I am a firm advocate of travelling alone. It's something I'd always planned on doing, and it has manifold advantages. For example, my inability to plan anything wont irritate anyone if there's nobody there to be irritated. Also, when you're alone you have no choice but to make new friends. But most of all, I like travelling alone because it means I can do whatever I want, whenever suits me. Of course I love meeting up with friends while travelling, but there are very few people I would set out to travel with for an extended amount of time.
Despite this predilection for going solo, today is the first time I've spent time by myself in the past month. And while I'm usually quite content in my own company, I am currently well into my allocated 24 hour self-pity period, where I do nothing more strenuous than sit in the sunshine, listen to This American Life episodes, and generally feel sorry for myself. This is all because I have spent the past month in the constant company of Courtney, with whom I took a whirlwind tour of Europe. And during this trip - between seeing Steven Fry in Edinburgh and meeting Drake's white twin in Paris, going to an underground German hip-hop club and almost getting shot by palace guards with the drunkest man in Sweden - I realised that travelling with someone else has a whole lot of advantages of it's own.
Things are more hilarious, more delicious, more ridiculous if you're with someone else. When I've traveled alone I've been lucky enough to find people who I could share my experiences with easily. And while I was travelling with Courtney we found plenty of other people who made our trip much more fun and memorable than it would have been if we'd only hung around with each other. But a shared history and an established shared sense of humor makes a world of difference.
I'm not saying that I wont love travelling alone anymore, or that I'd rather travel with an entourage from now on. In fact, I'm glad the next lot of travel I do will be alone again, because the past month was so perfect that anything comparable would probably be something of a let down. But it's definitely something I'm now open to doing again. Going back to the real world is going to be a hell of a struggle. The end of this trip also marked the first time I felt properly sad to be back in London, which makes me think my time here is rapidly coming to an end. As much as I'm loathe - and surprised - to say it, I think it's almost time for me to move on.