Thinking of taking that solo trip but not sure if it’s a good idea? So let me tell you – it definitely is! Not only will it be the greatest adventure but also, travelling solo will change your life forever.
Don’t get me wrong. I took some amazing trips with friends and made fantastic memories. Actually, for the first 30 years of my life, this was the only way I travelled.
You know, this once-a-year trip you were looking forward to for months, in the old days – still booked via a travel agency (yes I’m this old hahaha).
But one day I found myself with a week off from work when none of my friends was free or able to join me. So I decided to go alone. And the rest is history. Below I will explain a bit more on why this trip didn’t exactly go very well.
So without further jibber-jabber from me here are 7 main reasons why I believe travelling solo will change your life. Forever. Because it definitely changed mine.
You will become more open-minded – travelling is the best teacher
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”Mark Twain
This a good old quote yet so truthful. While travelling you will meet and come across people of different backgrounds and cultures. You will find yourself in awe of how beautifully diverse the world is.
From simple things like trying different cuisines to learning the history of the country, its culture and traditions. It will naturally open your mind. Over time, you will find yourself richer in new experiences but also more understanding of the fact that we are all so different yet so similar. And this applies not only to solo travel but to travel in general.
I am not absolutely saying that those who don’t travel are prejudiced bigots, or that all travellers are open-minded, tolerant, all-loving souls. This would be an exaggerated and untrue statement. Travel is not ‘necessary’ to open your mind or become any of those things I mention here. Yet if I came across bigotry or prejudice, more often than not, it was coming from a person that either did not travel much or would just simply not leave their resort whilst on holiday. I am not saying that one can’t get educated without travelling but education and experience are two completely different things.
By experiencing different cultures, possibly learning another language and immersing in local traditions you enrich your life and grow consciousness – firstly of yourself.
Secondly, we all learn from each other, every day. The more we experience – the wider spectrum of this learning will be. Spontaneously, you will become richer and more open-minded. Simply by opening up to new experiences, you allow your brain and heart to expand.
I could write about this forever, but I will just say one more thing and then we will move on 🙂 The media give us what they want us to hear or learn. At least the majority of the time. There is nothing better than the first-hand experience. Overwhelming is the number of times I have come across opinions about people and cultures of certain origins just to learn, later on, that the complete opposite was true.
You will meet your tribe – and you will find ‘your people’ outside of your travels
These days I do think travelling alone is better than travelling in the wrong company. As I said earlier I travelled to many destinations with a friend or friends in my 20th and 30s. I travelled with ex-boyfriends too 🙂 But I must say that these days, I do prefer to travel alone. How this have anything to do with making friends?
Travelling solo is an incredible adventure and having someone around moaning or just staying by the pool or arguing is such a bummer. But when you’re out there all on your own you are in full control of who you spend your time with, if at all. And it is more likely you will meet others just like you.
Naturally, you will open up to people more, it’s nice to talk to someone at the end of the day! And very likely, there will be others craving a nice chat but also sharing the same passion of travel. Those people will most likely be enhancing your travels and maybe even become your friends. I had the most interesting conversations with strangers, and those were often very meaningful conversations.
Also, you will learn how important it is to surround yourself with the right tribe. People who will uplift you, have passions for life and discovery, with a positive outlook on life and are open-minded – just like you. Life is too short to force yourself into relationships which don’t make you happy. And once you start travelling, you realise it even more. You will learn to appreciate the comfort of inner peace. You will not want people in your life who will consciously or unconsciously destroy it.
I know, this may sound harsh. But the truth is, it is very important who we let close to our hearts. As I have learnt to appreciate my own company more and more, I have also learnt that it’s fine to let go of toxic people and just surround yourself with good energy. It’s not selfish. It’s self-caring.
You will become less materialistic – and create a healthier relationship with money
When you need to take just one bag with you, oh boy. That’s me at least. Maybe you travel with 2 cases – then good on you. I, however, try to save money and (especially on shorter trips) take hand luggage only. In the old days, I used to take so much stuff, you know, just in case. And often came back home not wearing or using any of those.
Now I am planning exactly what I will wear each day and take only those things. Nothing just in case. And it’s been fine. I have a longer trip coming up soon and planning to pack all I need in one small backpack.
It’s funny how little we actually, really need. But most importantly you will learn to appreciate things that are not things and the ‘things’ will not matter any more.
The road trip you took, the sunset you’ve witnessed, this swim in the sea, white sand on the beach, you conquered that mountain? Did you learn new words in Spanish? Are you proud of yourself? Those are ‘things’ that matter so much more than that new pair of shoes or bag. Have you met fascinating people and heard amazing life-changing stories? Did you just learn that you are capable of things you never thought you are? Those ‘things’ are so much more fulfilling than getting a new shiny car.
‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’Anonymous
And to top it up you will end up having a healthier relationship with money. At least this became true for me. I learnt how to save – because if I didn’t I would not be able to go anywhere. And I learnt how much or how little money can buy me. I just needed to learn how to prioritise. Money stopped being mean to acquire more things so I look better or am more accepted. Money became a tool I use to create and achieve goals in life. I try to create a life which will make me happy. I don’t rely on things or people to achieve it for me.
You will gain more confidence and get to know yourself better
You will go outside of your comfort zone and get to know yourself better. If you want to grow muscle, you need to lift weights, and they only grow when you push through the pain. You will grow the muscle called life once you push through the pain and go out of your comfort zone. There is nothing more incredible than finding out you can do things you could not do before.
Travelling solo will teach you to love your company. Yes, you will meet people on the road but you will be on your own more often than not. Unless you meet a travel buddy with the same itinerary and decide to go along together. This however never has happened to me and I was never particularly seeking it.
When I went on my first solo holiday (it actually was a holiday – I don’t call them this way anymore lol) it was a disaster. I went at the very wrong time in my life, and felt generally lonely and lost and going away all by myself only accelerated this feeling.
And that’s what it is. Whatever state of mind and heart you are at this given moment, spending a lot of time just with yourself will bring out more to the surface.
But this is fine. We go through life hiding from ourselves. Our feelings, past wounds and unrecognised patterns. The only way to heal and build a healthier life is to face those demons. Hence I say travelling isn’t running away from your problems. It’s the complete opposite. It’s running towards them. It can be a long and painful process. but understanding why we are the way we are, why we feel how we feel and what are we built of, is very liberating.
On that first trip, I cried a lot and was very down for the first few days. Everything I was sad about before I left – surfaced and became overwhelming. It eventually got better and I ended up enjoying the trip and relaxed more in my solitude.
And when the following year I booked my next solo trip (yes, I did it again!) I only booked 5 days. Just in case. And then what happened? I had a blast. I loved going exactly where I wanted to go, and doing what I wanted to do. I took a good uplifting book with me (it was ‘Eat Pray Love’ – very appropriate) and just relaxed to my loneliness. And when the trip was over I was gutted I didn’t book more days.
And this is how it started. I am not saying I am now healed, fully confident person. Far from that. But I have moved forward on my ‘development’ journey so much that this first trip feels like it was in a different life. Many other things contributed to this but definitely travelling solo, going outside of my comfort zone and spending quality time with my best friend – me, was a massive factor!
There is no point going through life pretending we are someone else and trying to please others. We tend to hide in the business and all that chaos and noise around us. It’s easier not to meet ourselves in silence. This can be very frightening. But without it, nothing will ever change. The only way to find out who we really are is to be with yourself in silence.
You will become braver – and learn what you are capable of
I never bungee jumped. And I don’t think I ever will. But, never say never. Although I did a lot of things I never thought I would do or even was capable of. So I don’t have the need to do things that are not appealing to me only to prove that I’m brave. Because I know I am 🙂
Solo travel alone is an act of bravery. And if you do it you should be very proud of yourself. You have to be independent, find or ask your way around, go solo hikes, often order a table for one in the restaurant and be vigilant walking around the busy town in the evenings. You will talk to strangers, try to communicate in a language you hardly understand, and deal with unexpected situations all by yourself. This, for me, is a sign of ultimate bravery. And the rest will follow. As you unleash your inner hero you will inevitably become more adventurous. So maybe one day I will do a Bungee jump 🙂 Maybe ….
You will become more independent
When there is no one to ask for advice – you have to make your own decisions. And you need to trust yourself. Sometimes it turns up it wasn’t a good decision after all, but this is fine. You will learn and move on. Planning your trip, finding your way around and researching the country you are in, is very exciting. Making mistakes can be exciting as well. Always be careful though. Please, don’t mix up bravely for stupidity. But I trust you won’t 🙂
I think that being able to fully depend only on yourself is very empowering. It obviously comes with hassle too. Dragging your bag with no help (importance of travelling light), no one to take photos of you (I hardly ever take selfies hence not too many pictures of me here), and maybe a few more.
But all those little cons are really small downfalls in comparison to all the pros. This newfound independence will carry over to your ‘ non-travel’ world. Inevitably, you will find yourself being able to cope with many more unexpected events or problems in life without the support of others.
And by the way, I am absolutely not saying that the support of others is a bad thing. Many times I asked for help myself. Yet most of the time I don’t feel the need, naturally. And this is also a great way to feel free. Not lonely. Just free.
While travelling solo you will become a better version of yourself
You will still be you – just better than before. Life is a journey. And most of the time it is a solo journey because there is no one out there who can ‘fix’ us or solve our issues. Just ourselves. And taking on this journey will let you discover new parts of yourself. They were always there, just buried in the everyday hassle and traffic of life.
Why travelling solo will change you forever? Because once you step on this path whether it’s a physical or emotional journey – there is no way you will want to ever go back to your old ways.
Going out there on your own, discovering who you really are and what you really need and want in life will create a much better version of who you were yesterday. It’s called growth. And it’s the ultimate meaning of life 🙂