Solo Travel vs Travelling in a Group

Travelling solo versus travelling in a group/with friends. It’s a topic debated by many travelers around the world and I’m here to offer my share of wisdom on this topic. I may not have an abundance of knowledge on this, however; I have done both and therefore feel like I am adequately experienced to provide some good and valid insight, so here we go.

All my life I have traveled in a group, whether that be for a school trip, a family holiday, a lad’s holiday, or anything in between and they have all been great. On the other hand; I have also traveled a few times alone, recently on my month long backpacking trip to Thailand, which again was amazing. Now there are obviously pro’s and con’s to both, and that’s what I’m here to discuss, starting with travelling in a group.

The obvious benefit of travelling with other people is that it’s cheaper. 1 room split between 2 people, for example, is the best and most obvious saving. But the savings don’t stop there. Depending on the size of your group you can save on things like tours, taxi’s, entrance fee’s etc, granted this isn’t a guarantee, but with good haggling skills it can be achieved and sometimes with great success, and depending on where you are in the world, it can save you a lot of money.

Another positive for travelling in a group is that you have someone to share your incredible travel experiences with, something that will make you closer with that person and something that you can reminisce about together for years to come. In my opinion, it’s always better to share these moments with others, especially friends, however; I do understand that solo travelers prefer the more personal feelings of travelling alone, I just prefer to share these experiences with others.

Travelling in a group also means you won’t, or are less likely to, get lonely. Sometimes you just want someone to talk to, and if you are travelling solo this is, sometimes, not an option. But obviously if you have a travel partner/s you will always have someone to lift your spirits and mask the feeling of homesickness which might creep in from time to time. Travelling is not always easy, it can get stressful as things won’t always go to plan, therefore having someone you know with you is often very beneficial and again can keep your morale up and get you through the challenges of travelling.

On the other hand, solo travel also has its benefits. The main one is the fact that it is you and only you making all of the decisions. In a group people will have differing opinions on where to go, what to eat, where to stay etc. This could mean that you miss out on something you wanted to do due to the fact the majority of your party chose something else. Also, it could slow you down as it can often take a while to come to a decision on said subjects. Furthermore, the feeling of total freedom you get travelling alone is unbeatable. It’s very intimate, and evolves you as a person in ways you could never imagine. It’s just you and the earth, and that is so powerful.

However; obviously the best thing about solo travel is the fact that you will meet new people and make some great new friends. Whilst this isn’t restricted to solo travel, you will be more inclined to go out and interact with new people more. This can lead to new friendships made and a massive growth in your confidence. I mean, if you can go to a completely foreign country, overcome an insane amount of culture shock, meet new friends, gain amazing new experiences and just have an overall amazing time, then it is quite clear solo travel is definitely worth it, and in my opinion can be more rewarding than travelling with a group, particularly due to the amount of personal growth you will achieve.

So there is my two cents on the subject, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Stay tuned for new posts and keep smiling 🙂

 

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Blog Design Update!

I have finally got round to updating the look of my blog. The tiresome, boring old look that once was has now been replaced by what I hope is a better and more lively design. I’m not great with this stuff, so it might be terrible, but I hope it looks better and is a more welcoming website.

All I’ve really done is change the theme, font, and colour scheme, as well as add a nice collage of travel pictures I have taken. Making the look actually reflect the content of the blog posts. But it’s a start and I have many more plans which unfortunately take a bit longer to make a reality.

I have also added a page for my recent Thailand Adventure, so check that out.

Hope you like the new look, keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

Back From Thailand | Airport Horrors – Backpacking Thailand #3

My trip in Thailand is over. In fact it ended about a week ago, I’m just being lazy/recovering from the worst thing about travelling, and as it happens what this blog post is dedicated to; airports.

I know I’m not alone with this opinion, airports, and flying in general, sucks. The invention of teleportation couldn’t come soon enough in my eyes, something like in Star Trek, I’d love to be beamed to my location by Scotty. But unfortunately this isn’t the Star Trek universe, and because of this depressing fact we have to deal with airports in all their hellish glory. From people walking with about 5 too many bags so you can’t get past them and are stuck behind their pace of around 1.4 kmph (woah that was a mouthful), to having to run what feels like a marathon to actually get out of the place, or to your connecting flights; airports really are the bane of my existence, and you’re about to find out why.

It’s safe to say my airport experience was one of the worst. Missing my flight home by literally 5 minutes, absolutely ridiculous I know, and therefore having to spend an extremely gruelling 10 hours in this fear inducing hell on earth. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit over dramatic, but you get the picture, it was horrible. Not only that though, as you can well imagine flights from Thailand to the UK are rather expensive, £400 in fact, aka a whole lot of money to lose for just being a pathetic 5 minutes late. So, it was 8am (2am UK time) and I’m panicking like mad as I have no idea how, or when, I’m going to be able to get home. Initially I was told there were no flights to Birmingham until the next day, but then I had somewhat of a lightbulb moment and realised I could just fly to London and get the train to Coventry, so that’s what I did. Forgetting of course that I would have to negotiate the treacherous London Underground, at rush hour may I add, with all my bags, not good. It was a long process, highly inconvenient, definitely not good for the blood pressure, however; believe it or not, it was quite the adventure, and actually a good experience. Well, at least it makes a decent story, ey. Looking back I’m not actually sure how I passed the time in the airport, because the 10 hours didn’t actually feel that long, the fits of fidgety boredom were saved for the flights themselves, god I hate flying.

So yeah, I made it home. Not only did I make it home, but I made it home alive and relatively uninjured, to my family’s surprise. I’m pretty sure they were taking bets on how long I’d last out there, and to be honest, I don’t blame them. I hope you enjoyed this post, just a short one to let you know I’m back and will be writing about my various escapades in the very near future, so there’s something to look forward to. In the meantime be happy and keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

Backpacking Thailand: The Temples of Bangkok

One thing I wanted to do in Thailand was visit the temples, and they did not disappoint.

As someone who has taken interest in Buddhism in the past, it was fascinating for me to actually be in a Buddhist place of worship and see the monks kitted in their orange robes and going about there daily lives, lives which are incredibly different to the ones we live, it’s quite amazing  to see the contrast. There was something special about being there, it’s hard to describe, but you could feel the connection. You may think visiting the temples is just looking at the buildings and leaving, but it’s so much more than that. Yes the buildings and archetecture are beyond beautiful but more importantly, at least for me, was the educational side of the visits. The temples I visited in Bangkok were Wat Traimit and Wat Pho and both were very informative about Buddhist traditions and how the temples were built and when etc. Wat Traimit featured an absolutely mesmorising Golden Buddha, the largest in the world in fact, which was 14ft and estimated to be over 600 years old, and many of that time it spent covered in stucco to protect it from Burmese invaders in Ayyuthaya. You could tell how much the Buddhists respected and worshipped this statue, it was somewhat divine and I throughouly enjoyed being in the presence of such important history. In comparison to others, this is a relatively small temple, however it makes up for that on beauty, so you will be able to get those Instagram shots. Outside of the temple are various souvenirs stands, some of which offer some very nice memorabilia that you wont find anywhere else in Thailand, so I’d definitely recommend having a quick look around. I purchased a little something myself, of course Wat Traimit is also conveniently located next to Chinatown, so it was awesome to head straight from the temple to the hectic streets of Chinatown.

The second temple I visited was Wat Pho. This is located right next to the Grand Palace and has a lot more to see and do than Wat Traimit and, because of that, is a lot more touristy. The main attraction of course is the reclining Buddha, it is huge, 46 metres long to be precise. Wat Pho is also home to the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, there are literally hundreds and not to mention the best Thai massage you can find in Bangkok, or so I’ve heard I didn’t actually get one. What is cool about this temple is that it was, and still is to an extent, a school for medicine and was in fact the first ever site for public education in Thailand. Again so much history and if you go make sure to throughouly look around and read all the information on display as it most definitely makes your visit far more worthwhile.

So yeah, I loved visiting a few of Bangkok’s temples, they really are wonderful places and something everyone visiting Thailand should at least consider, whether you are interested in Buddhism, history or even just photography, it is certainly worth it.

Hope you enjoyed this post, sorry it’s late, been busy haha. And I just realised this sounds like a tripadviser review, my bad :/. Keep smiling, Harrison.
Wat Traimit:

Wat Pho:

Unbelievable Luck! (Bet Win)

Okay this post will be a short one, but just wanted to share this with you guys.

The other week I decided to put a very speculative accumulator bet on. For those of you unfamiliar with betting, an accumulator is a bet placed on a series of races, or in this case matches as I bet on football. I bet on the result of 14 matches and for my bet to win each and every one of my predictions would have had to come in, so that’s 14 match results picked correctly, which is obviously extremely unlikely. So there I am, checking my results halfway through and realising that 8 out of the 14 had already came in and 5 more were in play and about to come in. I went through a number of emotions at this point realising I could actually win just short of £8000 (oh yeah I forgot to mention, I put £10 on and the return was £7800) and then began to get extremely nervous. One by one the results came in, however, to my despair, one game was played later than all of the others. At this point 13 out of the 14 had come through and I was shaking like a leaf. The final match was Real Madrid vs Villareal, me of course picking Real Madrid as they are the obvious favorites. Believe me when I say this was the slowest 90 minutes of my life. Waiting for that result to come in was torture. They did indeed dominate the game and win 3-0, but I must have rang both of my parents 4 times each so they could calm me down as I paced back and fourth in my, very dirty, uni room.

So yeah long story short I won just short of £8000, crazy I know. And the best part about it was that it was a free bet I got for signing up, it’s safe to say Betfair were not very happy and were extremely reluctant to give me the money. But that’s gambling for ya.

Keep smiling, Harrison.

Time Flies

I know it’s a cliche, but time does really fly. It feels like yesterday that I was nervous about transitioning into uni life, but here I am now, with a year under my belt and loving every minute of it.

I genuinely can’t believe that I have finished a year at uni, like how did that happen? (okay I still have one exam left, but still!) And not only that, but I’m actually doing quite well, despite my attendance may suggest. I mean, I haven’t failed anything yet, emphasis on the yet as I just submitted my poetry assignment, and this first year I’m on for at least a 2:1, which is bloody good and far better than I expected. Granted I’m not the perfect uni student, I have been roped into doing a few things I probably shouldn’t have and left whole assignments till the last day etc etc, but in my opinion that’s what uni is about, having fun, you just happen to get a degree out of it at the end. That outlook is more than likely an awful one, however; I just think Uni is far more about growing as a person than getting a qualification, but maybe that’s just my laid back attitude coming into play again.

Anyways, I’m rambling, as usual. If anyone reading this is on the fence about university, I say go for it, you won’t regret it. People look at it like it’s just the degree, but it’s so much more than that. You make friends and have experiences that will stay for life, you discover new passions, finally live independently and most importantly, grow exponentially as a person whilst still holding onto that childish, teenager side who goes clubbing the day before 9am lectures. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but uni, like life, is what you make of it, and in my opinion everyone can make uni the time of their lives if they want to.

But back to the title of this post. One of my favourite quotes is this “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” I like to try and live my life by that. Making the most of every opportunity, being the best possible person I can be and having a load of fun along the way.  We’re all on this rollercoaster that is life together, so let’s make the most of it hey. And…

Keep smiling, Harrison

(Soz for going all inspirational, Gandhi style on you there)

“But Hitler Was Vegetarian, So That Means All Vegans Are Evil” – Anti-Vegan Argument #4

Believe it or not this is actually an argument us vegans hear, quite regularly as well unfortunately. And it is a quite simple one to refute, simply by saying no; Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian, not even close. Hitler was advised by his doctors to follow a vegetarian diet from ‘time to time’, emphasises on the time to time part of the sentence, due to the fact he suffered from severe flatulence, however; he was never an actual vegetarian. Just by looking at the facts we can decipher this. Biographers who wrote about Hitler (and who knew him quite well on a personal basis) openly describe his love for Bavarian sausages and game pie (“game” meaning wild meat from birds and other creatures) and Hitler’s own personal chef described his favourite meal as stuffed pigeon, not very vegetarian huh. Thanks to ‘naturalnews.com’ for the info. But let’s play it your way, let’s pretend Hitler was a vegetarian. The problem with that is the argument is a logical fallacy, aka an argument with extremely poor reasoning. To put it simply, one does not impact the other. You can be evil and you can be vegan, the two are by no means mutually inclusive. If you want to play that card then allow me to play mine. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot… the list goes on, were all meat eaters, so surely that means meat eaters are also evil serial killers, right? No. Of course not, so can we agree to put this argument to bed now, as it really is a stupid one and just makes the arguer look like an idiot. Granted it is usually played at the end of debates when said party realises they have lost, but go out with dignity for goodness sakes. So, to clear up, no Hitler was not a vegetarian, but who cares if he was?

Keep smiling, Harrison.