5 Good Reasons for Solo Travel
For Calum Hill, solo travel was both a character building and a rewarding experience… something that he can highly recommend. He’s put together what he feels are 5 good reasons to give it a go…
1. Self Discovery
The first step towards self towards discovery lies within our inner adventurer, and there’s no better way to open up then travelling solo. Although company is great, it often limits our own path – moving freely helps bring our visions to reality. Alone time allows the mind to focus, time to process what we see or hear, and it provides challenge. It’s said, after all, that magic happens when we step outside of our comfort zone! Not only does travelling by yourself give us the freedom to see what we desire but, as we get to know ourselves better, it also gives us the time to enjoy the things we love most.
“I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.” (Thomas Jefferson – Letter to John Banister, Jr., June 19, 1787)”
2. Meeting New Faces
When travelling in groups it’s easy to rely on friends, creating a more inward focus on communication, however solo travel offers an outward approach to meeting new people. Being surrounded by fellow travellers definitely makes it easier to chat, as most people are in the same boat. Meeting locals may unfold easier too – seeing how other people live and becoming part of the local community opens our minds and breaks down various conditionings we’ve collected from our upbringing.
Many aspiring travellers see this as a major influence on planning travel adventures. “Often if you go in a big group it’s easy to just stick together,” said Meg Vincent, before she set off on an independent trip to India. “I’m looking forward to almost being forced into meeting new people.” Who knows who we may come across along the way, perhaps creating lifelong friendships with like-minded people.
3. Immersing in New Cultures
Of course we can learn with friends, but how much do we feel part of the culture when someone familiar is with us? “There is the fact that you experience cultures on a different level when you don’t have someone you know and love close to you to cushion your experience and remind you of home,” says Inez Sofia, an experienced solo traveller.
There’s nothing more exciting than discovering new methods of living, whether it’s cooking, singing, hanging out or whatever. It might as well be a business trip if we don’t engage with the culture! In my own experience with solo travel I put myself forward much more, mainly thanks to the fact that I was surrounded by people in the same boat.
4. Moving in our own Flow
Travelling with friends can alter travel plans as our travel buddy may have a bigger budget or different desires – it would be disappointing to end a journey due to overspending or holding any regrets. When we arrive somewhere alone, it’s up to us how long we stay, and how we spend our money – we have more freedom to choose our own travel experience. Unlike when working at home, any anxieties from fitting into schedules slowly drift away. We don’t have to catch that 6:00am train, meet deadlines, pay electricity bills, or any other society induced routine… we can slow down, meander. Suddenly, there’s a realisation of how precious time is and this can also help on our return to a busy life… it reminds us to breath and stay open to fleeting, but interesting, connections – those ‘little’ gifts life will always offer, no matter where we are.
Gaining confidence comes naturally as we travel; when trusting our own abilities we’ll see things do usually work out. Being able to rely more on our own wits is much more practical and helps to channel out those self conscious thoughts. As we tune more into our natural flow, we move with an ease that creates an inner relaxation – something which may be never felt if always meeting the demands of others.
5. Fresh Perceptions
Sometimes people need change, time to consider – many of us know someone that’s recently travelled and returned as a completely different person. We’ve all experienced a free mindset but maintaining that feeling is important; having our own memories can be a great way to re-attune that feeling. When travelling people tend to be more open and solo travel is a fast track to opening ourselves to a whole new world. We may find that we become friendlier in general, as well as feel more relaxed in ourselves. With fresh perceptions and a newfound confidence, the world really is our oyster! Bon voyage…