Majority of us are accustomed to traveling in groups. Traveling like this allows us not to leave our comfort zone as we are usually surrounded by friends or family.
And this is not a bad thing at all. Spending time with other people helps us develop our social skills but traveling solo can do the exact same thing and make us gain a boost of confidence.
My first solo trip was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It was also the first time that I’ve used Couchsurfing. Since then Couchsurfing became one of my favorite travel websites. Although my opinion on it has changed a bit (i’ll write more about that in a new post) and I’ve barely used it to stay at someone’s place, I still believe it’s a great tool for meeting new people and exploring hidden sides of destinations.
Here are 10 life lessons solo travel teaches you
You are resourceful
Looking for a cheap airline ticket or a place to stay? Missed your bus or lost your passport? Planning a trip can improve your organizational skills as you’ll need to handle several things by yourself such as flights, accommodation, budget etc. A great way to plan and organize your trip is with a TripRider app.
If you prefer to do it in a classic way, excel spreadsheet does wonders. Here you can list your flight details, accommodation, tours and activities. It’s great for pre-planning process as you can add many things at once and access the file from anywhere if you upload it to your online drive.
You become more patient
Waiting for the flight? In line to get that amazing meal? Hitching a ride? Travel involves a lot of waiting which can make you irritated sometimes but it works great for strengthening your patience. Over time you develop tolerance for it and you can even learn to enjoy this time. How? It becomes a meditative process. You think more and you pay more attention to the sounds and things that are happening around you. In short – you are more present. I also love to fill this time by doing something productive like reading a book.
Photo: Airport lounge by MIKI Yoshihito (CC by 2.0)
Plans don’t always work
Sure you can plan your day even if you’re alone but I’ve found that many times plans don’t work out. You may strike a conversation with someone while you’re in the museum or on a tour and decide to have coffee afterwards or be late and then have a sudden shift in your schedule but that’s okay. The key is to stay flexible and don’t plan too much ahead. Sometimes the best moments are the unplanned ones.
Photo: Clairefontaine Basic by cireremarc (CC by 2.0)
You learn to trust people
When we travel in a group we have that feeling of security. You’re not wandering around a new town alone and from the psychological perspective you stress less. But traveling solo makes you get out and ask for help which teaches you that in the end most people are genuine and want to help. This is especially true for solo travelers as sometimes the local people will look out for you and even escort you to where you wanna go to make sure you arrived safely. You will also befriend people more easily.
Photo: Trust by purplejavatroll (CC by 2.0)
It’s great for introverts
Traveling solo is great for introverts. Sure, for me solo travel is sometimes all about the solitude and learning but when you travel solo you are more open to other people than in general.
Photo: Female friends by Hernan Pinera (CC by 2.0)
You will be more confident
This feeling usually comes after the trip. You’ll feel confident after you realize that you have successfully completed all of the tasks on the trip, especially if you thought that you wouldn’t be able.
Photo: Consumer Confidence by Chris & Karen Highland (CC by 2.0)
It’s great for creativity
Solo travel is great for learning. You’ll be faced with many decisions daily and you’ll usually have to act quick which in return really boosts your creativity.
Photo: On creativity by Linus Bohman (CC by 2.0)
Travel teaches you that ‘grass is not always greener on the other side’. Many times we wish for the better but when you travel you start to feel gratitude for what you already have. The fact that you have the opportunity to travel, meet new people and see and experience amazing things fills you with gratitude and kindness.
Photo: Gratitude by BK (CC by 2.0)
You become less anxious and scared
Some people are scared of flying, some have social anxiety and so on but to overcome your fears you simply have to push through them. It’s very difficult at first but with continual practice you can end the battle in your favor.
Photo: Timothy Ferris quote by BK (CC by 2.0)
Teaches You about You
Exactly, travel, especially solo travel can teach you what kind of person you want to be. As mentioned previously, travel teaches you about other people and their way of life and as we are all different, we can learn from one another. Most importantly when you travel alone you don’t have to listen to anybody else. All decisions are your own and it helps you understand yourself better. It can also inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals as you become more open minded and you are willing to take risks.
Photo: Sunset skydiving by Lachlan Rogers (CC by 2.0)
So do yourself a favor and travel solo at least once!