Even if your first solo trip may seem unfamiliar and alienating at first, this way of travelling gives you a whole new freedom to experience your own adventures in exactly the way that suits your style.
To give you a closer insight into solo travelling, we asked our Adventure Crew member, pro freerider and surfer Lena Stoffel how she feels about solo travelling and how her last solo trip in September went.
How is Solo Travelling different from “normal” travel?
Lena: Well, for me personally it differs mainly in the planning. I plan a travel route differently when I’m alone. I plan in advance where I will stop and look for good and safe pitches or campsites. I chose my destination so that I can surf, but also in a way that I know there are good places to stay. I also have friends on the Atlantic coast that I wanted to visit. I try to take a short break every two to three hours on the trip and don’t drive more than six to eight hours during the day. I also download interesting podcasts or audio books. What I can recommend as well, better stop for your snack, otherwise it can give quite a mess and distract enormously while driving. Without a passenger, some things become a bit more difficult while driving.
Are there any particular challenges when travelling solo?
Lena: Of course you worry about whether you can always manage everything as well on your own. For example, when looking for a parking space and then parking. But I have to say that so far I have always been positively surprised, the helpfulness among campers is really enormous and I have always found a helping hand pretty fast.
What makes it special for you to travel alone?
Lena: When travelling solo, you are of course extremely confronted with yourself. To be honest, that’s exactly what put me to the test during my last trip. I had all opportunities and at the same time the freedom and the curse of being able to make every decision myself. And that’s not always as easy as you might think at first. But when it works out the way you want it to, it works out really well and that gives you more confidence in your decision-making.
What are the biggest differences for you between solo travelling and travelling with friends or family?
Lena: Travelling long distances alone is something completely different and much more strenuous than, for example, travelling with two or three people. That’s why you should think through your travel plans well in advance. If there are several of you, it also feels okay to be a bit more spontaneous. The big advantage of solo travelling is that you can do whatever you want. You can surf where and when you want and organize your day freely. If you travel together with friends or family, you can’t help but adapt and compromise. This of course limits your freedom more than when travelling solo. So if you want to have the freedom to organize yourself without compromise and experience your own adventures, then solo travel is absolutely worth it.
Where have you been in the past and what are your favorite destinations for solo travelling?
Lena: When I travel solo, my favorite places to go is France, to be more specific Hossegor and Biarritz would be spots that are great to explore solo. But also Northern Spain is a good place for solo travelling, especially if you want to have an adventurous surf vacation. Besides the surfboard, I usually have my bike with me, which is the best way to explore the surroundings. But also the one or other hike is often part of my To Do list. So you can see a country of course super very close and it is possible to plan routes that are not passable with the camper.
What does a typical vacation day look like for you?
Lena: In the morning I set the alarm about 1 hour before sunrise, then I stay in bed for about half an hour. After getting up, the first thing I do is make myself a coffee, then I check the sea with the cup still in my hand. If it looks good, then I go surfing directly after the coffee. Then I have breakfast. Sometimes I arrange to meet friends or acquaintances for a second surfing session, or for lunch or dinner. In between there are the boring things like shopping or filling the camper.
Do you keep in touch with friends and family or are you completely offline on your trip?
Lena: On the last trip I had friends here on site. And also, I always inform my boyfriend and family where I am and how I am doing. So I’m not completely offline.
Thank you for your impressions Lena!
Now it’s your turn, experience your own solo adventure far away from comfort zones and compromises!