Why Embark On a Solo Adventure?

A boatload of reasons. The main one, though, is that it will change you.

image by Adrian Dascal from Unsplash.com

Why should you take a vacation at some point in your life completely by yourself? As opposed to ever traveling with your family, partner, or friend(s) like people generally tend to.

While it’s fantastic, great fun, comfortable, and often preferable to travel with someone to whom you are close and to share the experience(s) of the trip with that person, there is also something valuable, important, and sometimes even life-changing about the experience of traveling alone.

I believe everyone should take at least one solo vacation in their lifetime, for a minimum of three or four days (though one week is ideal. Not too long but not too short). This is coming from a person who moved to Europe by herself with just four suitcases, no job, and no social connections over there. The intention was to stay for a year. It turned into four, and one of the most awe-inspiring, character-shifting experiences of my life. I recommend it to everyone. However, if that isn’t possible, take a trip somewhere entirely on your own.

Here is why:

1. Total personal freedom. Instead of having to plan and coordinate your travel itinerary and interests along with at least one another person’s desires, when traveling alone, it’s 100 percent up to YOU! You can eat wherever you want to and whenever you feel like it, you can go see whatever you would like to see. If you long to linger in that cafe for 3 hours, people-watching and reading a great book, go for it. If you yearn to take on that strenuous mountain hike, you can do so! If you feel like lounging on the beach or in a park for a few hours and just doing nothing, that works too. If you want to while away the day shopping or in a museum, do it! You can literally choose to spend time on whatever your heart desires and tailor your activities to however your mood might strike you. No compromising or coordinating with anyone else required. This is way liberating, empowering, and just feels awesome.

2. Confidence building. Big time. Many people are hesitant to do things alone. They may not be totally comfortable with their own company, feeling a need to surround themselves with others at all times. Maybe they feel anxious or insecure about the idea of doing things on their own, worried about how others will perceive them, or even just a bit bored by the thought of it. Well, you should learn to enjoy your own company as much as the company of others. This is an important life skill to acquire. It signals that one has a sense of inner peace, happiness, and self-confidence. Taking the plunge and traveling somewhere alone, even though it scares you, will sky-rocket your self-esteem once you have done it. Sure, you may have moments of discomfort or loneliness on the trip, but this is normal. We all have these moments throughout life in general anyway. And yes, even those of us with close friendships and a great romance feel this way at times too. We all do. But these will just be moments, on the trip, as in life too. They will pass. The overall trip, though, will be a marvelous experience. You are likely to come back with new life outlooks and having experienced some significant insights and profound life feelings. Once you return from your solo travels, you will feel strong, excited, and content that you were able to do this on your own and have fun while doing it!

3. Meeting new people. When you travel as part of a pair or group, other people are less likely to approach you. However, when you are alone, other fellow travelers are much more inclined to approach and strike up a conversation with you. If you enjoy meeting new and interesting people, this can be eye-opening and lots of fun. You will have the chance to meet fellow travelers like yourself and maybe even some locals. This can enrich your travel experience by volumes, depending on the people you meet and maybe even things you will experience with them!

4. Liberating. This basically falls into the same camp as confidence building. Throughout your trip, as well as when you return, you will have many moments of feeling incredibly liberated by the fact that you had the gall and bravery to travel on your own. You will look back on the experience with pride and joy. You will find yourself telling friends and family tales from your solo travels frequently with a huge smile on your face (especially as most of them remark “You’re so brave to have done that alone, jeez, I wish I were brave enough to do that!”). But you were badass enough to have taken the leap and done it, unlike most other people. What a great feeling!

5. You will pay closer attention. Traveling with a loved one is terrific in its own regard. It can help bring the two of you even closer via this novel, endless-thrills-a-minute, shared experience. Yet, when you are alone, you notice things you might not have otherwise. If you are sitting in a park talking with your companion, you may miss out on observing the passing of life around you. The local couple picnicking with interesting, regional foods spread on a blanket before them, overhearing tidbits of their intriguing conversation. You might not glance down the narrow alleyway to your right, if walking with your friend, chatting and laughing, to see the worn, inviting, ever-so-charming bookstore that beckons. While eating a meal, you are likely talking with your travel companion, whereas if you were alone, you might look around and observe interesting things with different diners. You might home in more on the taste of your food and the ambiance surrounding. When we travel solo, we have less distraction and thus, may pay closer attention to and pick up on things we were more likely to miss otherwise.

6. Self Reliance. When one travels alone, there is no other person along for the ride that you can rely on. Therefore, it all comes down to you. You will need to figure out how to find your hotel within the winding, back cobblestoned streets. You will have to figure out how to navigate the city, communicate with locals, find out where things are, etc. If you find yourself in any temporary stressful situations (and as fellow travelers know, this tends to happen at least once or twice per trip. Travel mishaps are part of the deal on any adventure), you will need to manage and feel your way through these yourself. Again, a great life skill to learn: strength in the face of stressful moments. Believe it or not, once it’s all said and done, you are likely to look back on this with positive, empowered feelings. This results in feeling liberated and self-sufficient. And it arms you with some more entertaining stories to tell! This segues into my final point….

7. Great stories to tell others. Traveling alone will undoubtedly gift you with many wonderful, entertaining tales to tell family and friends when you return. You will think back on these memories of your solo explorations often with a mixture of pride and joy. And again, will feel fabulous for having done it. Because many people do not take the leap and ever travel alone, it will fill you with elation to be able to claim you’ve done it.

8. You get deeper into yourself. When with a loved one, you are likely to spend most of the time engaged with them. Chatting, checking in to see how they are feeling and what they wish to do next, snapping photos with them, laughing, you get the idea. All of this is stellar, but, it keeps you away from something that, when traveling solo, you are likely to find. Yourself. When exploring on your own, it’s just you, yourself, and your own thoughts. This will offer ample opportunity for ruminating deeply. On your life, the choices you’ve made, what you’re happy with, and the things that, maybe, you’d like to change, the person you’ve become, and who you’d still like to grow into, the things you love and the things you dislike. Traveling alone offers a rare opportunity for a deep, uninterrupted dive into a lot of time with yourself. This will be, for many, life-altering in a good way. Too many of us avoid this meeting with ourselves. It freaks us out. We are afraid of what we might find there. Those who seek out these opportunities for time with themselves tend to be happier, more self-reflective, and emotionally healthier, than those who avoid it.

Dare to explore somewhere, to venture elsewhere solo. Do this at least once. It will expand your character in ways you didn’t expect. You have so much to gain within such an experience. There are likely to be some tough moments, as this tends to happen on any travel adventure, and there will be a ton of incredible ones. Travel alone to change your life, your mind, and your soul.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

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