8 Lessons You Learn About Yourself When Travelling Solo
Wouldn't it be nice to just get away from everything and everyone once in a blue moon? It's a thought that has probably crossed everyone's mind at least once. But few really go through with it. After all, travelling alone isn't everyone's cup of tea. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't hit the road on your own at least once in your life. There are a lot of things you can experience when you step out of your comfort zone and into the world beyond. To get you motivated, I've compiled 8 lessons I've learned when travelling solo:
1. You learn to get out of your comfort zone
We all have a comfort zone. And most of us are afraid to leave it. After all, there's a reason why we call it the comfort zone. It feels uncomfortable to try out something new. Although staying in your comfort zone feels nice, it doesn't allow for personal growth. New experiences can give you more confidence and make you more creative. Travelling alone can challenge you in different ways, allowing you to develop into a well-rounded individual.
2. You learn to trust your own decisions
One of the best things about travelling solo is that you make your own decisions on where to go, what to do, and what to eat. No one can influence your decisions or make them for you. You can wander around aimlessly to see where your feet take you. Or you can get a tour guide to help you make the most out of your visit. Not only do you become more decisive, but you also learn to trust the choices you make in life.
3. You learn to live with less
You can't take with you a lot of stuff when you're travelling solo. You only have yourself to rely on to carry your luggage from one place to another. So, it is important for any solo traveller to learn how to live with less. You can start by building a capsule wardrobe which basically means choosing a minimal number of solid-coloured clothing that you can mix and match. Consider packing a minimal amount of small essentials: passport, phone, tickets, a small money clip wallet to store the bare minimum of cash and cards, a travel-sized medical kit, a compact toiletry bag, etc.
4. You learn to be comfortable staying alone
It's not easy for everyone to be alone. Eating on your own with no one to talk to can be difficult for anyone. Admiring the sunset on your own can also be a lonely thing. Learning to love your own company and be at ease with yourself is something that will happen when you're travelling on your own. While it won't happen overnight, you will eventually feel at peace wherever in the world you may be.
5. You learn self-confidence
As I've already mentioned, travelling alone can help you develop into a better person. When you take on new challenges and learn to solve problems as they arise, you become more confident. While you do make mistakes, you also learn how to live with them. You learn not to be afraid of the unknown. Instead, you become more open to experiences because you're confident that you can take whatever it is that comes your way.
6. You learn to face your fears
Everyone is afraid of something. Fear of being alone. Fear of heights. Fear of certain animals and/or insects. Fear of losing your stuff. Fear of making a mistake. While it's not easy to overcome your fear, travelling alone can help you face them one by one. Afraid of heights? Try visiting high places such as Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or la Casa del Arbol, just outside Baños in Ecuador. Fear of traveling alone to countries where your language is not widely spoken? Opt for the countries where you will have to overcome the language barrier. For instance, while travelling to Brazil, why not learn a few basic phrases in Portuguese?
7. You learn to make new friends
For some people, it's not easy to make friends. But in a strange place, even the friendliest of people can have difficulty building a relationship with strangers. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to meet new people. All you need is a friendly smile, a helping hand, or even a shared fear or experience. Don't forget to keep your head up to keep eye contact. And avoid using electronics. People are more likely to strike up conversations with you this way.
8. You learn to test your limits
Travelling alone is not easy. There's no question that you'll face some difficulties. You might find yourself feeling insecure because you aren't familiar with the customs or language of the place. You might end up staying in a place that isn't up to your standards. Wherever your travels take you, you'll find that your limits get tested time and again. This might mean testing your physical endurance or your comfort level. Travelling can also test your mental strength. You will learn to be better at regulating your thoughts and emotions, no matter your situation. Simply put, solo traveling can help you go beyond your limits.
Travelling alone is something that everyone needs to do at least once. It's one of the best things you can do for yourself. The memories alone will make the trip worth it. But the lessons learned, the roads taken, and the adventures experienced will ensure you get to live a better life overall.
Written by Mariam Simmons