People often say that solo travel is something that everyone should do at least once in their life. This is absolutely true. There is a unique and liberating feeling that comes with traversing the globe on your own. Solo travel can have many personal and long-lasting benefits as well as you being able to see and experience beautiful and intriguing far off lands.
It is also true that it may seem quite daunting for some even with the mass positivity that surrounds it on online blogs and forums. Concerns can still arise at the idea of travelling alone. Safety, loneliness, and homesickness are all potential and perfectly reasonable worries about solo travel. These worries can make it seem scary or even unappealing to travel alone.
However, the benefits, opportunities, and experience gained from solo travel do heavily outweigh the anxieties one may feel before making the leap. This article will explore the reasons why you should solo travel and how it can broaden your perspective on life and the world.
6 ways solo travel can open your mind and why you should go
There is a multitude of factors why you should consider solo travel. Those who have travelled alone could compile a long and varied list of their experiences and what they have meant to them. But certain aspects may be true for everyone. Here are 6 ways solo travel can open your mind and that could encourage you to go.
1. New cultures
Travelling alone will immediately mean you are thrown into a new culture that may be completely different from your own. This will open you up to a new way of life, new etiquettes, new foods, and new languages just to name a few. Seeing how others live, how they go about their day to day lives, and learning about the history of a place can be fascinating and compelling.
All these experiences can have a profound effect on your perspective. Leaving your comfort zone to be amongst something altogether different is something everyone should do on their own. It can make you recognise the vast differences of cultures that make up the globe, which leads to a much broader and reasoned perspective on life.
Being on your own can be an especially liberating experience. You have sole responsibility to decide to go where you want when you want and at a budget you can afford. You, and only you, get to decide. This may sometimes be unnerving but can also be exhilarating knowing that you have complete autonomy about where to go next and for how long.
If you’ve been on holiday with friends before you might recognise that you often need to compromise to ensure that everyone is happy. With solo travel, there is no need for this. This freedom may open you up to opportunities that you could have otherwise have bypassed in a group.
Of course, there will be times where you may have to adjust your plans. For example, if you meet other travellers and decide to travel with them for a while. But these circumstances will be up to you and can only mean the potential for positive and fulfilling experiences. Then you can decide to be on your own again as the decision is down to you.
3. Confidence and empowerment
Have you ever felt like you’ve lacked confidence in certain situations or just have a desire to become a more confident person? Solo travel may well be the solution to this. You can never be fully prepared for what comes your way when travelling alone. Having to manage by yourself in a foreign country (that’s potentially very different from your own) can be exceptionally character-building.
Decisions will have to be made by you. Perhaps when things don’t go to plan these decisions will have to be made under pressure. This will benefit you in becoming more assured of yourself and your decision making. There can be a great deal of pride in overcoming difficulties and problems by nothing more than your own machinations.
The whole experience can provide you with newfound confidence and an invaluable sense of empowerment, equipping you well for life and all the obstacles it entails.
4. Self-discovery and self-reflection
The common cliché about solo travel is the idea of ‘finding yourself’. You might be hesitant to use this as a reason for travelling alone or admit to it once your travelling is complete due to its status as a cliché. However, it is nonetheless true. ‘Finding yourself’ will happen in some capacity. It is inevitable, and it is enlightening.
There will be ample time for you to reflect on your life and decisions you have made, and to discover interests or abilities you never knew you had. Your whole perspective can alter and provide you with crucial time to take stock of your life.
These periods of self-reflection will come as a result of the experiences you have, the people you meet, and the places you see. Forming a new outlook on life and discovering aspects of your character you never knew existed can be invigorating. You might even start to mend some long-held anxieties, or realise what you want to do with your life.
Some answers to some very big questions might just start to appear.
5. Awareness of your surroundings
You are without the distractions of others on your own. You can commit all your senses to the world passing by around you. Full awareness of your surroundings means you can fully immerse yourself into a place or a community, leading to a more intense experience.
There is much more to travelling than the sights, the landmarks, or the activities. Just take a walk around the town or city you’re in and observe the streets and the people. Perhaps you could stop at a cafe and have a drink as you watch the world go by. Or maybe spend the majority of a bus or train journey gazing out at the passing scenery. You’ll be able to see things that you may otherwise have missed.
The subtleties of your surroundings can often be the most profound.
6. Friendships and meeting new people
What is truly most exciting and most memorable about travel is the people you meet and the relationships you build. You will find it much easier to speak to strangers and you are much more likely to be approached by strangers as a solo traveller. The time you spend with these people, although often fleeting, can be some of the fondest memories you’ll have.
You will meet people from all over the world who have chosen to do the exact thing you are doing. They will want to talk to you, and you will want to talk to them. It can be incredibly refreshing and uplifting to be surrounded by people from different countries who are in the exact same position as you. You will bond over your shared experiences and friendships will form.
Learning about people from other countries whilst you are exploring another culture together is endlessly eye-opening. These (often brief) moments of human connection can be the most affecting and poignant aspects of solo travel, and it will change you.
Even though you’re travelling alone, you’re never really alone.
Making the leap to solo travel
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of solo adventures. Everything from eating lunch by yourself to strolling in the park alone – all help to shape your sense of independence. If you’re never by yourself, how will you ever know yourself?
These 6 features of solo travel can sound exciting and appealing, but it all has to start with the decision to go travelling and for you to commit to it.
Do you want to explore new cultures and have full autonomy in doing so? Do you have a desire to gain confidence and discover new things about yourself? Do you yearn for life-changing experiences and opportunities to meet new and interesting people?
If you’ve answered yes, then this should provide you with the reasons to do it and give you the final push of courage to make the leap.
Your outlook and perspective on life and the world will broaden, and you will change for the better.
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