According to Buddha, it’s better to travel well than to arrive at your destination. Indeed, this applies well to people who prefer to travel by their solitude. Solo travel has become one of the most underrated means of self-discovery, stress relief and other benefits a traveler can gain aside from experiencing the world.
Photo credit: Oprah.com
- Traveling alone could ease depression. A study in the Netherlands on 1,530 respondents showed that an anticipation of an upcoming holiday lifted their spirits and projected positive feelings for up to eight weeks before scheduled travel. Traveling alone helps ward off depression especially among young people.
- Solo travel fosters self-confidence. When you’re in a group of people, you tend to feel more secure and the need to reach out to strangers becomes less likely, especially if you’re traveling with people close to you. However, when you’re alone, it’s easy to get connected with other people — locals, fellow travelers — by sharing your seat, or strike a simple conversation asking for directions or simply curious where one might be heading to.
- Being on your own means you control your trip. There’s nobody nagging you to wake up and prepare for the day’s itinerary. There’s nobody arguing with you which route to take or museums to visit. You simply take time as you please, thereby eliminating possible causes of stress. Whether you’ll have a brutally efficient day visiting a dozen of attractions or simply spending the whole day watching people go by, they all happen at your own convenience and undivided control.
- Solo vacations help you learn more about yourself. By traveling solo, you actually embark on a soul-searching exercise — getting to know how you react on different situations, and gives a better perspective of who you are and what matters more to you.
- It’s sometimes cheaper to travel alone. Traveling alone can be more expensive — nobody to divide expenses. But if you’re a no-frills anything goes type of traveler, going solo might even be a cheaper option. Couchsurfing suddenly becomes a viable option. You can swap fine dining with street food and convenience store offerings.
- You’ll accomplish many things on your own. Talk to a local shopkeeper, board the correct train, successfully bought a souvenir shirt at rock-bottom price or not getting lost are small achievements that you’ll likely share credit with someone if you’re not alone.