Often in a romantic scene in a movie when the couple is finally alone, the man will say something like, “Now that we’re alone…” Yeah, that’s how I feel about being alone when I arrive at my destination on a solo trip. It feels like the fun is about to begin!
Solo travel has been the most transformative aspect of my adult life and I wanted to share all the reasons you should travel solo, too!
The Magic of Being Far Removed
Solo travel is more than simply traveling alone. When you purposefully hop on a plane and land in a foreign country where no one knows your name for thousands of miles, something happens. We’re constantly constrained in our day-to-day lives. Even if we don’t give in to it, we feel the weight of people’s opinions. People telling you what they think you should and shouldn’t do, being at work and doing something right or wrong or not perfectly. When you travel alone, it’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders and you don’t have those opinions surrounding you. As far as anyone you know is concerned, you’re in the middle of nowhere.
You’ll Never Travel If You Wait for Friends
I started traveling solo because I was tired of waiting around for friends to take trips with me. Even if your friends love to travel, it’s unlikely they have the time, money and desire at the exact same time as you. It’s even less likely they have the same how, where and why as you. If you keep waiting for your friends, you’ll never go on your dream trip. Start planning your trip with just YOU in mind and then go ahead and book it, too.
Traveling With Friends or Family Can Be a Disaster
And not like you-have-different-taste-in-food disaster. I mean like witnessing airport temper tantrums, literally dragging your friend out of a bar and spending a majority of your trip alone, anyway. You do not want to be on a trip where the main question in your mind is “Should I stay or should I go?” And I don’t mean go home (God no!). I mean, “Should I leave my friend’s rude ass and let her fend for herself so I can go have the adventure of a lifetime?”
Take it from me. I’ve been on two separate trips with a friend I thought I knew. Both turned out to be a stressful loop of me crying into delicious German beers on the phone with my family (or anyone who would take my call, really) because I was so stressed out about my miserable travel mate and wanted to just leave in the night and finish the trip alone.
You Experience Actually Being Alone With Yourself
This is one part of solo travel I did not expect. Since you don’t have someone to talk to, you are actually alone with your thoughts and get to see what you do in situations when you can’t get someone’s opinion. You get to know yourself and think deeper since you don’t always have someone to talk to. You discover who “you” actually is. If you can go without connectivity or using your phone during your trip, even better. If that’s too drastic, decide how and when you’ll use your phone before you leave on your trip. Spending even a little less time on social media and talking to people back home will give you a much-needed reset in our age of constant distraction.
You Will Be Fine
Better than fine, actually. When you share that you’re going abroad solo, you will no doubt hear crazy, uninformed opinions on solo travel from [probably] well-meaning people. Go ahead and ignore them all—especially your family. Do your own research on the destination to determine if it’s safe, talk to others who have been there in groups like the Solo Female Traveler Network and prepare accordingly. One scroll through the SFTN Facebook page and you’ll realize there’s literally nowhere solo women aren’t going.
There’s Way Less Pressure When You Travel Solo
Travel comes with a lot of pressure, especially when you have a short amount of time. There are so many sights to see and activities to do and it can be overwhelming trying to accomplish everything. Add a travel mate to the mix and you have added pressure to stay on each other’s schedule and fit in each person’s must-sees. When you travel alone, you decide how important seeing the sights is to you. You can sleep in, eat what you want, walk slowly and do nothing in your hotel room.
You Can Do & Be Whatever You Want
In a new place, you can reinvent yourself. You are not stuck in the box of “I’m known for this” or “I always do that”. No one knows you and you are free to act how you please without fear of being found out or something. Free to be!
You Will Be Empowered
Traveling solo is no small feat. Finding your way when lost, communicating in a new language and relying on strangers—all these parts of solo travel take immense courage. When you overcome all the little challenges that come with solo travel, it shows you how much you are capable of. When you can arrive in a foreign country without knowing a soul and thrive, you realize you can do anything, and that’s empowering!
You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Few people step outside of their comfort zone in daily life, yet that’s where we learn the most. The pressure we feel every time we’re uncomfortable gives us an opportunity to break the pattern of how we usually act. Will you shy back and stay comfortable, giving into the fear you’ve carried all your life? Or will you take the risk and see what happens? Stepping outside your comfort zone also reveals blind spots. Travel requires patience and both mental and physical stamina. Struggling with either often reveals where you can improve in your life.
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. – Unknown
You’ll Meet New People—the Ultimate Point of Travel
The people make the place and it’s especially true with solo travel. Making friends is simple when you’re alone because you’re easier to approach and more motivated to meet others. When you travel with buds, it’s much less likely you’ll make as many friends simply because you don’t have to. Making memories with friends around the globe is something you’ll carry the rest of your life. You’ll hang out with some people for just the day and others you will keep in touch with for life.