Did you know that when you travel solo, you can offer yourself one of the most empowering experiences?
As soon as I completed my 17-hour flight back to Singapore from the States, a glimpse of euphoria and happiness was vanquishing. Of course, I was sad to be around –I had a blast in New York. However, the whole feeling that remained within me the next three days was a mix of accomplishment, joy, and bitter-sweetness.
I realized that the blend of these emotions had to do mainly with the moments I had with myself during the trip.
But what made these solo occasions so special?
I’m adding every detail below; remember that you can keep this list in hand whenever the opportunity for a solo journey arises before giving it a second thought.
1. Your solo travel plans are formed entirely around your needs
Allow me to explain further what that means, although it’s obvious. Do you want to gift yourself some extra moments of sleep instead of waking at 9 am to catch the morning light and the museum queues? Then you get it, without having your mum murmuring about your sleeping habits.
Do you want to visit that gallery, run in that park, go to that concert? Go ahead without asking your group of friends or discussing with them further.
Do you wish to enjoy yourself in that restaurant with vegetarian gourmet dishes or receive some quiet sun therapy? Do you want to walk the picturesque streets and listen to your music while losing yourself in your deep thoughts instead of doing small talk with your partner? You are free to do it.
Do you want to finish some work in the meantime? Yes, sir!
Do you feel like relaxing instead of making the most of the trip by leveraging the nightlife? Then do it, and without guilt because your friend wanted otherwise.
Let the freedom of your choice and your guidance run through your veins. And let your body and spirit thank you later for it.
Read more: The best cities to travel alone in Europe
2. Solo travel bonus: There is much personal space for thought-observing
You are in a foreign place, and therefore you see, smell, and feel under new conditions and circumstances. When you are with someone –whether that someone is your friend, parent, sibling, or significant other- you get to listen to their problems, discuss your past childhood moments, or gossiping about your ex who left you.
Hence, you bring attention and energy to the past or future, while missing the present.
Someone might ask, what is the present? Isn’t the present the moment I’m sharing and the talk I’m engaging in?
In the book: “Power of Now”, Eckart Tolle notes the importance of letting your mind experience the present without thinking the past, or the future.
The present is the taste of the mozzarella on the famous pizza you’re trying or the smell of the brand new freshly baked dessert from the local bakeries.
Another present can be the sound of the cold water on that peaceful river or the ducks and their synchronized swimming in that beautiful lake, or the local people and their habits around you.
Of course, the present can be equally missed when your thoughts are dragging you somewhere else, and that can be faced by practicing mindfulness.
However, even if you know how to master that skill, it’s more likely that the comments, discussions, and the presence of someone will distract you from your current reality.
Instead, being on your own on a new experience can help you find out how much you participate in that present moment.
3. Another solo travel advantage: You get to meet people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise
My introverted friends might disagree here. They might claim that when their company is with them, they feel more comfortable around groups of people, as they are not the ones who have to initiate the conversation.
From my experience, let me tell you that usually, when people spot you sitting alone in a café, bar, park, or restaurant, they are more likely to smile, make eye contact, or be curious about why you’re on your own.
And you’re more available to enroll in a conversation with them altogether. The other person is exclusively occupying your body language response and your attention; Something that doesn’t happen when you hang out with your friends, date your partner or debating with your brother.
Conclusively, someone might feel less socially awkward to approach you or start small talk if you’re on your own instead of a big group of friends or partners.
In my case, the number of people I met on my solo trips is double the number while traveling with someone else, let alone the fact that almost all my interactions were more meaningful and exciting.
When I’m alone and meet people, I pay further attention and make extra space to engage more in discussions with the ones I clicked with, which can’t happen if my company doesn’t share the same vibe feelings.
4. You take advantage of your solo moments to put your routine-related stuff and thoughts in order
This is one of my favorite solo-traveling excuses, by far. And that’s because, as a digital nomad, my work/job tasks can be planned remotely.
Although I have the freedom to work from wherever I want -with the help of my laptop and internet connection, of course- I usually have to sacrifice a bit of my touristic mood or lazy beach weekends to settle work-related tasks.
Something which is not happening when my friends, family, or boyfriend are taking their days off to party, drink, relax, and explore without a glimpse back to their realities.
But even if you aren’t a digital nomad like me, you might want to use some of your free time in your travels to settle and take care of pending stuff of your routines. Especially the ones that require some extra thought or energy that you might not have 9 to 5, or when you cook, or you walk your dog, or you are in the gym. And that’s normal.
Now, I’m claiming that because most people, when they travel, they take “vacation.” That vacation is usually linked to escapism from their everyday lives, and that means not a second thought to their daily realities. That might clash with your mood to check on your family, work, or friends back home.
Don’t forget that productive traveling is not an escape;
It’s tempting to remain distracted when you find yourself in a new place. You can maintain a healthy balance between the excitement of the unique experience and the routine that your reality holds.
That is, particularly if you want and wish to travel a lot.
Without the flats of our shitty Mondays, we wouldn’t have the peaks of our joyous Saturdays.
5. Finally, your confidence levels increase dramatically
You thought you were incapable of being alone for days, afraid to sit in a café on your own. You were terrified; how could you wander in a museum by yourself?
You were intimidated by the idea of having dinner at a nice restaurant, unaccompanied, bitter at the thought of buying a drink to yourself at the bar.
But look at you; you made it. Were all these doubts legit?
Conclusion: The 5 great reasons you should travel solo once in your life
I’m not advocating that all of your solo travels will be life-changing or magical.
There’s a variety of things one has to be careful of or keep in mind when by oneself.
But trust me, nothing ever feels the same after that first solo trip.
In my case, it was decisive; Once I started traveling on my own, I never hesitated again to catch the flight for my bucket list destination when no one could join me.
Once you go solo, you’ll always go yolo.
To recap, those are the 5 reasons you should travel solo at least once:
- Your travel plans are formed entirely around your needs
- There is much personal space for thought observing
- You get to meet people you wouldn’t meet otherwise
- You take advantage of your solo moments to put your routine-related stuff and thoughts in order
- Your confidence levels increase dramatically