Why should you travel solo? Because it’s the best thing you could ever do. Traveling solo can seem daunting and kind of scary. I know because I used to be afraid of doing it. I have had lots of travel experiences with my family and friends. My sister and I went on a backpacking trip together and that is what started my thirst for exploring the world.
I knew that I wanted to do it one day because my dad did a six month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia and raved about how it basically changed him as a person and made him more open and more personable, and how it was basically the best six months of his life. That always inspired me to want to do that too, but it always seemed like something scary and daunting. I just decided one day that I wanted to do this more than ever and I’m here to tell you that it’s really a lot easier and simpler than you might think.
I’m just going to tell you about the reasons why I think you should travel solo and why I enjoyed traveling solo and why I want to continue to travel solo.
Meet the Most Important People
The first reason is that you get confronted by the most important person in your life, yourself. You are forced to be with yourself 24/7 in a way that you’re not necessarily used to. We’re always used to being distracted by our daily lives, our routines, and the other people in our lives, but when we’re traveling alone we’re going through every single minute of every day with the only constant being ourselves and that really teaches you a lot. You wouldn’t be able to learn this otherwise given all of the other distractions in everyday life. I think it’s really important. I think that if you can get to know yourself and what makes you tick and discover your issues and how to push yourself past them that is going to set you up for so much greatness in life and so much more happiness. When you can push past those issues and obstacles that creates a better version of yourself.
Create Your Own Happiness
The second thing I learned is how to create my own happiness. When you’re feeling down and you’re at home its very tempting to just call your mom, call your boyfriend, your girlfriend or your best friend, and just tell them you’re having a bad day. That’s what’s so great about having friends and family, that’s what they’re there for. When you’re on the other side of the world and the time is completely opposite, it’s your day and their night, and you can’t call anyone you only have yourself to pick yourself back up and only have yourself to enjoy these incredible places. At first it was quite challenging to be able to do that, but you’re going to have that breakthrough. For me personally, I was having a really hard time and then I ended up just pushing past it and renting a bicycle and biking around Bruges, Belgium and having the most incredible day, just by myself. It was just this breakthrough where I thought I can be so happy just with myself and that is one of the most important lessons you can learn in life, just how to be happy on your own and how to create your own happiness. Once you’re able to do that you have so much more independence and freedom and confidence in yourself and then you can give so much more when you’re not always relying on other people.
Do Whatever You Want
The third advantage to traveling alone is that you can do whatever you want. You don’t have to go to the museum if you don’t want to. You can go to that cafe if you’re feeling hungry. You don’t have anyone to answer to. If you want to take a train to Paris you have the freedom to do that too. If you can’t find good travel buddies then this is incredible and such a blessing because people travel so differently. People travel at different paces and want to do different things and have different experiences. Maybe you want to just have a solitary kind of experience or maybe you want to be out there meeting people all the time. Whatever it may be you can just do whatever you want. You don’t have to sacrifice or compromise your schedule. It’s really freeing to just be able to be like “Hey I feel like going somewhere warm right now, I’m just going to head over to India,” which is exactly what I did.
Something I want to point out is that you’re never actually alone. You can choose when you want to be alone and when you want to socialize. I really enjoyed having those days where I was alone. It just kind of happened that I was never actually alone. I was just constantly talking to other people and then I ended up spending time with them and going out and doing excursions with them. Then at some point even traveling with them. It really gets you out of your comfort zone. Even if you think that you’re a friendly and extroverted person when you come downstairs into a full hostile common room and you’re just by yourself you could either sit there in complete solitude and not talk to anyone or you can push yourself and initiate the conversation and end up meeting the coolest people. Being alone pushes you to get out of that comfort zone and to just say hi. At the end of the day we’re all people and we’re all just looking for interaction and being alone definitely forces you to become more outgoing.
I used to be afraid to just say hi to someone and now even back home I sort of have this mindset where I can just say “Hi, how’s it going?” and then all of a sudden I meet this really cool person with this really cool life. Now we’re friends and it’s opened so many more doors.
The people that you meet on your trip are truly incredible people whether they are vocal or not. They can share with you what it’s truly like to live and be part of the society that you’re visiting which is so valuable as a traveler. If you’re just going to all the tourist sites, but you’re not actually meeting locals and asking about their experiences living in that area then you’re not truly experiencing. Meeting locals is one of the most important ways to see a city or a new culture. When you’re alone you’re a lot more approachable. You may still feel that pressure to talk to people. Whether they be locals or other travelers they’re just going to be super awesome down to earth people who are in a similar situation as you.
Another benefit of making friends with travelers is that they live all over the world and chances are you’ll get a new couch to stay on wherever they live!
This was my experience traveling alone. Lots of people have asked me how I did it and said they’re afraid to travel alone. I really want to drive home that once you’re doing it you really do ask yourself why was I so afraid to do this in the first place? It is so incredible and liberating and easy and fun. You’re never actually alone. I hope this has inspired you to travel solo!