Ever heard people who go on trips alone rave about their experience – and then tell you that you have to go on one too? We have. You’d think they are exaggerating, but thinking about it while having the wind course through your palms is a different experience altogether. Especially in times like 2020 – Covid-19 has hit the world by storm, and we are just itching to pack our suitcases again. Taking time to travel alone after so much time indoors with your family might be a good thing – and it’s not as scary as you think! In this article, we’ll delve into why you should solo travel at least once in your life.
Of course, group travel has its benefits as well. Companions and conversation are imperative to human life, not just travel. Plus, you don’t have to work on your own, or take all the burden of losses onto your own shoulders. It’s a split of both responsibility, losses and wins. Sharing moments together with people you care about is beautiful and heart-warming, but experiencing memories by yourself can be a spiritual experience altogether. Let’s delve into the benefits and reasons behind solo travel being so popular – and necessary.
1. You Become Your Own Best Friend
Travelling by yourself makes you more in-tune with yourself. It teaches you to be in the moment, whilst looking back at it gives you a sense of achievement. It teaches you how to be responsible for your own actions, as there is no one else to cushion the fall – there’s no one else to share the wins with, either.
You are allowed to bask in the glory of every moment, as well as given space to think and deal with your own inner dialogue. You’re allowed to freely catch up with yourself, understand your habits, quirks, likes and dislikes better and more clearly. You’ll learn that not every choice you make has to work out, but when it does, the responsibility is worth it. You may sometimes feel that you’re all alone, but this teaches you how to be lonely – how to be still in your thoughts, allowing the mess to untangle into a satisfying calmness. People generally come back from these trips as those who have formed a deeper connection with themselves – and this is why. This is what’s in it for you.
2. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Solo travel allows you to do many things. And in all that you do, you are forced to be aware of your surroundings, your capabilities and your actions. It puts you out of your comfort zone, and into a grey area where anything is possible – and that’s good.
Often, travellers tend to partake in thrill activities or adventurous experiences with others they are close to – sharing the burden of fear. When you’re plunged into the deep end alone, you learn to cope and to melt into an experience that is so personal and so gratifying. It is times like this that (you might not know it at the time, but) build your confidence and teach you about yourself. Being in a foreign space by yourself is stepping out of your comfort zone – physically. Mentally, it is an ongoing process that some may feel in the most familiar of places. You might find comfort in the thought of being somewhere where no-one knows you. Or alternatively, in a place where you can get to know anyone. It’s all up to you!
3. Solo Travel Teaches You Empathy
You meet a lot of new people on your way in your new destination. You might make many new friends – or just one. Whichever it is, these moments of familiarity with another person forms connections. It builds empathy, and teaches you first-hand. This means that you don’t just learn more about yourself, you learn more about your integration into society and the world as a bigger part. You don’t have to come into direct contact with someone, either.
You can be an observer to other’s experiences, and this may also spark interest in you – the lives that those might lead when you’re not looking. The life of a mother taking her child to school, that of a scuba diver and his fishy friends. The life of that taxi driver you were talking to, or his mother who runs a café two streets away. The list is endless – and in the seemingly different ways that locals lead, you may find yourself getting lost in the similarities they have with yourself…
4. Convenience Is Key
Let’s face it – solo travel is just. More. Convenient. When you’re on your own, it’s so easy to arrange things – be it a ski trip, snorkelling adventure, or just a trip to the supermarket. When you throw another person into the mix, it complicates the way you do things. Now you have to plan for two, take into consideration their needs and wants, and overall have a shared experience. While it might be comforting sometimes, it might just be a pain at other times.
It is much easier to decide things or change plans last-minute, if you realise that something might not be suited to your trip. You can opt out and opt into experiences more conveniently, if it was only you who was doing the deciding. You are also less likely to be disheartened by doing something that you don’t like. For example, you do not have to go to that night market if you’re tired after a long day. If you brought your friend and you went just because they wanted to, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much. On the other hand, if you just went the next night instead, you’d probably have a better time because you weren’t being forced into an experience. Were to go, what to buy, what to do – all in your hands. Solo travel is great because you can tailor your trip to your needs exclusively.
5. It’s More About the Destination
Imagine this – you’re walking through the cobbled streets of Spain, a soda in hand. You look around and see tall, brick buildings that take you to a different era. Small overflowing carts of a myriad flowers. The smell of saffron wafting through the air; a sign of paella being cooked at lunchtime. Another smell throws you off – coffee being ground and the sound of beans being churned in the maker. A brown pup runs across the street, with a child in tow. They’re both excited: carefree and jumping about.
It’s possible to experience these things first-hand and more clearly when you don’t have someone with you. If you were with your friends or family, you would be too caught up in conversation and laughs to notice these small nuances. Which, of course, is not a bad thing at all. It’s just a completely different memory – the experience when alone becomes more about the destination than the company. Which is why we think you should do it at least once in your life.
Solo travel is amazing. And we hope you’ve got the gist of why it is so. As well as what’s in it for you at the start of your trip! If this article prompted you to get up off that couch and get a visa to your nearest (Covid-free!) destination, then we’ve got you covered. Visa2Fly has services for all of your visa, travel insurance and SIM card needs. Remember to contact us now! Check out more of our blog posts on tips for travelling with a pet and also for long-haul flights!