The Joys of Travelling Alone: A Journey of Self-Discovery
I was speaking with someone yesterday who said, “I couldn’t do what you do, and travel the world by myself.” I considered her words overnight, and here is my response.
In an increasingly connected world, the idea of solitude might seem anachronistic. Yet, there lies an unparalleled charm in travelling alone, a journey that is as much about the world outside as it is about the world within. The joys of solo travel are manifold, each trip becoming a personal narrative of adventure, introspection, and growth.
1. Unbridled Freedom: Travelling alone means setting your own pace. There’s no need to compromise on destinations or activities. Want to spend an entire day at a museum or linger at a café, watching the world go by? There’s no one to rush you. You become the sole author of your travel story, making spontaneous decisions without the need for consensus.
2. Self-Reflection: Solo travel provides a unique opportunity for introspection. Away from the familiar, with only your thoughts for company, you can dive deep into self-reflection. It’s a chance to understand your desires, confront your fears, and rediscover yourself. Every trip becomes a journey of personal growth.
3. Building Resilience: Travelling alone is not without its challenges (especially in my case when one has mobility challenges). From navigating foreign public transportation to overcoming language barriers, you’ll face situations that test your patience and resourcefulness. Yet, with each challenge overcome, you’ll find yourself becoming more resilient and adaptable.
4. Richer Interactions: When you travel with others, your interactions are often limited to your travel companions. Travelling alone, you become more approachable. Locals and fellow travellers are more likely to strike up a conversation, leading to richer cultural exchanges and unexpected friendships. (I actually, among my closest friends are people I met while travelling alone)
5. Increased Mindfulness: Travelling solo, you become more attuned to your surroundings. Every sight, sound, and scent is amplified. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves, the distant hum of a market, or the intricate patterns of architecture, you’ll find yourself observing and appreciating nuances that might be missed in company.
6. Empowerment: There’s an undeniable sense of achievement in successfully planning and executing a solo trip. From booking accommodations to making on-the-spot decisions, every aspect of the journey reinforces your sense of independence. You gain a new-found confidence in your abilities.
7. Flexibility: Without a fixed itinerary or the preferences of travel companions to consider, you can be truly flexible. If a place resonates with you, stay longer. If another doesn’t, move on. This flexibility allows you to truly immerse yourself in places and experiences that captivate you.
8. Personal Growth: Each solo trip pushes you out of your comfort zone, challenging your perceptions and biases. You return with a broader perspective, having learned not just about different cultures, but also about your own strengths and weaknesses.
If we choose to see it as such, travelling alone is a celebration of one’s own company. It’s an invitation to connect deeply with the world and oneself. While the idea might seem daunting to some, the rewards of solo travel are profound. It’s a transformative experience, one that leaves you with cherished memories and invaluable life lessons. So, the next time you think of taking a trip, consider going it alone. It might just be the journey you’ve been waiting for.