6 Reasons Why You Should Travel Solo At Least Once
There are always concerns raised about women travelling alone; the boredom, the loneliness, the safety aspects which can all make solo travel less appealing. So why do it? Well since forever I’ve always loved the idea of travelling solo, the freedom to do what you want when you want. The romantic notion of sitting in a café (or wine bar) seeing the world pass, people watching and contemplating life. Or being in a remote part of the world connecting with mother earth, feeling free.
I got the taste of this when I went backpacking through South East Asia and Australasia in my early 20’s but I wasn’t truly alone as I had my friend Victoria with me. And while I appreciated her company, and probably thankful I wasn’t alone at the time, it hit me a couple of years ago that this was something I really wanted to do. And I wanted to do it before I turned 40. This happened last year and sadly I didn’t accomplish that goal. So a few months later when British Airways had a sale I thought right that’s it, I’m going to do this. And I booked a long weekend to Copenhagen.
Albeit I chose a safe destination not far from home for only three nights but I had an invaluable experience that will last with me for eternity.
Here are my 6 reasons for why we should all experience travelling solo.
Solo travel represents freedom and wanderlust. There are no one else’s schedules to adhere to, no restrictions on where you want to go and what you want to do. When you travel with someone else or a group of people, at some point you have to compromise and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it may not be your agenda. There’s no debating when you’re on your own – it’s your way, and just your way. Honestly it feels so good to be selfish for once, without having to think about what others want to do. You can get up and have breakfast when you want without worrying your kids haven’t eaten yet. Or eat dinner and stay out later than you normally would without feeling guilty. It’s the ultimate freedom and only you get to decide.
When you’re around your partner or friends 24/7 there can be moments of falling out or being grumpy and moody, siblings arguing with one another, all of which can be a strain. Travelling alone there’s no drama. In fact, it gives you the opportunity to deal with your own chatter and be at peace with yourself. Being alone can give you some breathing space to confront and assess those issues that are driving you nuts. Being somewhere scenic not following your usual routine can help you process things that you haven’t let go.
I can’t tell you the sense of achievement you feel of just making your way from the airport to the hotel on your own (without getting a taxi). But seriously, just having dinner on your own or booking a tour for one forces you out of your comfort zone and only then do you truly grow as a person. For some people dining alone terrifies them, but it shouldn’t. Without conversation, you focus more on what you’re eating and appreciate your surroundings. And the more you do this, the more comfortable you become. It’s made me more independent and try things that I usually relied on other people to do.
Being in a different city, another part of the world, makes you appreciate the differences between us and embrace a different culture, try different foods and learn a new language. It gives you a new perspective because you are learning and educating yourself, and in a way that school can never teach you. With this sense of wonder and compassion you will feel more appreciative of your own life and excitement for the future. We get so caught up in the rat race that is our modern day life. But being alone, travelling and experiencing new things, we can learn to unplug, unwind and just live in the moment. There is something really special about that that makes me feel nostalgic.
-05 Age is just a number
Often I find social media focuses on travel blogs and pictures from the younger generation. This may lead us to believe that traveling solo isn’t for us ‘middle-aged’ folk but solo travel isn’t just for the 20 something bikini bod girl with a perfectly curated Instagram account. I follow some great blogs from women who are 40 plus that come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a plethora of experience and adventurous spirit. Age is just a number and as the saying goes, it’s not the number of years in your life that count but the life in those years.
Travelling alone forces you to be more social. It makes it easier for others to approach you and compels you to be more approachable too. Asking questions is one of your most valuable assets (one of my strengths!). Asking questions can lead to striking and meaningful conversations with other tourists or locals that you will remember for the rest of your life.
As a pharmacist and clinical hypnotherapist, I believe travelling solo is therapy. It is the medicine that nourishes your soul, calms your mind and rejuvenates your body. We all need to find that pause button every now and again and allow ourselves to be selfish to be self-aware.
So what are you waiting for? The world is yours to discover…
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