A few weeks ago I arrived back in Scotland after a 2 and a half month trip across Central and Eastern Europe; I now believe that almost anyone can benefit greatly from solo travel.
Solo travel offers as much fun as it does personal growth and development; part of the reason I wanted to take a trip in the first place was to become a stronger person. I think that solo travel can improve people in all sorts of ways, from increasing self-dependence, to gaining a more accurate ‘bigger picture’ perspective of the world.
Below I’m going to go through some of the main reasons why I think everyone should try solo travel, as well as some of the plethora of ways in which self-development is boosted and moulded by solo travel.
You’ll Realise That The World is Much Larger Than You
Growing up, especially in a smaller town or rural area, you tend to become very closed off into seeing everything around you as all there is, and all there ever will be. The same sites, the same people, the same opportunities, the same views, the same everything permeates into a seemingly permanent perspective you have of the world. Solo travel helps break this mould.
You will meet people of countless nationalities, upbringings, creeds, beliefs, and personalities. You will see architecture, customs, traditions, and festivities that you never knew even existed on this planet. You will hear words, sounds, music, technology, and more that your ears have never processed before.
In short, you’ll gain an important piece of knowledge, which is that your own little world really is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Now, whether you see that as a positive or a negative thing is up to you. However. with this information you can begin to see that you don’t have to take your tiny little existence so seriously; enjoy life instead.
You’ll Find That You’re More Capable Than You Thought
Solo travel isn’t all fun and games all the time. There’ll come times where you are outside your comfort zone. facing things you’ve never dealt with before. Be that taking a night train with a bunch of strangers for the first time, or simply taking actions to avoid being scammed or pickpocketed.
Regardless of what it is, you will come to realise that you can handle it, well, at least most people will find that they can handle it.
When the time comes where you know you don’t have a choice and only have the one viable option, you will rise to the challenge and leave wondering what all the fuss was about in the first place. This is an invaluable gem you mustn’t lose as you can then apply that to almost anything when you get back home.
Even if you do have a choice when it comes to a difficult or challenging task, tap into that feeling of not having a choice and being forced into an uncomfortable position. Suddenly the task doesn’t seem like quite the immovable object you conjured up in your head in the first place because, in your mind, you know you have to move that object no matter what.
You’ll Develop a Strong Independence
It’s no exaggeration to say that you’re ultimately as free as you may ever be during your solo travels. This means you have the freedom to forge your own destiny so to speak; you could sink or swim and the decision is entirely yours.
Fortunately, if you have some common sense about you and an adult level of responsibility, you’ll be able to steer your metaphorical ship towards fun times and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you can’t shake off your dependence on others during your trip then you’re sure to be going back home within the week, riding by the seat of your parent’s money.
When you’re in an unfamiliar country, surrounded by total strangers, hearing only a weird language you don’t understand, all you have is yourself to rely on. Be someone you can rely on to get by without issue. If you’re not that person, solo travel will quickly mould you into that person as it leaves you no other choice except to cut your trip short and go home if you can’t handle it.
You’ll Increase Your Overall Confidence
Once you get a handle on the life of a solo traveler, with all its planning, organisation, and drunken stupors, you’re sure to improve your confidence in almost all regards. I would say this is especially true of social confidence as you’re going to meet A LOT of people almost every single day. From hostels and parties to trains and buses, you would actually have to try hard if you didn’t want to meet anyone on your trip whatsoever.
No doubt one of the main reasons you’ll be embarking on a solo trip is to try new things and immerse yourself in new experiences. Just by taking the reigns and doing such things you will increase your confidence.
I went kayaking off the coast of Faro, I explored the gloomy catacombs of Paris, I read the melancholy wall messages of Gestapo prisoners in Cologne, and each and every one of those experiences shaped me into a better and more confident person. Anyone can reap the rewards, that means you too!
You’ll Discover New Things About Yourself
It’s natural that during a period of intense self-development that you will discover things about yourself that you had never realised or thought of. For example, I always detested learning languages in school, something that put me off learning languages altogether. However, I discovered a love for the German language during my time in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; now I’m self-teaching myself German every day!
Appreciation for new things will also manifest themselves, be it an eye for gothic architecture, a feeling pushing you towards trying out painting, or perhaps a new idea of which direction you want your career to go. Whatever it is, it is bound to change some of your habits back home. The music you listen to, the things that you say, the activities and hobbies you devote time to, and what you do to fulfil yourself in life.
Need some time to get to know yourself? Take a solo trip, you can explore any and all aspects of yourself in a place where you’re entirely anonymous, while still enjoying all a new country and culture has to offer you.
Embrace Solo Travel at Least Once in Your Lifetime
Whether it’s 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years, I believe everyone should try solo travel at least once in their lifetime. Not only will you likely have some of the most unforgettable experiences of your lifetime, you’ll also meet many amazing people and the whole experience will take you a step closer to becoming the strongest version of yourself.
There’s really no downside to planning out and doing a solo trip, except maybe the negative effect on your bank balance and your waistline… However the valuable insight, knowledge, and experiences you do gain make it all worth your time, money, and effort.
Try out solo travel someday; maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, maybe not even in five years, but try to do it someday.
Are you thinking of taking a solo trip one day? Where are you thinking of going and why?