July 19, 2024


Cheers/ bwb-images
Cheers! / bwb-images


Friends, as well as readers, often remark that they are surprised that I frequently travel alone.  They wonder why and ask how I can possibly enjoy this solo approach to travel.  I have to admit, there are pro’s and con’s to being a solo traveler.  Of course, I enjoy traveling with others.  It’s great to share your experiences “in the moment.” So absolutely, I can enjoy non-solo travel and have traveled with others – with family and friends, and and groups. But I have also  traveled totally solo.  Each style of travel is different.  Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages.  Still, many people I talk with are hard pressed to understand that there are advantages to solo travel.  With that in mind I thought that, from time to time I would write about some of the advantages of solo travel.  As I’ve thought about it, there are really quite a few advantages to solo travel.  Here is one reason I travel alone.



tripod shooter1
The Solo Photographer – up early, stalking that “special photo”, sometimes in less than ideal conditions.

Let me start with a bit of a disclaimer.  Yes, I know that you can be a photographer and still travel with others.  Absolutely, no question about it.  But here I’m focusing (if you’ll kindly  excuse the pun) on the advantages for a photographer who is traveling solo.

A travel photographer generally has a different set of priorities from other travelers.  As a photographer I am drawn to locations, events, activities and places which offer a notable visual element.  And when I am around those elements I am looking for the best perspective from which to capture the visual images and the best manner to make the photograph to provide optimal results.  Another traveler might want to be involved with and  experiencing the location or the event.  The photographer in me  is more likely to be occupied with recording the event.  True, sometimes you can do both – but it’s difficult.  And if a photographer has to make a choice – he or she is going to do what photographers do – eschew participation in favor of observation.  This can make a photographer a rather poor traveling companion. Trust  me on this – I have it on good authority.

A photographer is frequently on a different time schedule than other travelers.  Why?  Because a photographer is always concerned with the light.  I want to be at locations when the light is best for the subject.  Most often this is early in the morning.  Being at the right location at first light means getting up very early and traveling to a location in the dark and then sitting and waiting for sunrise.  To accomplish this it frequently means getting to bed early the night before.  So as a travel photographer I am mostly the “early to bed and early to rise” guy. Other travelers are often on a totally opposite schedule.  They want to enjoy the night life and activities  of their travel adventure and then sleep in a bit in the morning.  And who can blame them?  But you can’t do it all.  So I’m the travel photographer who is the “party pooper,” heading to bed early so I can catch that morning light.

But for a photographer it’s worth it.    If I am traveling with others I really don’t want to be a jerk (comments from some previous travel companions notwithstanding) so I try to find a good balance between being a travel photographer and being a travel companion. But if I’m traveling alone – well, there is no need to work at that balance. I can be a photographer in a very self absorbed and selfish kind of way.  Bottom line – I am a better photographer and make better photographs when I travel alone.  That’s a big advantage of solo travel. And if I’m traveling solo – I try to take advantage of it.

So there you have it.  If I find myself in a situation where I need to travel alone I can shift into photographer mode and make the most of the opportunity.  And if the primary purpose of my journey is to make photographs – well then, I’m not much fun as a travel companion as I hunt my next photo.

Solo Travel ……… And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker

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