Traveling solo is the actual best decision ever. It’s way more fun, spontaneous, and adventurous than traveling with other people. You can plan the perfect trip for yourself, doing whatever you want, whenever you want. You challenge yourself, become more independent, and everyone you know will (correctly) assume that you are the coolest person ever.
Solo traveling really does change your life, and as cheesy as it sounds, the person that comes back from the trip won’t be the same person that left. I know, because I returned from my solo trip as an insufferable Enlightened Traveler, and my friends are sick of hearing about it, which is why I have a blog now.
I am always late af to the party, so I had my first solo adventure at 27. So I can vouch for the fact that it’s never too late to change your life! Especially for women, there’s never been a better time to travel alone – more and more women are realizing that not only is it possible to see the world on your own time, it’s better too. By the end of your trip, you’ll wish you’d been doing this all along.
You Can Do Whatever You Want Whenever You Want
I love my friends, but y’all are a pain in the ass to plan stuff with. Once more than one or two people are involved, you can say goodbye to any brevity in decision-making. One person wants to go on this hike, one person wants to go on that hike, one person doesn’t even want to go hiking, and so on. I often find myself conceding just so the tedium of an eternal planning sesh can finally come to an end.
Every aspect of your travels from accommodation to activities to eating has to be carefully coordinated with other people. And that is tiring, and lame. If you’re going to spend a ton of money, fly halfway across the world, and sacrifice weeks of pay, it should be for something that’s tailored to you, and your interests. Your travel should be all about you.
One of the best parts of traveling is the spontaneity, and when you’re with other people that’s rarely an option. You can’t just sprint down a street after a monkey, or impulsively book a same-day flight, or cancel extravagant dinners to take shots with strangers. At least not without confirming with someone (or multiple someones) first, and where’s the fun in that?
You Can Travel Anytime
One main obstacle to traveling is just finding someone to go with. You and bae might not have any leave at the same time, or your friends might have a completely different vacation in mind. It can be so disheartening asking around and realizing that no one wants to go with you.
I dreamed up and then abandoned so many trips back in the day because none of my friends wanted to go, and it sucked. If you’re traveling alone, you don’t need to wait for someone else to travel with. You could go tomorrow if you felt like it! There’s nothing standing in your way (except maybe finances — but we’ll tackle that one in a post or two).
I took my first solo trip because I had no one else to go with, not because I’d actually planned on traveling alone. I asked around and no one else had time off or any interest, and I still wanted to go, so I said fuck it and went anyway. And it was, by far, the best trip I’ve ever taken. I’ll never wait on someone else to travel again.
You Meet Way More People
I often get asked if it’s lonely to travel by myself, or if I miss having someone to share experiences with. It’s actually completely the opposite. I’m literally never alone when I travel solo. Not only do people approach me more, I’m noticeably more outgoing, and more open to new experiences with new people. I met more people than I ever did traveling with friends. If you’re traveling solo, you will only be alone if you want to be alone.
When you’re in a group, your attention is pretty much occupied, and you give off a vibe that you’re busy. It’s intimidating for people to approach you when you’re mid-conversation and surrounded by friends. When you’re by yourself, people are intrigued, and there’s also nothing stopping them from coming up to you and striking up a conversation.
I’ve had more “so are you here by yourself?” conversations than I could count, and they were all from lovely people with a genuine interest in wtf I was doing there alone. It’s intriguing to see anyone, especially a young, devastatingly attractive (kidding…) woman, traveling solo. It gets you instant points, and wins you instant friends, because it piques people’s interest. Finding out that you’re at this bar or in this country alone tells them that you’re confident, independent, and probably a really interesting person. People want to get to know you.
You Challenge Yourself
It’s an accomplishment to travel alone! There’s a ton of planning and coordination and stress and work that goes into pulling off any trip. And when you’re doing everything yourself, it’s that much more pressure. You have to be the navigator, the budgeter, the event planner, the chef, the entertainer, and the motivator. Travel obviously isn’t all fun and games, and going it alone is pretty impressive.
For me it was life-changing to realize that I could explore a foreign country alone without dying. As cheesy as it sounds, it was empowering. Just a couple years ago I was so anxious I could barely navigate a grocery store and there I was hopping through boats, zipping around on scooters, climbing mountains, and doing whatever the fuck else I felt like doing that day.
When things went wrong – and they did, bigtime – I didn’t have anyone else to rely on, so I handled them. I met every disaster with a surprisingly good attitude, a clear head, and maybe a v minor panic attack (lol). I’d been so worried about traveling alone, but I was surprised and pleased to find that I was up to the challenge after all. I came out of the experience feeling genuinely proud of myself.
You Become More Spontaneous and More Independent
There’s something so freeing about knowing that you could be in Namibia or Iceland or South Korea tomorrow if you wanted. That you could go skydiving or swim under a waterfall or hike a glacier. And that literally no one else has any say in what you do, when you do it, how you do it, why you do it. You just…go.
This mindset slowly creeps into every aspect of your life, and realizing how good it feels to do things on a whim will basically ruin your life. You’ll get back and discover you’re taking more risks in your day-to-day life and taking less shit from people, at work and at home. The days of eating a salad for lunch will be gone. Fuck salad. New you is going to try that new Ethiopian restaurant down the street, because why not?
Traveling solo basically gives you a taste of what it’s like to really own your own life. It’s so indescribably liberating – you don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s not selfish to put yourself first, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of other people in your life – those things aren’t mutually exclusive. I used to be guilty of not prioritizing my own interests in my life, and always putting other people first. Not anymore. Now my life is all about ME, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
I valiantly attempted to keep this post from being cheesy, but I’ve clearly failed spectacularly. Every word written here is true though! I’ve never felt half as alive or proud or excited as I did when I was adventuring through Indonesia. It was the first time I could actually envision a future that I was genuinely excited about, that didn’t just feel like a slow crawl towards death (lol). And it’s what made me realize that this is what I want to do with my life!
I had a few glasses of wine while writing this, so hope y’all enjoyed the extra dose of emotions. I’ve been hard at work planning the next few months of my life, and have a ton of crazy adventures coming up that I can’t wait to share! In the meantime, let me know what trips you’ve got coming up! It would make my day if this inspired even one person to get out there and see the world too 🙂
Solo travel is actually the second-best decision you’ll ever make, ranked just below subscribing to my email list. Don’t miss any posts! Subscribe now for more travel adventures, sparkling wordplay, and sub-par jokes 😛
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