I’ve been on plenty of trips alone over the last few years. My first solo trip was to Amsterdam in the summer of 2014. I was very nervous to go on my own for a number of reasons. I didn’t know the city, I was a young woman – 19 years old at the time – and I had to be completely dependant on myself. Still, I was excited to test out solo travelling and see if it was as good as what I’d heard and read online.
I was in Amsterdam for about 4 days and the entire experience surpassed my greatest expectations. Since then I’ve been on a number of solo trips and even moved abroad for 7 months last year.
Solo travelling has honestly been one of the biggest blessings in my life, so here’s why I think you should give it a try.
Solo travelling forces you to grow up.
Heading to a new country or city alone is a tough challenge. It’s basically like throwing yourself into the deep end after having done only a couple of swimming lessons. It’s especially difficult if you don’t speak the language of that country. However, because you are totally out of your comfort zone, there is so much room for growth and development.
By stepping into the unknown you open yourself up to new ways of thinking and being. Solo travelling forces you to grow up because it demands that you be compassionate and mature with regards to how you treat and deal with a culture that isn’t your own, perhaps in a language you may not even understand.
You discover more on your own.
Naturally, you’re more likely to meet new people and try out new things since there’s no colleague by your side to accompany you and provide a safety blanket. You can’t rely on your friends to keep you entertained throughout your trip either, so therefore you have to go out and find the adventure yourself. In doing this, you gain the confidence to approach strangers and visit places on your own. And as I always like to say, in the spirit of confidence and openness you attract people who are open-minded, sprinkling tons more excitement to your journey.
Looking back on the group holidays I’ve had, most of the time I didn’t make any new connections or meet new people. Don’t get me wrong I love going away with my friends and family as it’s such a blessing to laugh all day long and strengthen our bond. That said, I believe that solo travelling is the best what to meet locals and really discover your surroundings.
You’re your own boss.
As a solo traveller, you have complete freedom to do what you like when you like. You don’t have to answer to anyone because it’s your experience and your choice.
I see every solo trip as my own little, mini project. I book the flights, I decide on where I’m staying and for how long, and I determine when I want to travel. Where to eat, places to visit, people I speak to, absolutely everything is on my terms and there’s no compromise. This feeling of total freedom is extraordinary and very empowering.
Learning to be ok with you.
Solo travelling is a solo experience in which you are at the centre of it. You are alone and that can be very daunting.
When I was in Amsterdam by myself at 19 years old I was learning to love and accept me. I found tremendous peace and strength during this trip because I couldn’t run away from who I was, and I had no other choice but to yield and enjoy my own company. I was given the opportunity to reflect on and reevaluate my life and the future.
There’s much harmony that comes from being in a different location because the mind focuses on absorbing your environment rather than on self-criticism and negative self-talk.
When I came back from Amsterdam I knew I was different. Perhaps that difference wasn’t visible to others. Perhaps it wasn’t even important to others. But I knew that I had changed and I knew I was happier. And in the end, that’s what really counts.