Is it scary? It can be. It is do-able? Of course. Will it change your life? Without a doubt.
One of the best things you can do for yourself, is to spend some time traveling solo.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider taking your next holiday, vacation, trip, or getaway on your own.
1. It Gets You Comfortable With You
No better time to get comfortable with yourself and your insecurities than while traveling alone. Eating by myself used to intimidate me and make me feel awkward. Now I relish the quiet moments I can get enjoying the local cuisine while possibly catching up on e-mails, a good book, or planning the next stage of my trip. And if you don’t feel like doing any of these activities while eating alone, you can always stake out a spot on an outdoor patio and people watch while you dine.
2. It Sharpens Your Problem Solving Skills
You have only you and your mind, so you better learn how to read that map properly, or how to successfully navigate the city’s subway system. You need to remember how to find your way back to your hostel or be able to convert currencies in your head at a moments notice. No one else is there to help you (except your smart phone of course, but I still consider that problem solving). There are limitless reasons as to how traveling sharpens your problem solving skills and nothing is more satisfying than when you are able to do it all on your own. Will it be easy? Not always. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help along the way from the people you meet or strangers on the street. In fact, asking for directions from the cute local could also earn you a new friend and a free tour around the city. Just be wary of accepting all strangers offers; trust your intuition on whether it’s safe or not to hang out with them.
3. It Boosts Your Confidence
There is nothing more satisfying than when I manage to speak to someone successfully in another language, or get the cheapest transportation option and successfully travel between cities alone. And this is all accomplished thousands of miles away from my support team at home. I did it all on my own, by myself, with no help from anyone else (except of course the strangers along the way I asked directions or information from). Traveling will give you the biggest confidence boost and reinforces the fact that yes, you are capable of anything, and yes, you can do it.
4. You Have More Unexpected Adventures and Experiences
You are more willing to say yes when you’re traveling alone and this means that you will most likely do things you won’t normally do. When you’re by yourself, there is no one there to judge you or influence you so you are free to do as you wish, whenever you want. You also have the opportunity to do things that aren’t available where you live, like surfing, scuba diving or mountain climbing. So take that offer and say yes to that experience because I guarantee you won’t regret it at all.
5. It Encourages You to Meet New People From all Walks of Life.
I often say that I travel solo, but very rarely alone. You would be surprised how many more people you will meet while traveling alone than with a friend or significant other. Solo travelers are less intimidating to others. Couples, pairs and groups often look like they don’t want to be intruded on or interrupted. Take the opportunity to send out the first smile or hello and don’t be afraid to talk to those younger, older, and from different cultures than you. It’s amazing how much you can learn from people who have lived in different places – plus you will most likely make a new friend to explore the area with.
6. You Learn to Talk to Anyone
I feel like traveling alone has given me incredible social skills to be able to talk to anyone of any age and any culture. I’ve been thrown into so many different situations that you learn to make friends around you to enjoy the experience more and to learn as much as you can about different people and different cultures. I’ve been constantly surprised at the wonderful conversations I can have with 19 year-olds on their gap year or 50 year-olds who have quit their careers to take advantage of seeing the world. So talk to someone, anyone and learn as much as you can. You won’t regret it.