A lot of people find travelling alone stressful, perhaps even terrifying. Personally, my most cherished memories were gathered while traveling solo. Which is why I’d like urge you to make at least one solo trip in your lifetime. I’ll give you seven good reasons why. Let me kick off with a warning: you may be back for more!
When I decided to travel around Europe on my own at the age of 19, I had no idea what I was getting into. During the train trip to Paris, I was so unhappy that I seriously considered catching the first train back home (I was bound for Morocco). Fortunately, I soon met friendly people, who helped me through that rough patch, and ultimately it was a wonderful and very memorable journey.
Today, many years on, I must conclude that most of my journeys were completed solo. I always look forward to setting out on my own to a new destination. Although I must admit I also thoroughly enjoy travelling with my nearest and dearest.
1. The ultimate freedom
Travelling solo means that you alone are responsible for yourself and your journey. You don’t have to consult anyone, and you can do everything at your own pace. If you want to get up at 4am to see the sun rise, no one is going to complain. If you want to spend the day doing nothing at all, no one is going to tell you otherwise. At every crossroads, you can decide for yourself if you want to go left or right or straight ahead. And you don’t have to feel responsible for the mood of your travelling companion. What a joy!
2. You meet new people more easily
When you travel alone, it’s easier to step up to strangers and make contact. It’s also easier for others to make contact with you. People will invite you into their lives more quickly. I’ve lost count of the number of friends I’ve made during my solo trips. And if you’d prefer to spend a day alone, new friends are unlikely to complain.
3. The experience is more vivid
When you travel alone you have keep your eyes peeled and look after yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you. That means you’re more alert and see more. Once you’ve learned that you can also take joy in beauty on your own, you’ll discover that this is the ideal way to gain the most overwhelming experiences. It’s hardly surprising that most famous travel writers prefer going solo.
I’ll never forget how I stormed up the steps at the Cape of Good Hope, while everyone else was rushing the other way to get out of the rain. Once I got to the top, all on my own, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and I saw a double rainbow over the cape. I jumped for joy and screamed with delight!
4. It boosts your self-confidence
Whatever you do on your solo trip, you’re left to your own devices. It may take a while to adjust, but eventually you get really good at finding the right information, assessing situations and making decisions on your own. Every time you make the right decision and complete a wonderful journey, it boosts your self-confidence and sense of autonomy.
And you learn fast from decisions that don’t work out. You’ll be amazed by your own abilities and will be justifiably proud of yourself! Travelling alone has given me so much self-confidence that I am prepared to face almost any challenge. I’ve also learned to assess risks and whether I’m prepared to take them.
5. You get to know yourself
Whatever challenges you face, you face them on your own. You will also be alone when you see that unforgettable temple or the magnificent sunset over the sea. You can’t consult anyone, so you learn to trust your own intuition and to engage in internal dialogue. This ensures that you get to know yourself really well. Even the less pleasant aspects, admittedly. Nevertheless, it will make you a stronger, more complete and (possibly) more pleasant person at home and at work.
6. Your trip is almost guaranteed to be serene
There is no one to disagree or argue with. If you travel alone, especially if you’re at peace with yourself, your trip will be more tranquil, as there’s no risk of the kind of conflict that sometimes arises when you’re travelling together. All too often, when travelling with others, I have seen the promise of a beautiful day overshadowed by dissent and arguments about things that later seemed totally irrelevant.
7. You become a better traveller
When you travel alone, you have to organise all the ins and outs personally. That can be quite a challenge at first, but once you’ve successfully booked your flight, train, bus, hotel and whatnot, it gets easier the next time around. Until you know no different and are completely self-sufficient.
That said, I wish you a very pleasant solo trip!