Ten Reasons Why You Need to Travel Solo
Whether you’re a long time traveler, new to the career-world or dealing with a high stress job, there’s a high likelihood that a trip alone will be good for the spirit. Traveling solo opens the world up to you in a way that you may have been missing before. Stepping out of your comfort zone, meeting new people and potentially making a life-long friend, and of course finding new gratitude are all part of the potential outcomes of traveling alone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be to the other side of the world or hiking along the Appalachian trail for a year, but a modest start - a weekend alone at the beach, can be the first step into clarity and discovery.
My first solo trip was to Montego Bay, Jamaica at the ripe age of 23 and then I was off again to Maui, Hawaii at 25 and to Italy at 27. I started with steps that felt attainable and affordable and despite the years of flying alone for business, that time to myself is still precious. And I also grew restless waiting for friends to be ready or willing to break away from their lives and travel. So, if all that I’ve mentioned so far hasn’t quite sold you yet, here’s a list of ten more reasons you should do it or do it again!
- Do what YOU really want to do.
Do you like to have a tight schedule? Do you like the day to be loosy goose? Either way, good! Do it! With no one else to report to or be responsible for you, make the most of YOUR time the way you want to.
2. Expand YOUR community.
One of the things I tend to do when I travel solo is sit at the bar - even if I’m not ordering a cocktail, have the opportunity to sit up high and take in the environment around me. I observe the local culture and how people act. Eventually I end up talking to the bartender and getting local secrets, or some folks (usually who are drinking at the bar) will engage me in conversation or I end up chatting with someone in line for the bathroom. From this placement and observation I’ve learned fun things, held great conversation, and even ended up with life-long contacts.
3. Sing. Wherever and whenever YOU want!
Do you like to sing in the car? Or sing in the shower? Do you love your voice? Does anyone else strongly dislike your voice? Well guess what?! It doesn’t matter! Sing at the top of your lungs with music or without music. Even if someone hears you, you’ll never see them again so sing your heart out and have fun!
4. Let go of attachment.
What I mean by this one is stuff. How much stuff do you have in your life? When you set out on a solo trip, leave what you don’t need behind. Pack lightly and let things go. Don’t worry about having to keep track of all of the lists of things you would need to at home or if you were traveling with your family or friends. I never check a bag (unless of course the airlines chooses to make me) and it is liberating and time saving. Minimalism can do you some good.
5. Liberate yourself. Walk around naked.
Unless you were raised like Heidi Klum’s family, where they walked around naked constantly (so I’ve read) you might be the person who covers up in the gym locker room or is worried about who sees what and in what lighting. Well, let it go! And in your comfortable private space, set yourself free. See what the fresh air does to you.
6. Get to know yourself more deeply.
If you have a busy job or a family to take care of I’m sure you feel like there are times where you come last or you feel guilty about taking time for yourself - even if its only for 2 hours. This is an opportunity to try and quiet the mind, shut out the world, and find out more about what you like, need, and want for yourself and your sanity. It is an opportunity to practice self-love and kindness and address the thoughts that potentially keep you up at night more productively.
7. A time to learn.
Is there a culture you’ve always been curious about? Is there a language that’s fascinated you or that you’ve wanted to learn? Are you a fan of history or typography? Many of us have learned about exotic places or battles from a text book under fluorescent lights. Traveling solo is an opportunity to immerse yourself singularly and deeply absorb the parts of the world or places where you can dive in and live it with your whole body. Standing underneath Mt. Rushmore was way more interesting than reading about it in social studies class. Don’t limit your opportunities for discovery by being afraid to step out solo. PS. You can always join group tours for things like that and even though your solo, you’re still not going at it alone.
8. Be a source of inspiration.
When I tell people about my solo travel, I can be met with a horrified expression. “I could never do that!” “How do you do it?” “I am scared to be alone!” Fear (or Fake elements appearing real) hinders people in a variety of ways. And if you’ve made it through life this long, you’ve likely been through things that are a lot worse than traveling by yourself. Give it a try, live to tell it and help others find the tools and confidence to embark on what could be a life-changing moment.
9. Stretch YOURself.
When I was a kid, my father always told me to speak up for myself and ask for what I want. I don’t know why, but I would be hesitant to ask for something and be heard. Sometimes I felt intrusive or annoying. But I learned quickly that if you don’t ask for what you need, you’ll lose out on opportunity. Much like needing to ask for what you want if it isn’t easy, this is another opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Think about the types of things that may come up during solo travel that would make you nervous. Think about how you can tackle those fears and then try it. Especially when dealing with service people, you can find that it is less stressful than you may have once imagined.
Thanks to Drake it makes it much easier for me to tell you, YOU Only Live Once! And the timing may never be right. One thing I’ve learned is that life isn’t lived for you. You aren’t getting any younger and one thing we will never be able to control is time. So, if you have it and want to live it fully, seize the day and take advantage of this opportunity - even if its only once in your life. Don’t look back and wish you tried something when you might be out of time. Get it.
Get out there and try it! And let me know what happened to you. Good, bad or indifferent at least you know and can cross it off the list. I can’t wait to hear about it.