So this is the third and the last part (I promise!) of the "Why Travel Solo" series of posts. If you’re still not certain if you should try to travel alone, these next reasons will probably give you that final push you need:
8. Get to know yourself better
In this hectic world we’re living in today, we hardly ever just take some time for ourselves.
We hardly take time off at all. Work, family, friends; we are almost always surrounded by people. Even if we truly love all these people, in order to have a balanced life, one should always have some quality time with himself. I really believe that for a person to be happy in any sort of relationship, he should first and foremost be happy just by himself.
And what better way to make yourself happy, and take some time off, if not by taking a trip? Traveling alone is a unique kind of quality time with yourself. It lets you get to know yourself better because it takes you out of your comfort zone. In a new environment you will be more introspective and observational. You’ll no longer be cruising in automatic pilot mode. Being alone in a new place is a powerful experience that will make you learn new things about yourself and also enrich you and help you grow as a person.
Some people are afraid to be alone. Even for a minute. They find it boring or intimidating. Solo travel not only gives you the time to get to know yourself and feel comfortable with being alone, it also teaches you that you can manage by yourself anywhere in the world. And that is priceless.
Gibbon Experience, Huay Xai, Laos.
9. Become more positive
One very unique thing I learned about solo traveling is that it changes your perspective. It teaches you to take things more lightly, and why is that?
When you travel alone, especially if it’s for more than a few days, you will likely encounter some unpleasant situations from time to time. Now, I’m not saying that in order to scare you; if I was this whole series of posts would have been pointless.
I’m saying that because that's just the way life is. Nobody is happy all the time, and we all have our ups and downs. We all have to deal with problematic situations once in a while, and it's not such a bad thing. Think about it, how could you appreciate the good things that happen in your life if you don’t experience the bad?
In my trips, I experienced things that I wouldn’t normally experience back home. Some of the adventures I had were so unbelievable that I never even told my parents about them. The thing about traveling alone is that even if you have a bad experience, you have to shake it off more quickly. You don’t have the support system that you have back home and if you don’t want to become submerged in it and ruin your trip, you have to buckle up and move along.
I remember the first month back home after my trip to India. I felt so relaxed and positive. Everyone told me that I was glowing. Things that normally would have stressed me out suddenly didn't seemed like a big deal. A good example of that was a final exam for one of my degree courses that I was supposed to take. I was sure I had missed the final date of the exam and that I would have to take it the next year. Before the trip, I would probably have cried my eyes out if something like this happened. But after some of the experiences I had to cope with on my own during the trip, I really felt that it is such a small thing to endure.
Needless to say my parents thought I’d lost it. They were sure I was high on some kind of ‘happy mushroom.’ (I don’t know any happy mushrooms, do you?)
Lost in Kinnaur Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.
10. Being distant makes you closer
In reason number 7 (Why Travel Solo - Part 2) I mentioned the not-so-pleasant potential outcome of traveling with someone you know from back home. What I didn’t mention was the beneficial effect of being apart from your loved ones while traveling solo.
“Wish you were here…”
Being distant for a while from the people you care about never killed anyone (I think). In fact it could really be a good thing in any relationship. Longing to see someone can make the relationship stronger. When you're not there all the time it’s hard to take you for granted, right? And it’s actually really nice to miss home from time to time during your trip. It makes the ‘coming back home’ part more special. If you have home with you all the time while you travel, what’s there to miss?
11. The ultimate sense of freedom
Sometimes you just have to take a break from everything and everyone.Work is tiring, family is annoying, and friends are disappointing. When the routine is wearing you out is time to get some air. Solo travel is the ultimate sense of freedom.
You don’t need to take under consideration anyone's will but your own. There is no peer pressure, no stress, no drama. You can build your own itinerary or you can just be spontaneous, it’s up to you to decide. You choose the budget, the food, the activities and the people that you want to hang out with.
When you meet people on the road you can easily decide to split up and move on. You don’t really know them, and you don’t owe anything to them, and that’s the beauty of it.
12. It’s just more fun
You know what? Seriously it is. It is just-more-fun. I don’t think it’s even something that could be explained in words. Some things you just have to feel. And I really hope you would feel it. If traveling solo is something that you have in mind I hope you get past all the rational and emotional barriers and just:
Go For It.
So what is holding you back?
Feel free to share in the comments below. There is nothing like the wisdom of the crowd to solve a problem.