Travelling solo is one of the most gloriously liberating, eye-opening, memoir-worthy experiences you can have. Yet many people find the idea paralyzing, letting their anxieties get in the way of packing that bag and buying a one-way ticket for one. Here’s five reasons you should take a deep breath and take yourself travelling.
1. You’ll make amazing new friends.
When you’re alone you’re more approachable. People are more likely to strike up a conversation when you’re not already engrossed in private jokes with your travel buddy. Chances are, without the comfort of a friend to lean on, you’re more likely to approach new people too. Travelling alone, especially if you stay in hostels, you’re almost guaranteed to make friends along the way- some of which will stay in your heart for a lifetime.
2. You’ll be free as a bird
When wandering on your own, you can leave with the vaguest of plans and return with stories gathered on a completely different itinerary. Maybe your next destination was Berlin- until you met a group of awesome Australians going to Prague. Maybe you were only going to stay in Florence for five days, fell in love with it and stayed for eleven. Maybe you fell in love with someone you met IN Florence… The possibilities are endless.
3. You’ll get an education- in you
Solo travel is like taking Self-Discovery 101. Crossing national borders solo often means crossing the borders of your comfort zone. Funnily enough, it’s when we’re the most uncomfortable that we grow. Discovering how you react to everything travel throws at you brings you face-to-face with you who are in sometimes startling, usually wonderful ways. We don’t take the time for self-discovery in everyday life. Solo world exploration forces us into self-exploration. It also teaches us to trust ourselves. After all, you’re a stranger in a strange land and the only person responsible for you is you. When you not only manage but thrive, it will become clear just how competent you really are.
4. You’ll start believing that it really will all be okay
Trust in yourself, and trust in the universe. There will be times when travelling solo is a little scary. Not having your usual support system can be terrifying, especially at the times when you’re not sure how things are going to work out. Spoiler: They always do. Whether your day is saved by friendly locals or the sudden appearance of another train, everything is going to be okay. You just have to be patient. Travelling alone is a great way to develop that patience, and your ability to trust that if it’s not okay, it isn’t over.
5. You’ll get your priorities in order
Travelling solo will change your life. When you meet new people and see new places, you discover just how many options there are out there, things you had never considered. You have the freedom to make decisions purely based on what is going to make you happy (and leave situations that make you unhappy) at the same time that you’re looking inwards to see what exactly it is that gives you bliss. When you’re heading home with a sense of what makes you happy and realization that you have permission to pursue it, the results are often nothing short of revolutionary.
Photos: Lordcolus, Mo Riza and jayneandd used under Creative Commons License