If you have never solo-travelled, you can’t imagine what an essential life experience it is. Everyone should do it because of all the ways it makes you grow and learn…
How Much Misconception There is About Solo Travel
If you have ever solo-travelled I guarantee you have heard your friends, family or colleagues say something along the lines of “Isn’t it dangerous?’, “What? You went ALONE?” or even possibly “Are you crazy?”
Most people just don’t give credit to the fact that solo travel is a viable option that brings with it a tonne of benefits quite distinct from other forms of travel.
Uppermost, in my opinion, is that you learn so much about yourself. And while not everything you learn will be positive, that’s fine too because solo travel itself will teach you new skills and also provide plenty of opportunity for self-reinvention. For that reason alone, it is an experience not to be missed.
While community is one of the most valuable things we have, being too dependent upon others can be a serious failing. And yep, travelling solo can make this dependency all too painfully obvious.
If you are used to having ‘your man’ do all the heavy lifting, rely on your girl friend to wash or cook for you or expect your social group to determine what you will be doing on the weekend, you may feel the pinch.
Solo travel will teach you to be responsible for your own direction, your plans, your entertainment, your meals…and your washing!
In saying that, after a possibly rocky beginning, you will adapt, learn what you need to – and undoubtedly find your new-found self reliance amazingly empowering.
Back in your home country you may have felt overwhelmed by your life. But leaving it behind can give you the space you need to see the world – and your place in it – in a different light. Struggles that may have appeared insurmountable soon start to seem manageable in your mind. New possibilities occur to you. Old pains can start to seem like new beginnings.
Travel changes you – and thereby changes how you perceive the world around you.
Not only do you begin to look at your own life differently, you can begin to see those around you in a new light. Visiting less developed countries especially, and forming friendships with locals can give you greater understanding of other people’s ways of life.
Keep an open mind and you can tap into a more sincere empathy for people less fortunate than you…which is soon followed by an even greater gratitude for your own life and all the opportunity you have.
It brings home to you why you should make use of the options you have…and why many of the things that used to keep you awake at night might be best classified as #firstworldproblems.
Being alone and self-reliant in your home country provides potential enough to reveal flaws and highlight areas where you lack. But being alone while travelling does so even more.
This is because travel is always throwing new experiences at you and requires you to constantly roll with the punches. If you struggle with talking to strangers, being decisive, trying new things – or any of the myriad of other things you will need to do to get by in foreign lands – it will become glaringly obvious even after just a few weeks of travel.
But again, solo travel forces you to take a deep breathe and deal with it. After all, if you don’t do something you might be stuck in the middle of nowhere – you can’t exactly call your mum/brother/partner to come pick you up.
But as you meet these challenges, gradually, they will cease to become challenging over time, and you can add that new skill to your arsenal.
Travel – solo or otherwise – is adventurous, partly because something always happens that you don’t anticipate. Be it unexpected political upheavals, delayed transportation or bad weather, travel is always throwing you into new situations that require you to be decisive.
You find yourself fully responsible for your health and well-being in a foreign land and those survival instincts start to kick in.
Solo travel will stretch you and push you by putting you in situations you might never encounter back home. Trying to communicate with people that don’t speak your language, having to haggle just to buy a simple item, and navigating strange airports around the world will increase all kinds of dormant skills.
But after awhile you start to get into ‘the zone’ and your problem-solving muscles start to grow…big-time.
How To Connect With People
When you are surrounded by your social group, in your own city, in your home country, it can be easy to feel connected and nurtured by your peers – but you can miss out on the opportunity to learn to quickly connect with new people.
Travelling alone can make that glaringly obvious. But if you stick at it, you will start to learn how easy it can be. And how un-lonely solo travel really is once you get into the swing of things!
Here are a few more ideas to help you Make Friends And Meet People As A Solo Traveller.
Do you solo travel? What did it teach you? Alternatively, are you planning a trip soon? Let me know in the comments below.