There was once a time in my life when the thought of travelling solo felt like a daunting thing…being by yourself in a foreign (and sometimes) non-English speaking country without a familiar soul in sight? I agree it can certainly feel lonely, tiring and somewhat more challenging at times, but you ALWAYS come out stronger on the other side.
It wasn’t until I had just turned 21, working and feeling terribly unhappy in my job that I was no longer going to wait any longer. After months of deliberation and indecision (and begging someone to join me), I decided it was time to take the plunge and just go solo. And little did I know at the time, that would be one of the BEST decisions I have ever made! Reflecting back over the past 8 months, I have now travelled solo.. twice.. and couldn’t feel more accomplished in myself as I currently do.
One of the reasons I had deliberated in the first place, was purely based on the fear of the unknown. Always in the past I had travelled with someone, so the thought of solo travelling was frightening and nerve-racking on a whole other level. I began to question myself and my capabilities, and soon enough my initial excitement I had felt soon turned to self-doubt as I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
BUT let me tell, it really isn’t horrible at all! If anything it teaches you, teaches you life experience that you cannot learn anywhere else. And the unknown is no longer the unknown. It is in act, the most exciting of times!
All it takes is a leap of courage!
Meet new people
Unlike when you travel with a group of friends, family or partner, you don’t necessarily feel the urge to interact with other people. Whether it be in the hotel or hostel you are staying at or even in the street, cafés, restaurants and bars, you are more likely to stick to yourselves and what you know and are familiar with. On the other hand, when you are by yourself and have no friends (quite literally) it forces you to interact with other people and make friends. And sometimes in the most unexpected ways, these people can become lifelong friends.
When you travel solo, you can do what you want when you want! This means you have complete control over where you are going to eat, what attractions you want to visit and/or skip and how long will be spent at each given place. You would be surprised just how much you can cram into one day when it’s just you, a map and your legs. None of that unnecessary stuff…and definitely no complaining, winging and petty arguments.
That comfort zone and independence
Like I have already mentioned previously, fear of the unknown is a frightening place…until you have the courage to defeat it! Step out of your comfort zone and experience first hand the wonders of the world. You will never know what you are truly capable of if you don’t throw yourself in the deep end. Solo travelling forces you in a state of self-reliance and independence faster than anything else will. And if things get hard, you will always come out stronger!
Luggage and directions
Travelling by yourself also means, you have to carry your oh so heavy bags of luggage up flights of stairs, on public transport and through airports and if you aren’t the lightest of packers (like me!) it can get quite challenging and stressful at times. Fortunately, there always seems to be a helping hand (80-90% of the time) willing to help whether on the street, airport or hotel. Same goes for directions, you can spot a lost person holding a map and wandering aimlessly around from a mile away! Someone will see you struggle and more often than not be there to lend a helping hand. It feels nice to be fussed over sometimes.
Take Shameless Selfies
You can take selfies like it’s no one’s business! And probably by the end of your trip, you’ll be an expert at it.
Get lost in another country
That feeling when you don’t know what day of the week it is but it’s okay because you are on holidays. Or that feeling you don’t have a care in the world as you immerse yourself in another culture. It’s a great feeling.