Why Travel Solo - Part 1
I never thought I would travel solo.
I used to feel really uncomfortable just sitting alone at a restaurant, so traveling by myself was not something I was even willing to consider.
A few years ago, while I was studying at college, I finally had a chance to take some time off and go travel. I had the perfect destination at the perfect timing and I just needed to find the perfect travel companion. I thought my friends would be thrilled to join me, but as it turned out, none of them could come. (Amen to that!)
I had only two options:
Stay home or go solo.
Thankfully, I chose to go solo.
This adventure totally changed me. Traveling alone has become my second nature. I am not the same person I was before.
It might sound like a bunch of clichés, but I can guarantee you that, for better or worse, it is a life changing experience.
Traveling solo is not everyone's cup of tea, but you’ll never know until you try.
So for those of you who are sitting on the fence, I give you my reasons why you should travel solo, at least once:
1. Be whoever you want to be.
If you had the chance to go somewhere new and start over, wouldn't you take it?
Of course, you can always relocate your home and your job to a new place, but traveling alone gives you the opportunity to do it without having to commit to the new place you are going to. You are anonymous, you are carefree, and you can be whoever you choose to be without having to deal with judgment by other people. Because frankly, if someone is judging you while you travel...well, Who cares? You don’t know them, you don’t owe them, and you can always go somewhere else.
Chittkul, Himachal Pradesh, India.
2. It’s not as scary or dangerous as people think.
Naturally, when you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before, you are more alert and sometimes more nervous and suspicious. In my blog I describe many crazy situations that I have experienced while traveling. A lot of the comments I get sounds like this:
“I admire you for going on your own...don't know if I could do that!“ “Not sure if I'd like to travel on my own. Maybe with a group or part of a tour.”
Truth to be told, fear is something that exist only in our head. It is a basic survival mechanism that has been preserved through evolution and helps keep us safe from danger. It’s OK to be scared sometimes, after all, it’s only natural and prevents us from doing stupid things that we might regret later. But we don’t want to be so fearful all the time that it would stop us from having a life and experiencing new things. Bad things could also happen in our backyard, but that doesn't mean that we are going to lock ourselves inside the house and never go out, right?
Well, most of us, I guess.
So go travel, be smart, trust your instincts, keep safe, be aware of the situations you put yourself into. Oh, and try not to die.
You’ll be fine. You might, God forbid, even like it.
3. Say goodbye to your comfort zone
You know that feeling when you have something in your life that isn’t great but it’s comfortable? It can be your job, your apartment, your relationship.
You have all the excuses you need: It’s boring but they pay well, it’s falling apart but you hate to move, you don’t love him but he cooks. It’s not wonderful, but it’s cozy.
It’s safe, and you know that, because... you’ve already tried that!
Same goes for traveling solo. You have to be crazy to do that. It’s so uncomfortable.
You’ll have to meet new people, try new food and have new experiences. It could really interrupt your sensational life of dead-end job, shity appartment and numbing relationship.
“I have become comfortably numb.”
Now, if we put aside the cynicism, solo traveling really takes you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you to adjust to new, unfamiliar situations. You have to deal with things on your own.
From my personal experience traveling alone is a real eye opener. It gives you the chance to gain a new perspective on your life and see what is holding you back. I definitely did some changes when I got back home.
Ko Tao, Thailand.
4. Boost your self-confidence and independence
Traveling alone is empowering. You have to deal with things you don’t normally experience, without the support system you have back home. If you want people to hear you, you’ll have to speak up. If you want to get something, you’ll have to go and get it yourself. It’s not only that you become a better traveler, you’ll become a better version of yourself.
You will meet a lot of people that will tell you that you are so brave for doing it, and that they wish they have the courage to do it themselves. But deep down inside you will know that you don't need to be a brave person to travel solo. And when you realize that you will know that there is nothing that you can’t do.
Part 2 is on its way!