THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELLING SOLO
Traveling solo can be incredibly daunting. The thought of feeling lonely and homesick stops many from packing their bags and going it on their own, but if you can pluck up the courage, you likely won’t regret it. Here, we’re taking a look at why you might just want to take your next trip unaccompanied.
LEARNING TO RELY ON YOURSELF
We are a social species, having evolved to rely on each other for just about everything. As such, we draw much of our sense of self from those with whom we choose to mingle with. It can be hard to imagine tearing yourself away from the people you associate with — from those you love, or even those you don’t. But with distance comes a fresh perspective.
When you choose to travel solo, you’re the one who controls the itinerary, and accompanying that freedom is the necessity of personal responsibility. With nobody to hold your hand or confer with, you’ll likely make a few mistakes, but look at those mistakes as lessons. You might make a few errors when traveling alone, but owning them and seeing the challenges through will make the experience all the more rewarding.
Traveling to “find yourself” might seem like a cliché, but time alone on the road will have you realise why the phrase has become so commonplace. With no one but yourself to rely on, you discover which parts of yourself are connected to people you know and which come from within. Breaking away from the loops and routines you shape your life around (even if inadvertently) may cause you a fair bit of homesickness, but it also offers the opportunity to forge new pathways of personality. As you discover new places, you’ll confront aspects of yourself that you would have never faced within the safety of routine.
DISCOVERING THE BEAUTY OF THE UNEXPECTED
Whether it’s missed connections, spontaneous changes of plan, or random encounters, rolling with the punches is the key to enjoying the experience of solo travel. Our daily lives revolve so heavily around routine, so accepting the unexpected is difficult. But one of the benefits of traveling by yourself is that you will develop the capacity to weather the uncertainty that comes with not having familiarity to fall back on. At the very least, you’ll end up with great stories from your journey.
PUSHING YOURSELF… OR NOT
Traveling alone isn’t all about self-discovery. While you’ll have many days when you have to push yourself to meet new people and find new experiences, you’ll also have the opportunity to simply slack off and spend an occasional day by yourself.
Not having a group or companion to consider when making plans can be liberating in the sense that your time is wholly your own. You might spend a day exploring back streets, or delving into a creative endeavour that you’ve never tried before, or finding a quiet bench from which you can people-watch for hours — your possibilities are defined only by your ambition.
When traveling by yourself, you’re the only person who can take initiative. Should you want to go somewhere or partake in an activity, you might find that being on your own, rather than in a group, will make you all the more approachable. Groups of people that know each other well enough to journey together can often be less receptive to newcomers as they throw around inside jokes and past memories. Without familiar faces to depend on for banter, you’ll learn to put yourself out there and meet people on your own terms. Also, rather than having the attention of other people and groups distributed among your friends, you will be the sole focus of the people you come to meet.
Taking time to indulge the side of you that can sleep in late or read a good book for hours on end does wonders for your peace of mind. With nobody to hold you to a schedule, it can be positive to spend time by yourself. Learning to be selfish in this way will help you understand that you're a master of your own self.
So, when planning your next voyage away from home, consider making it a solo one. While it may seem daunting to venture into the unknown alone, you may find your journey to be even more fulfilling. It may be scary, and you may feel out of your depth at times, but persevere and you’ll discover the world in new light. The paths you walk are yours and yours alone.