POOF! Atomic bomb lands in the centre of your dreams. But you will not be shaken so easily. You are a traveller! You will not let a little thing like complete and utter betrayal stop you from doing this trip! So you start a facebook chain and a mass text. “Who wants to go on an adventure with me?” You start with dignity. You ask your closest friends, weeding out the ones you know don’t like to travel (I know, who knew these people existed right? But they do). But as the excuses roll in, one after the other: I’m getting married, I’m having a kid, I’m buying a house/car, etc. you start to get desperate. Anyone, anyone?! How about you person I haven’t seen since kindergarten? Or you person who was my arch nemesis in high School? How about you random stranger whose pins I keep re-pinning? At this point you can literally feel the ground giving out beneath you and you start grappling at anything to try and hold on to this dream. Even if that means travelling with a person you hate, you rationalize that once you are on the road and neither of you know anyone else, that you will magically become friends (stranger things have happened, and in reality this could actually happen, though I’m not in a huge rush to test that theory). But one thing you never consider as the disappointment sinks in and you start moping in your pjs watching ‘Into The Wild’ with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, is to simply, Go Solo. Finding a solid travel buddy, especially for long intense travel like backpacking and trekking is very hard to find. Some people get lucky and their best friend since high school is in the same life space as they are and they travel together for years. Most people however, me included, struggle to even find a buddy to go to the movies with on a Thursday night, let alone a 3 month long backpacking trek through the Amazonian jungle or wherever your dreams lead you. For me, the dream wasn’t even a long one. My dream was to hike the Inka Trail to Macchu Picchu. In total the trip was 10 days long, including flight there and back. And for 5 years I put off the trip. Friend after friend would give me hope, and then dash it on the rocks when it came time to make it real. And then came the realization. If I didn’t go solo, I would never go. And to this day, I have a 20% track record. 80% of my travel is done solo. And while it can be lonely, and I wish I had a friend to reminisce with for all my adventures, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade those past solo trips for ‘someday’ trips with a friend. So stay tuned to find out how a solo Canadian girl found herself halfway up a mountain surrounded by friends and speedy sexy singing llamas.
What is your dream adventure? What has prevented you from doing it?