Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Traveling Alone.
I recently wrote a post about having the courage to acknowledge and pursue a desire for an “unconventional” life, such as one of travel. That got me thinking about one of the biggest reasons people have that stop them from their travel journey:
“I don’t want to go alone.”
I can’t count the number of times someone has told me how much they would love to go somewhere, if only they had someone to go with. For so many reasons on why people believe they shouldn’t travel solo, I am here to tell you why you should.
To travel solo is to let go of everything that you have been certain about for all your life. It is the exhilaration that comes with uncharted territory, language barriers, plans that only last a day and just a backpack of belongings.
To realize, particularly at a young age, everything that you are capable of doing entirely on your own is one of the best feelings of empowerment and liberation. With no friends to persuade you and no family to guide you, the only person you can count on is yourself. Across the world in an unfamiliar city, this can be slightly terrifying, but it’s the best kind of fear you can allow yourself.
This type of travel offers the freedom to do anything a traveler desires at any point during their trip and at the speed they are comfortable with. Decide halfway through the day that it’s time to move on to the next city? You can do that. Tired of constant travel and want to “settle” in one place for a few weeks? You can do that too. When traveling with a companion there is always a compromise that has to be made whether it be regarding what restaurant to eat at or what attraction to see. When you are solo you have the freedom to be spontaneous in any and all decisions.
This spontaneity is often the key exhilaration factor when traveling alone, as it often leads you to having amazing experiences that you never would have imagined being involved in.
Loneliness is often people’s biggest misconception about traveling without friends. Sure, there are days that you might spend exploring new places alone. You may even come to prefer eating lunch in a restaurant on your own with a book or a journal to jot down the great things happening to you on your adventure. You may begin to appreciate the true beauty in the art of a museum when you have the silence to contemplate on your own.
One thing that I’ve found on my own solo travels is that I am much more likely to push myself out of my comfort zone when I don’t have a friend traveling with me. If you’re worried about being constantly alone and bored of your own company, stay in a hostel. It is impossible not to make friends to spend your time with. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to be heading the same way and decide to travel together for a little while. It is these passing strangers that you will share some of the best moments of your life with and remember whenever you tell a travel story.
Through the moments of doubt, determination, and ambition that often accompanies solo travelers, a person you may not know even existed can emerge.
A trip like this can not only give you incredible memories and allow for unbelievable opportunities, but it can seriously boost a persons self-esteem and identity. I hope each and every person can find the strength to take a breath, say farewell, and board a plane to the destination of their wildest dreams. My only warning to embarking on a solo journey is the risk of falling so in love with embracing new cultures, people, and experiences, that you will be renewed with a new sense of passion and have to take many more adventures.