You don’t have to have the same story of that travel blogger you follow — you know, the one that gave up their corporate lifestyle or long term lawyering gig, traded in all of their belongings, and set out with a one way ticket to see the world on their own.
You get to write your own solo travel story. You can opt for extremes, or take it down a few notches (especially for your first independent adventures). The point is less that you participate in long term solo travel and more that you give it a chance.
This could mean a weekend in a city a few hours away. This could mean tacking on a few extra days to the end (or beginning… or both) of your business trip. This could mean spending an afternoon apart from your travel buddy mid-vacation.
Why all the fuss on solo travel? It’s good for the soul. It pushes you, breaks you, allows you to flourish in your self-resiliency. It gives you space for internal conversations you didn’t realize you’d been avoiding. It lets you take the wheel and craft the experience that fits YOUR needs. And, it opens your mind.
Here’s why traveling alone is something you can’t afford NOT to do in your lifetime.
You Become a Problem Solver
Even with the slickest itinerary, problems still happen. What’s to be learned while traveling alone, however, is your ability to tackle these problems head on. Do you put your head in the sand with your best ostrich impression? Or do you creatively and skillfully acknowledge the challenge and press on?
Realizing that you’re the only one who can right this wrong can be scary, but…
You’ll Gain New Workplace Friendly Hard & Soft Skills
I know you’ve been bred to only talk about your accomplishments in the classroom or the workplace when you take inventory of your skills sets. But actually, there’s a ton of useful traits to be gained while on the road, traveling alone. Without the constraints of job descriptions and school curriculum, YOU get to define what makes you a valuable asset to a future employer.
If you can communicate the value of your experiential solo travel experience, display your knack for handling challenges, articulate how you’ve changed, well… you’ll be their next hire — easy
Amidst the hustle and bustle and “tap tap tap” “like” “heart” of our everyday lives, it can be hard to stay really in tune with what’s happening around us. We can be so busy charging our devices that we forget to charge our OWN batteries. Why not consciously pause your scrolling in lieu of a more sensory interplay with your surroundings? Traveling alone gives you the chance to absorb the backdrop, relish in your solo status, and take a break from the chains of screen time.
Grow in Your Compassion
Traveling alone means not just seeing the place you’re visiting for what others have told you to expect (thanks, Rick Steves!), but instead, really seeing your destination. This means the good and the bad. This can sometimes mean poverty. This can sometimes mean mistreated animals, lax attitudes toward littering our dear planet, arrogance, selfishness, oppression. But this can also sometimes mean unseen depths of beauty, kindness, laughter, joy, and cuteness (here’s looking at you, baby giraffes).
You learn to be more compassionate for the world, it’s people and it’s physical being, and your mind is opened to new causes and passions you may not have uncovered without this foray into independent solo travel.
Though the magazines do their best to make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, when it’s just you out there, traveling and entering foreign communities as a humble learner, you realize how cool you are. Embrace your solo time! You’ll feel more confident putting yourself out there, will learn the love those voices in your head (okay, sometimes they will still need to be avoided), and you’ll be braver than you ever were before.
We have a hunch you’ll learn to love simply hanging out with yourself.
Conquer Your Weaknesses Head-On
Both yours and others doubts and fears can creep in at any time, but when you’re given ample time to reflect on your sense of self and you’re thrown into situations you’d otherwise carefully avoid (Hi, Comfort Zone!), it becomes glaringly obvious where your strengths and weaknesses lie. We all have them. Traveling alone gives you the chance to be real and raw about your faults and eventually fall in love with them too. You can become an active change agent in the process of improving those flaws, and enjoy the journey therein.
You’ll test your limits, face your fears. Who knows, you might even overcome them.
Learn to Communicate in Unlikely Situations
Languages open your mind. We repeat: languages open your mind. Did you know there are words in other languages that there are no direct English translations of? Did you know that your language shapes your worldview? Traveling alone means being forced to communicate with those you don’t necessarily share a language with. This can be humbling, stunning, challenging, fun (after all, who doesn’t love spur-of-the-moment charades?). Why not learn a foreign language while rocking your solo travels?
Want to invest in yourself? School is a good option, so is that professional development opportunity. But a little known secret is that solo travel is just as powerful and transformative. Traveling alone is truly liberating, and truly mind-boggling (in the best way possible). Strreeeeetch your comfort zone and plan your next solo travel today!