Okay, hear me out.
You might have stumbled across here by accident. Or maybe you’re thinking about it and you’re starting to research (and found us! Yay). Maybe you’re fed up of waiting for friends to be ready to travel. Maybe you just want to do something a little bit crazy.
First of all, let me say, every question you have, I had.
I used to regard solo travel as something that bordered on ridiculous. Didn’t these kids have friends to go with? And then, when I started thinking about it further. How do they know where to go? How are they not lonely? How do they stay safe?
It sounds daunting, I know. It can be scary to venture this far outside of a comfort zone, and it’s true, solo travel is exactly that. But it’s also the most rewarding thing you will ever do.
You should do it. Here’s why.
10. Honestly? It’s not as scary as you think.
I think the idea of it is more terrifying than actually doing it. You imagine all of these crazy scenarios happening and get stressed out just by thinking of them. You think, “oh, it’s too hard”. And that’s good because you should imagine those scenarios. But there’s strength in pushing past that initial unknown. When you find yourself catching your fourth flight in a foreign airport, it becomes so simple. It slots into place, and you think “oh, I can do this. I got this.” And you do. You make friends with the person across the seat from you on the plane. The smile from the hotel attendant means everything to you. The broken English conversations. There is beauty in feeling the fear but doing it anyway.
9. You’re on your own time zones.
Freedom wise, this is the best. Don’t want to stay out all night? Don’t have to! This is one of my favourite things of solo travelling. So many times when I travel with friends I have that awkward juggle of time. If you’re totally different people (and even if you’re similar in personality) there are often different things you want to do and see and you prioritise your time differently. I once went on holiday with someone who wanted to spend all her time in her hotel room. Now, when I travel alone, I’m totally on my own clock. It’s awesome. This goes into my second point, which is…
8. Your trip is tailor-made to yourself.
Yes it is. You’re in Europe and want to hit 15 countries in 7 days? WHY NOT! (Actually that sounds impossible, but whatever floats your boat.) Want to eat nothing but breakfast food for a week? GO FOR IT! (I’m not sure that’s healthy. Again, you do your thang.) You want to sit on a bench all day in Central Park and eat ridiculously sized pretzels? SURE! (… I have done this one.)
7. You’ll find it easier to make friends on your own.
This requires a little bit of bravery, but the second you do it once, you start to get your confidence (and this is where fake it till you make it comes in). It’s true that people find it easier to talk to if you’re on your own. All you have to say is, “Hi, I’m from ________! What’s there to do around here?” Bonus if they’re locals. Bonus if they’re also travellers. Bonus if they’re from your country. I have met so many Aussies overseas, and there is just this instant comradery between you. And travellers are usually the kindest, most enthusiastic people you will ever meet.
6. You’ll be surprised. It’s safer than you think.
As women, we’re raised right from the very beginning to distrust people. As kids, we’re taught not to trust strangers (for good reason, I’m not discounting that.). As little girls, we’re told to dress a certain way, act a certain way and be a certain way in order to keep ourselves safe. As women, it’s the same. We’re naturally fearful of our surroundings, because of what we’ve grown up with. And you do have to trust your gut – and it can be an unsafe world. But it’s surprising how easy it is to take a few extra steps to stay safe by using your common sense. Often, people recognise a traveller, and are more than happy to show you around.
5. The wonder lies in the unknown.
While the so-called ‘tourist traps’ are there for a reason – and they’re often as important to see as getting off that beaten track – there is freedom and exhilaration in just “seeing what happens”. Whether you meet locals who direct you to a magical view, or to an unknown bar, or you run into other travellers and become best friends with them. Travelling is all about the unknown.
4. You can be as spontaneous as you like.
In ‘real life’, as I like to call it, I’m quite reserved and quiet. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you travel, you can be anyone you like. Nobody knows what you’re like at home – you get to try out what it’s like being someone else.
3. Because of what you learn about the world.
Getting out of your home town, city or country can do wonders for your view of the world. Seeing how others live can vastly change your perception – those minor annoyances that get you at home? They disappear when you travel. Your eyes are opened.
2. Because of what you learn about yourself.
This. It’s so hard to say how you’ll change, but you will. You’ll learn to trust your instincts. You’ll figure how to keep yourself safe and how to make friends, as well as seeing some of the most beautiful sights the world has to offer. You keep closer track of your finances than ever. And that’s just brushing the surface.
1. You will be totally changed as a person.
This one bears no real explanation, but when you travel, especially solo, something awakens in your soul, and you live and breathe for these experiences.
A couple of my favourite places I’ve been as a solo traveller…
John Lennon Wall, Prague
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Venice Beach, California