What do you think of when you see the word “travel?”
Vacation, relaxation, escape, family, friends, exploration?
Now, what comes to mind about traveling alone? Is it liberating and exciting or terrifying? For some, traveling alone can bring about anxiety, concerns about safety, or feeling alone; but, this doesn’t have to be the case.
There are many people who rave about traveling alone, rather than with larger groups.
Traveling alone is an awesome way to learn new things about a new place on your own time, gain a greater confidence in yourself, and meet new people.
If you have never traveled alone, no worries! Start small- take a day trip, and explore! As your confidence increases, book longer trips.
The First Solo Trip
Recently, I traveled alone to San Diego, and although I was excited to visit someplace I had never been, I felt a bit overwhelmed because this was my first solo trip. So, to alleviate any anxiety, I knew that I had to take control of the things that I could.
Before, I left, I researched (as I tend to do)! I made a list of where to stay, places that would be cool to visit, and even places to eat. I lucked up and stayed in a hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, which is a pretty awesome location, in that it is close to a whole bunch of restaurants and just steps away from the San Diego trolley.
When I got there, I took advantage of the concierge, and their useful information, including maps and shortcuts around the city. I also talked to the staff at the hotel, because I love to go where the locals go!
I went to some pretty awesome places, like Old Town, Little Italy, and saw the Unconditional Surrender Statue. I found some pretty awesome restaurants and ate some amazing food too!
I have to admit, there were some things that were a little uncomfortable doing alone, but I adapted. I learned so much about myself during this time, and I am happy that I was able to do so.
I have mentioned before that experiencing new things are correlated with being happier. The thought behind this is that when buying things, you adapt to them, and thus they lose their novelty. For example, you save and save and save to buy the new and improved iPhone. While you were saving, you can’t wait to get your hands on it, because, you know, it’s new and it does amazing things.
Well, it’s brought, and shortly after, it just isn’t that amazing anymore. What happened? Life happened. Time happened.
Rather, there is no connection with the item at all, because it does not bring about any positive memory or experience.
Traveling Solo Improves Your Health
So what’s the big deal about traveling solo?
There are benefits to traveling alone; like improving your mental health. It assists with increasing the thought process; due, to lack of a daily routine, and experiencing new environments. For example, there is no ability to be on autopilot; you know, when you’re driving to and from home and work, not knowing how you made it to either destination.
Surely, I’m not the only person that has experienced this, right?
While traveling solo, paying attention to new surroundings is important. Like, navigating how to get to and from your hotel, or a specific venue.
By learning about new environments (and cultures) it builds empathy and understanding regarding others. It may assist with appreciating your current situation at home more. Also, the experiences may lead to developing new thoughts or ideas to introduce once you return, like a new dish, or tradition.
What are the Benefits of Traveling Alone?
Building Confidence In Yourself
While traveling alone, there is no choice but to trust in yourself. From planning, transportation, and all decision-making. If you are used to letting others take the lead, now is your time to shine! There is no other person to consult; do whatever it is that you like to do. The autonomy and freedom are awesome, and learning that you have the ability to problem solve without depending on others is a pretty self-empowering thing.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Eating by yourself? Visiting new places alone? Talking to random strangers? If this is your thing; awesome, but it totally isn’t mine. I have never quite enjoyed these things, but when traveling alone, there is not much of an option. The cool thing about stepping outside of your comfort zone is, no one (you know) is around if you mess up! You have the option to be totally awkward without judgment.
Freedom To Do Whatever You Want
There is no need to check in with others, make sure that everyone agrees, or compromise because all the decisions are your own! In my opinion, this freedom rocks! I am the type of person that likes to wander around, find a dope location, like a neighborhood café or park and chill out. Also, I like to visit museums, and the local hang out spots.
Do you over analyze? Maybe you like to go back and forth about a lot of things, taking a lot of time to make decisions. When you’re alone you don’t have that option. Especially if you’re in a foreign place. All decisions are yours and yours only, and I bet you don’t have the time to mull over them either. Especially if you’re in a location for a short time. Who knows, being away might help with other decisions too.
Develop A Better Sense of Self
While traveling solo, I’m sure that there will be times of solitude. During these moments, reflect on your life, and reevaluate your goals and what is most important to you.
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it will increase happiness, as there are new memories associated with each new experience. It will help to improve your health, your confidence, and you will learn so much about yourself.
Have you ever traveled alone? What did you learn about yourself?