Despite the apparent higher risk, lonelier journey and other disadvantages of traveling without any companion, solo trips are something people should try at last one. Depending on their level of comfort or risk willing to take, traveling alone gives us plenty of benefits, and lessons as well.
Here are the important lessons we expect to learn when we travel alone.
We can’t live alone
Although traveling is a temporary break from our usual daily life, that short moment is going to prove that we can’t live alone. We dread sleeping alone in the room, we can barely move around (airplane toilet or food orders at the airport, perhaps) without having someone to leave them to.
We cherish our freedom
Traveling alone gives us the freedom to practically do whatever we please: make a sightseeing detour if we want to, change itineraries, stay in bed longer without being pressured to go out, and so on. You can do what you want when you want it.
Experience is better than tangible gifts
The feeling of accomplishing an item in your bucket list is often better than simply holding on to some random thing we own. Travel allows us to experience spectacular attractions (nature or man-made structures) or perform certain things (swim with sharks or bungee jumping) that money cannot buy.
Quality is better than quantity
We used to make the most of our short vacations by visiting as many tourist attractions or receiving as many passport stamps, as we live in a world where more likes on social media equates to certain levels of success. But we also learn later that the more we pause and enjoy every moment, the more we appreciate our journey. We engage in conversations with locals, learn their language, food, and culture, making our trip more fulfilling.
It’s easy to find friends
Being alone makes us connect with others faster. Ask a local for directions, get food recommendations, share table with fellow travelers, such acts that might not be high on your list of you have a travel buddy to consult, ask and argue with all the time.
You learn to trust your instincts
Is this the right train? Am I supposed to present my passport here? Is this hostel safe enough for me? Just as we enjoy our freedom to choose as a solo traveler, we also need to own up to bad decisions we make along the way. We may be surrounded by people who can help us, but it’s ourselves who make the final decisions, some of which we might regret later.
You have been blessed
When you travel, you’ll encounter many types of people who had to do a lot and earn a little. Like little children skipping school so they can sell souvenirs or homemade snacks at the train station. Or that beggar with broken limbs pleading for your attention. Back home, you don’t often observe such things, but while you’re on holiday, you immediately realize that you should be thankful for what you have; many others barely have any.
Facing your fears head-on isn’t scary as you thought
Just the thought of facing an immigration officer, failure to locate your hotel in the middle of the night or get left behind by your flight can be a stressful experience. But when you confront such fears by embarking on the trip, you’ll soon find out that you can easily avoid them. When they happen, you handle such experiences with such a potent set of initiatives.
Travel is not only about spending and wasting money
Travel is more than just spending money to prove something to others or gain more social media mileage by getting to a place none of your peers have been to. It’s a form of relaxation, a learning experience and an opportunity to look at life in a different dimension. During your holidays, you might decide to quit your job and follow your passion or reset your business plans from what you just observed in a local enterprise.
We realize our purpose
During our journey on our own, we will have plenty of time for reflection. This grants us the chance to think deeper of a purpose bigger than our personal goals. Discovering this purpose enables us to go through the daily grind of life and overcome obstacles. Such discovery inspires us to look at what is best for others more than it helps us.
Devote time in serving the homeless. Reduce waste and carbon footprint. Perform acts of kindness daily.
Time is a finite resource
We may have heard about it but not yet realized its impact. At least not until we spend more me-time on a solo backpack or a business trip where you’re mostly on the road by ourselves. You realize that you only have 30 or 20 more years before retirement, and ask what has happened in the past few decades in your life. Time is passing by, but have we been good at managing it? Did we save enough, explore enough, love enough?
You can be whoever you want
When you’re traveling solo, you become free to be whoever you want to be. You don’t need to adjust to your companion’s sleeping patterns, food choices or preferred things to do. You are on your own. Even if you are not used to doing certain things, nobody will stop you from trying them out.
Eat with your bare hands, get lost (literally and figuratively), long drive, try on the beach that swimwear you’re too embarrassed to wear with friends or visit rides at the carnival. These things make you feel rejuvenated and young without harming yourself and others.
Traveling alone can be a scary proposition, especially now with terrorism, petty crimes and all. But there’s so much to gain from spending time with yourself. If you’re considering a solo trip, avoid these mistakes and consider these suggested destinations.