My mother always used to say, 'there's a world out there, go and see it,' so I am. I quickly realised that I wouldn't end up seeing much of it if I was always going to wait around for others to join me. The fact is travelling isn't everyone's priority; it requires time, an extra pot of money and motivation, which many people don't have all at once. That's the beauty of solo travel, you never have to wait for your plans and ideas to align with someone else's. You get to see the world on your terms.
Why Travelling Alone Is Liberating
Being alone doesn't mean you're lonely. Sometimes you can feel more alone when surrounded by noise and people, especially when the living in a big city. There comes a point when we just need to switch off and have some alone time. Travelling solo allows you to have time for yourself, which can be indispensable if you're trying to clear your head or just focus on something new. It's an opportunity to try new things without fear of judgment and to let your guard down.
You'll be surprised how many new friends you make when you're travelling solo. Naturally, you let your inhibitions go and you find yourself talking to all types of people. When you're travelling with family or friends, it's easy to slip into the habit of spending every moment with them, which can close you off to new experiences and people.
Travelling solo will challenge you in ways you don't even realise. You'll have to plan your route and navigate in an unknown place and you won't have anyone else to rely on. It means you'll become self-sufficient and you'll learn to rely on your instincts. You'll probably run into some difficult situations from time to time, like missing a bus or train, getting absolutely lost and having no Wi-Fi or even having your card blocked. These situations aren’t enjoyable but they're part of the experience and they'll make you more resilient and improve your problem solving skills.
Open Your Mind
It probably sounds cliché but travelling alone really does open your mind. It gives you a unique window into learning about different cultures and ways of life which can broaden your perspective. Whether you're staying at a guesthouse or you just get talking to locals on the bus, you'll have conversations that will be so far removed from the ones you may have back home. I've been lucky enough to stay with families in Guatemala, Italy, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey. It's the fleeting moments like that, which can stay with you for years to come.
You Make The Rules
Do you want to wake up at 6am to hike that volcano in Bali? Do you want to take salsa-dancing lessons in Spain or learn to make tapas? When you're travelling solo you can do what you want when you want. Travelling with friends can be frustrating when you have different budgets or hobbies. Naturally, we all have different interests and you might find yourself doing excursions and spending money on things you usually wouldn't, because of your travelling with friends or family. There's nothing better than creating your own itinerary and waking up with full control of your day.
Is It Safe?
Many people think travelling alone isn't safe but the fact is there is often not much difference between walking around your city alone and walking around a foreign city alone. Of course, some countries are safer than others (based on statistics) but there are things you can do such as staying vigilant, using common sense and doing your research before hand.
It's never too late to try something new. Push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, go to that country you've always wanted to visit but have never found the time. Tick off your bucket list even though no one else wants to do it with you. Take your first solo trip; or book a group tour so you have the best of both worlds!