I have spent the last 5 years traveling the world and I am constantly discovering new things about myself. The most surprising discovery was how much I would enjoy traveling by myself. I know a lot of people find this daunting and can’t ever imagine going to a movie by themselves, let alone another country! There are a million reasons why I love escaping solo, but here are some of the main advantages I found…
FORCES YOU OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
We are creatures of habit and are most comfortable in our own surroundings. However, the minute you step off a plane and find yourself in a new city, you are completely out of your comfort zone. It is only common to feel a mix of emotions such as anxious, scared, clueless, etc. It is how you overcome these emotions that make this an advantage.
Think about some of the things you do on a daily basis that you had to experience a first time at some point, such as your first time driving alone or the first time you went shopping alone. At first, it is scary and you can’t help but worry about what other people think, but you overcome your fears and it eventually becomes something that is a part of your daily routine without even thinking about it. I find traveling alone is similar…the more you do it, the more comfortable you become!
PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO “FIND YOURSELF”
This is such an “East, Pray, Love” cliché, however it is so true! You will discover new things about yourself that you never realized. You may be shy but then discover that you prefer being around others which in turn forces you to go out and meet people. Or you may discover that you prefer relaxing on a beach with a great book on your own. Bottom line, you will conquer fears or embrace the solitude. You will discover what makes you happy.
IT IS CHEAPER!
This by far is a fantastic reason to travel on your own. So many hotels or lodgings provide single occupancy rooms which are much cheaper than a double room. Not to mention that you become in charge of where your money goes. You decide where you want to stay, where you want to eat or even what activities or excursions you want to do. You aren’t stuck having to spend your money on doing something you don’t want to do just to satisfy your travel companions.
YOU CAN MAKE FRIENDS WAY EASIER!
This has been one of my favourite reasons to travel solo. When you have companions with you, you are less likely to go out of your way to talk to other people you may come across on your travels. You are less likely to stop and chat up a local, whether you are looking for directions or just someone to talk to. When you are by yourself, you will find that it is much easier to interact with strangers.
Also, locals love talking to tourists and learning where they are from or why they are in their countries. This also allows for a more cultural experience for you because you can in turn find out more about them and their countries. I always find myself making new friends almost everywhere I go, many of which I still keep in touch with! This also can provide other travel opportunities if you don’t live in the same place 🙂
BOOSTS YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
You will definitely gain confidence as a solo wanderer. You may find yourself in situations that you have to problem solve your way out of or challenge your abilities. Powering through these situations and succeeding is such a confidence booster and you will end up feeling quite good about yourself. One of the most basic situations is navigating around an unknown city. Whether you are using an app, a map or relying on your personal compass, getting yourself from point A to point B using your own skills is such a rewarding feeling.
Above all, my favourite thing about traveling on my own is….
YOU CAN BE COMPLETELY SELFISH!
This is one of those times where it is completely acceptable to be totally selfish. Traveling alone allows you to do whatever you want! The first obvious thing is deciding where you want to go. You can go wherever you want without compromising with your companions and having to justify to anyone why you should go somewhere. Once you are at said destination, you can do WHAT YOU WANT! You can decide what activities or excursions you want or not want to do, where you want to eat or even if you want to eat, whether you take sometime out of your busy day of sightseeing to have a nap or a rest, whether you make a coffee stop to just sit and people watch while taking in your surroundings, or even if you want to go to bed early so you can get up early to sightsee or hit the beach. The decisions are 100% yours and yours alone!
Of course with all the millions of reasons to travel solo, there are precautions that one should take. The most important precaution is making sure you are going somewhere that is considered “safe”. We live in a very dangerous world today and things can happen if you don’t act responsibly.
- Always make sure someone knows where you are going, where you are staying and how to reach you.
- Always research your destination and make sure you are fully aware of the security risks.
- Always keep your valuables safely stored in the safe at your accommodation and don’t flaunt around your money.
- Be responsible. Be aware. Be safe.
Happy (solo) travels xx