Dustin Pfundheller is just a guy who wanted to see the world with his own eyes.
He made an effort to keep an open mind and an open heart–open to all people of all races, religions, and ethnicities. He continually encouraged himself to be outgoing and assertive so that he could meet locals in each country and place he visited.
Travelling Solo caught up with Dusty to find out his secrets to travelling solo.
“Many people are shocked to hear that I enjoy traveling solo. However, I have travelled solo to nearly every country in the world and have learned that though it’s certainly enjoyable to have a loving partner, an adventurous friend, or a generous parent along, there are also many advantages to traveling solo, so don’t rule it out!”
Here’s a bit of a list:
There’s always room for just one more! Be the one!
You can be the +1 on a bus, flight, or tour. There have been several tours or other activities where there has been only one available spot remaining. Even when full, often guides are willing to add just one more person.
Have it your way
Though the ability to compromise is a good character trait, reaching agreements takes time and results in both parties having to give in and give up something. Travelling solo means no need to compromise due to different interests, habits, or needs (i.e., smoking breaks, sleeping late), or physical abilities (trying adventurous activities such as mountain climbing, running to catch a bus, etc.)- thus saving time and frustration. Once I arrived to Mount Fuji mid afternoon and the last bus left at 5:30pm. I had to run up and down the mountain to make it on time. Another time, a guide I hired timed me hiking to the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan. It took me two hours and fifteen minutes. He remarked that the typical tourist spends five hours hiking the same route – giving me nearly 3 extra hours. If I had been with another person, I would have climbed more slowly to the Tiger’s Nest and would have missed touring the city of Paro, Bhutan. However, the world would not be a very nice place if we were not willing to compromise or make concessions for others. Therefore, I’m not promoting selfishness, I’m just listing some not-so-obvious examples of travelling solo. If you hate modern art, you can skip that museum. If you love art museums, you can stay there all day. Planning is simpler, too!
You can travel whenever you have a couple days free – often for an extended weekend. You don’t have to wait until vacations or days off line up.
When you are by yourself, you tend to look less like a tourist and more like a local; pickpockets often assume that tourists carry a lot of money; thus you may not be as much of a target for pickpocketing.
Be Open to Opportunity
Make a Local Friend: If you interact with locals, you’re more likely to experience the culture. Locals are often ready and eager to show off their city. When you’re alone, locals are more likely to approach you. If you’re with others, they may feel that approaching you would be intrusive. Most people assume you’d rather interact with your travel partner. When folks learn you are alone and open to learning about their culture, they may invite you to their homes, gatherings, and celebrations. I accompanied locals to their weddings, graduations, and family reunions. They’ve taken me to experience the local nightlife and to eat at their favorite restaurants – which I never would have discovered on my own. I often stayed overnight at the homes of locals. They would offer whatever they had–a couch, a mat on the floor–or they often insisted I take the best bed in the house. I have learned that people all around the world are generous, trusting, and kind.