Travel alone is a myth. Taking on the world without a companion is one of the most liberating, life-changing things you can do as a traveler. Is it scary? Yes. Completely out of your comfort zone? Most likely. But the benefits far outweigh the cons with solo travel. Having time to ponder, reflect and enjoy your own company not only does wonders for mental wellbeing, but it can actually improve your relationships with others. There’s no other life experience quite like it, and everyone should do it at least once.
But what about safety, you say? As long as you plan, research and take the right precautions, you shouldn’t have any problems. Here’s how to travel alone responsibly, and the reasons why you need to give it a try.
Travel alone will be independence & empowerment
Travelers who go on solo adventures often talk about how empowered they feel when they return from a trip. They usually come back a new person with a fresh perspective on life. Solo travel represents freedom, independence, and of course wanderlust. It also allows you to create your own schedule of everything you want to do, including when and how you want to do it!
Challenges will teach you new things about yourself
On your first solo trip, you’ll face all sorts of new situations. How you react to them may be a surprise even to yourself. Solo travel is great for introspection and self-awareness. It allows you to sit with your discomfort as well as your happiness. In my case, it helped me to understand and dissect my struggles with social anxiety.
Being on my own in countries I had never been to tested me and challenged the way I thought about things. Since I was in charge of my schedule, I allowed myself time to examine my reactions to situations I faced, and in turn, I deepened my understanding of and relationship with myself. While my social anxiety is by no means cured, I have a better grasp of it which has led to new coping mechanisms and acceptance of moments I need to take a step back.
Little wins along the way make it worth it
Even if you’re certain that you prefer traveling with other people, it can be a fun challenge to figure things out on your own on a solo trip. For me, even the little things like getting from point A to point B in a country that doesn’t speak English were a big victory. Designing your ideal itinerary, planning it, and navigating uncharted territory is like completing a jigsaw puzzle. When you finish it, you can look back and know you did it all by yourself. What’s more satisfying than that?!
You can plan YOUR perfect trip
Half the fun of travel is in the planning. No arguments, no compromises, no worrying about whether the food in India will upset your partner’s fragile constitution. Let your imagination run wild, think of all the places you’ve always dreamed of visiting, find an adventure tour and make it happen!
You could start learning another language
To really make the most of your trip away, learning a bit of the local language can really help you get to know the places you are visiting and the people who live there. Travelling alone means you’ll be much more likely to interact with the locals and pick up some language skills along the way.