When travelling alone I am always much more appreciative towards the small things in life, may it be a sunny spell on a cold and grey day, a good meal or a nice chat with a stranger. It’s always much easier to live in the moment and to focus on what I experience and feel.
Here are 4 reasons why you should travel solo at least once
Relax and be free
When travelling solo there’s no stress or distraction by having to adjust to group dynamics – you just do what you want without compromise. Recharge and relax at your own pace; be gentle with yourself and follow what you need. This often generates creativity. Take the chance to recreate yourself. We are often limited by our day-to-day background, which can make change harder.
On the road I never plan ahead for more than a week or two and only worry about the belongings I carry in my backpack. If I don’t like a place, I just leave. Doing that, my mind always comes up with plenty of ideas of what I could do with my life!
You are much more mindful
Stress or rushing through day-to-day responsibilities can limit our capacity to be mindful: to focus on the present moment. As a solo traveller you will experience joy, gratitude, curiosity, being in awe at a much more intense level; you will savour moments when everything just feels right. Quality time will also help you to get to know yourself better.
On my own I have always felt much more exposed to the elements and my mind perceives everything at a much more intense level – even if it’s just feeling hungry, cold or in need of the bathroom. Basic needs fulfilled, I’m ready to be a mindful and happy girl 😉
You’re never alone
You’ll meet so many different, new people with new points of view to learn from which will make you see things differently. You’re never really alone since you’ll be more open to engage with people and appreciate chats with locals and other travellers to hear about their amazing adventures. There is a huge crowd out there travelling solo for years.
Interacting with locals will get you a much deeper insight; if you speak the local language, get ready for immersion.
These days I prefer to stay longer and pick up work or volunteering projects to become part of the local community and see the “real” way of life.
You become empowered
You’ll be surprised how strong you are and what you can do on your own. It only sounds scarier than it is. Yes, it will challenge your insecurities and fears; but you will learn to thrive and grow. On your own you can be much more decisive and trust your instincts. You’ll see what you achieve when leaving your comfort zone and gain confidence.
Over the long run, experiences make us happier than material objects. Don’t say no to a character building one and make it an adventure.
Travelling is an addiction in itself, and so is solo travelling. It’s definitely my preferred way of getting to know a new country. I have done many solo trips over the past 15 years: my longest backpacking tour took me 12 months all around Australia. These experiences have made it so much easier for me to start out on a new life in different countries (I’m counting number 7 now).
I am very grateful for the kindness and generosity of the people I meet, may it be welcoming me to share their house and food, lending me a jacket on a freezing overnight train, giving me a lift or showing me around.
© Cover image and hiking image by Aviv Ben-Zvi who I met on the Thorsborne Trail.
Inspired by the MOOC I recently did and really enjoyed! : The Science of Happiness initiated by UC’s Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.