Do you like to travel? Do you usually go on trips with family or friends? What places in the world are on your bucket list?
Would you ever consider visiting them alone? Why or why not?
For a recent Travel article, “How Much Did You Spend on Your Solo Vacation?,” Christine Chung talked to eight readers about their recent solo travels, including their motivations for traveling alone. The article begins this way:
Solo travel — curating a vacation perfectly suited to you and no one else — is the ultimate idiosyncratic experience.
For some, the goal is to fully test their limits and develop confidence. Others say the allure of traveling alone lies in wholly embracing their desires and their own pace. It can also be about rediscovering joy after a particularly challenging period in one’s life.
Eight readers told Ms. Chung about their recent solo sojourns. Here is what three of them said:
Reader: Meg Christensen, 37, Portland, Ore.
Where she went: Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, and the Faroe Islands
Tell us about your trip: I got to the Faroe Islands by traveling through Edinburgh, and at the end of my trip I took a three-day tour up to the Isle of Skye. Because there are so few restaurants (and hotels) on the Faroe Islands, I stayed at Airbnbs with kitchens so I could cook for myself. I rented a car to island hop.
Some highlights: kayaking on a big lake and taking in a beautiful waterfall in the sunshine — one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Why did you choose this trip? I wanted to be outside surrounded by natural beauty, and I wanted to enjoy my own company. I chose the Faroe Islands because I love Scandinavia, and they seemed spooky and beautiful. It also seemed safe for solo female travelers.
Was this your first solo vacation? No, but it had been a decade since the last one. It’s important to me to have a good friendship with myself, and being alone on some tiny islands in the North Atlantic felt really powerful in that regard. I had a great time. I took measures to stay safe — really grippy hiking boots, venturing out only in the daylight hours, communicating often with my husband.
Reader: Cort Harlow, 29, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Where he went: Buenos Aires
Tell us about your trip: I booked the trip two weeks in advance — it was pretty last minute. I am a software engineer and wanted to see how I felt working remotely in a foreign city. I flew nonstop overnight from New York (I splurged a bit on a premium economy upgrade) and stayed at an Airbnb condo in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood for seven nights.
Why did you choose this trip? It had been a long time since I spent an extended amount of time alone. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, to flex my autonomy and self motivation. I also wanted to get out of cold and gray New York City, and had been reading about urban development in South American cities.
Was this your first solo vacation? I’m a 29-year-old gay man, and this was my first solo trip. I loved it. I walked away feeling so much more capable — and empowered. I am very keen to try it again.
Reader: Alison Heebsh, 49, St. Paul, Minn.
Where she went: El Paso, Texas, and San Lorenzo, N.M.
Tell us about your trip: I volunteered with an organization that provides hospitality to asylum seekers in the United States. I went a couple of days early to see the New Mexico desert, visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and driving down through the Chihuahuan Desert.
Why did you choose this trip? It was a chance to step out of my daily life, serve alongside interesting and generous people and spend time getting to know migrants on the final stages of difficult journeys. I also loved the chance to explore new places solo. The sunny skies of the New Mexico desert and mountains did not disappoint!
Was this your first solo vacation? No, I’ve done a whole lot of solo backpacking trips, including along the Colorado Trail in 2018.
Students, read the entire article and then tell us:
What was your initial reaction to the idea of traveling alone? Does it seem fun? Liberating? Scary? Why?
Now that you’ve read about a few solo journeys, including trips to have fun, to work remotely and to volunteer, have you rethought your reaction? Do any of the eight trips in the article sound like ones that you’d like to go on? Why?
What seems most appealing to you about traveling alone? What is unappealing? If you were to do it, where would you like to go and what would you like to do? How do you think it would be different from traveling with others? How might it change you?
How much time do you spend alone in general? Do you enjoy pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, as some of these travelers did?
The woman who traveled alone to the Faroe Islands said it was important to her to “have a good friendship with myself.” Would you say the same? If so, how do you do that?
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.
Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these prompts into your classroom.