I’m heading out on a solo adventure shortly and I’m excited! My first taste of solo international travel took me all the way to Gibraltar in February, 2003 – chosen for the short flight time, its innate Britishness coupled with a ‘foreign’ appeal and English as the national language. I went for just 2 nights to prove to myself that I could travel abroad alone.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Solo travel reveals your independence
I’d always considered myself independent, yet I’m not sure I’d ever been forced to rely on myself completely. Now, I arrange all of my own travel plans, navigate my way through foreign locations seamlessly (okay, maybe not seamlessly) and simply have fun on my own! I’m not dependent on anyone else to take care of me or show me a good time. Eating in a restaurant alone? No problem (the trick is to go early). I enjoy researching original places to explore, making new social plans, and most importantly, trusting myself.
2. No need to compromise
Along those lines, one of the most freeing aspects of traveling by yourself is that there’s no need to compromise! I can pack and plan my timetable based on exactly how I feel. It’s liberating. Each day is an adventure of my choosing, which results in a trip without any regrets. I have no one to answer to but myself.
3. Opportunities to meet new people
Traveling by yourself forces you to strike up conversations with strangers (unless you’re content to not interact with another human being). I’m more relaxed about being myself when I’m on my own, and solo travel gives me the exciting opportunity to connect and learn from new people with different backgrounds.
4. Become more present
Without the constant distraction of a travel companion, I’ve noticed I become a lot more present and aware of my surroundings. I’m able to concentrate and truly live in each moment, which heightens my experience of that beautiful destination and the joy I feel even more.
5. Discover more about yourself
Perhaps most profoundly, all of these factors have resulted in learning a lot more about myself. Not only does some alone time provide incredible opportunities for reflection, but it also shows me so many new facets of myself. I can problem-solve stressful situations with relative ease, enjoy living on a newly spontaneous schedule, and discover how inspired I am by exploration and adventure. My brief solo travels abroad have taught me more about myself than I’ve thought possible.
** please note that as Monday is a UK Bank Holiday, the next scheduled post will appear on Tuesday, 7 May.**