Written by Emily Shoemaker
Now more than ever, the dynamic of traveling is changing. The Visa Global Intentions Study determined that the percentage of people traveling alone went from 16% in 2013 to 37% in 2015. People are becoming more independent, and travel is becoming more accessible to everyone due to technology. People of all ages and genders are setting out to see the world on their own, realizing that traveling alone can be a unique experience all in itself.
When you travel alone, you will experience the world from your unique perspective. You will assimilate to other cultures, learn about new places, see beautiful landscapes and architecture, and you will eat new and different foods. All of this aside, there are miraculous ways that you will change and grow internally when you set out on a solo journey. To some of us, it can be intimidating to take the reins in a foreign place without the support system of your friends or family, but what if you find that it’s really not that difficult or scary? What if you were to literally allow the entire world to open up to you? Possibilities are endless when you shake those preconceived fears so that you can open your heart, your mind, and your suitcase. Here are 7 of those possibilities:
- You will let go of fear.The world can be scary. There are bad people with bad intentions. The unknown can create possibility for danger. What will you pack? How can you afford to travel? How will you know what to do? What if you can’t speak the language? Are you too old or too young?
Well, we know that there is more risk of danger and harm in driving your car down the street these days than almost anything else. Of course, it is important to keep a good head on your shoulders while you are travelling, but just as there are people with bad intentions in this world, there are wonderful people with amazing souls as well.
People all over the world have the same basic needs. If you forget to pack something in regards to food, clothing, shelter, or water, you will be able to find it in most places. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the world of travel, less is more. Just throw some clothes and toiletries in a bag and go!
Financially, travelling alone has become much easier over time with hostels, surf camps, and hotels that specialize in accommodating solo travelers at affordable rates, and with the handy dandy internet, you can find almost anything in your price range with great reviews from people just like you.
Language barriers, although sometimes inconvenient, can be easily overcome. You are capable of learning on your own, there are plenty of online apps to help, and people are natural communicators anyway.
The solo sojourn is not for any specific demographic, so if you have any preconceptions about your age or gender, drop it.
Face your fears. The entire world might just open up to you!
2. You will learn to make authentic connections with wonderful people. If you are reading this article, you at least have some interest in the idea of traveling alone. This probably means that you are open minded, you are adventurous, and you value having new experiences. These qualities are generally shared among those who travel, and they are traits that bring very different people together for life-long relationships.
On your travels, you may find that the people who you connect with are from different cultures or mind-sets than the ones that you have already been exposed to. You may find that your current environment may be just a small cross-section of the world’s views, beliefs, habits, and desires. Yes, it is easy to get close with someone who was on your same basketball team in school for 4 years, but what if you could make friendships with people from different corners of the world because they teach you about new ideas, take you out of your comfort zone, and challenge you?
You may find that you will create a whole new network of people who can not only join you on your future travels, but can inspire you to expand your horizons and show you what really lights you up.
Every person that you have ever met started out as a stranger. Be open and you can create possibility for amazing, unconventional friendships.
3. You will be empowered. You will be in charge of every decision that you make on your solo trip. Everything will be up to you including where you stay, who you spend time with, what you eat, where you go, and how long you stay. To a lot of us, this can be intimidating because it can sometimes be more difficult to trust ourselves than it can be to trust others. You will learn how to trust yourself by letting go of fear and doubt. Give yourself a chance! After all, you’ve made it this far.
When you learn that you are capable of making every decision on your own, and that it is even ok to make the wrong decisions every once in awhile, you will gain a whole new level of empowerment. Suddenly the world becomes a little more accessible, and you find that you can be in the driver’s seat!
4. Your values will change. This aspect of solo travel can really change your life in the best way. When you travel, a shift happens where you will begin to value experiences, culture, and knowledge rather than possessions and financial gain. You may find yourself selling that expensive car or pair of shoes so that you can pay for your next plane ticket or month of travel.
You may find that you will change your career path to something that allows you to travel and have experiences rather than the one that allows you to buy more things. This shift can be inconvenient at first, but that won’t matter when you find that your life makes more sense and has more purpose.
5. You will find passion. We all get to those points in life where things feel “sticky”. You know… those times when you just don’t feel excited or motivated by your daily life. Solo travel, as we previously discussed, allows for you to make all of the decisions. When you allow yourself to make decisions from YOUR heart, you will be amazed at the new things you will learn, the new skills you will gain, and hidden talents that you didn’t even know you had.
Think of traveling alone as one of those turning point experiences. Traveling alone will redirect you. It will teach you or remind you of what is important. You might learn to surf, cook, climb, speak a new language, or love. You will be shaken up in the best possible way, and your life will be invigorated.
6. You may change your definition of home. So here is one that your family and home-town friends may not like: You might actually never come back. You may surrender to the vagabond life, or you may find that a different city or country allows you to flourish more as a person.
Don’t worry, you will always be able to visit, there will be skype, facetime, and social media. Most interestingly, you will find out who your real loved ones are because not only will they come visit you, but they will love you whether you live in the same town as them or not.
7. You will learn to love yourself. There is no better way to put it. Traveling alone is an opportunity for you attract the people and experiences into your life that YOU want to attract. You will learn to trust your inner compass, and you will become your own best friend. You will find comfort in solace, and security in standing on your own two feet. Without a doubt, you will improve yourself, and the most effective way to improve upon the world is to start from within!
Create authentic connections with others. Empower yourself. Reassess your values. Find passion. Let go of fear. Find your home. Love yourself. Improve upon the world. Set out on a journey that can change your life for the better. What are you waiting for?