A lot of my friends and family think I’m crazy for traveling solo… ‘you’re going to fly across the world alone?!’ is what I hear from them. Yes, yes I am. Don’t get me wrong, it’s terrifying. Going to a new place, especially a new country, knowing no one, maybe not even the language – that’s terrifying. How could it not be? But it’s also empowering, exhilarating, exciting, and a bunch of other awesome not e-words. Have you tried it yet? Even if it’s just camping a few hours from home alone or going to a bed and breakfast a city a few hours away, you should try it… and here’s why.
1) You’ll appreciate what you have.
When traveling to another country, you will undoubtedly be exposed to a culture different than your own. The smallest differences can open your mind up to understand and appreciate everything you have at home. Something as small as toilet paper, or as large roads with no traffic laws full of cows and mopeds. When you find yourself confronted with something different, especially when alone, it can be intimidating and uncomfortable. We grow most when we’re made uncomfortable, so embrace it, and use it. Knowing that you can figure it out and get through it all alone not only brings you appreciation for your own home and cultural but also for the people who have supporting you back home.
2) Experiencing beauty at your own leisure.
Traveling with family and friends is great, who doesn’t love sharing a sunset? But trekking it alone lets you really take in as much (or as little) beauty as you want. I find that when I’m traveling alone I can mosey along the coastline of a new place for an entire day without becoming bored or worried someone who’s with me might be bored. Maybe I’ll even hit up 3 coffee shops in one day because I can and no one has to agree to the pit stops with me.
3) Bringing home small cultural differences and integrating them into your own life.
Experiencing a different culture is something I feel everyone should embrace. While you’re immersed in it, you may not really think about the differences, but then once you’re back home in your comfortable zone, you might start to find yourself adding small things you’ve picked up from other cultures to your own life. It might be as simple as a phrase/word, a way you do something in your home (leaving shoes outside the door), or the way you greet friends (double cheek kiss). By traveling alone, you get to experience all these cultural differences in your own way and be fully immersed in them. By traveling with others, you sometimes have a buffer between you and these experiences since you’re able to lean on another person.
4) You will feel empowered, independent, confident, and stronger.
I feel like is the most important reason and greatest souvenir you’ll receive when traveling alone. Solo traveling can be very intimidating. TSA and customs checks where you might not understand a word said to you can be downright terrifying… Why am I being pulled out of line and taken to a back room… No worries, that’s just random protocol (or so I’ve been told). You might not know where to go in the airport, or out of the airport. Simple things like finding a cab, reading a map, or trying to get directions can suddenly seem like trying to hit a hole in one. The important thing is to breathe deep knowing that you’ll be fine in the end and that you can do this. Once you figure it out, you’ll learn just how strong and independent you are.
If there’s a trip you’ve always wanted to take, but don’t have anyone to go with, I beg you – go. You will not regret it, that I promise.