Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 1/12 by Anish Baheti

It all started when one fine day i took a test ride of a H-D on a busy street. Amid all the chaos and blaring horns, somehow i felt an inner peace. It was nothing to do with the H-D but more to do with the feeling of freedom and joy of being on two wheels all by yourself. Instantly i fell in love with the concept of solo travel.

My first solo trip was to Goa (yep, that's right) and i explored it in a very unique way on two wheels and that's how i got the solo travel bug. Since then there is no looking back and every place i visit on foot, on two wheels or any other mode of transportation it brings along an experience which sometimes is difficult to express.

Why travel?

Why do we need to travel? It's expensive to travel, involves a lot of resources, planning and execution and not to mention the fear of going to unknown places. Still we love to, because it's a welcome break with your friends and family from the daily and mundane life. You take it as a welcome change.

In other words there is a deep seeded wish to experience the uncertain and travel gives you that. You and your group members feel refreshed and sometimes depressed with the thought of returning back to normal life again after the travel.

Solo Travel - Are you kidding (me)?

Well, that's the first thought that will run through your head. One emotion that stops someone to do solo travel is - fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of being lonely are two sub-categories. Another reason which I found common with people who never tried solo travel is that they will come up with all sorts of excuses. However, the underlying reason behind all those excuses lies in fear.

Once you realize that and accept this it becomes easier to dissolve the fear.

Okay, I hear you - how do I start?

That's a great start. It shows you are willing to explore the unknown keeping aside the fear.

Start is almost the most difficult part. Once you have taken that little step as a solo traveler, you have no idea how easy it will become to book another solo trip. So i suggest you start with a small trip - may be an hour or two from your place to get a feel of how uncomfortable and lonely it actually is. Let that feeling pass over through you instead of switching attention to deny that feeling. Complete that one small trip and secretly you have given yourself a pat on your back! That's exactly how i started.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 2/12 by Anish Baheti


Here you go, the list of 10 most common excuses that I have heard so far:

Don't have enough time

Don't know where to start

Don't have enough money

Don't have the wanderlust

Don't think solo travel is safe

Don't speak the same language

Don't have enough energy to travel

Don't know what I will do if I get lost

Don't think solo travel is a smooth experience

Don't know what people will think if I travel solo

Reasons to travel solo

Well I gave you the list of excuses now let me give you the reasons to travel solo.

Don't have enough time

In the wise words of one Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." If you think you don't have time now, you never will find time.

Don't know where to start

Well that's exactly the point to travel - to have a new experience. Planning a new solo trip might sound crazy and daunting at start but I suggest you 'loosely plan' your itinerary. The idea is to kick-start the journey.

Don't have enough money

That's a fair point but clearly not an excuse not to do solo travel. There are two ways you can save money - earn more or spend less. If you can't think of earning more, I suggest you go for spending less. Don't waste your money on random parties, booze or buying stuff you won't ever need. Consider minimalistic lifestyle and all the money you saved by spending less on things, can be used to travel.

Don't have the wanderlust

Oh, you sure about this one, because all I have to do to turn down this excuse is to show you some picturesque landscape and orange-red sunsets to knock this one off your list of excuses.

Don't think solo travel is safe

Fear of unknown as mentioned earlier is the biggest fear. Amidst the countless number of 'what-if' scenarios your mind will be thinking there are still some real life safety concern. I suggest you take precautionary measure wherever you go and take care of your health and safety at all times. Rest you can leave it up to the almighty and go with the flow.

Don't speak the same language

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 3/12 by Anish Baheti

Ok, that easy. Learn the local language or use Google Translate or get one of those amazing translating apps. Come on that's clearly not a fair excuse.

Don't have enough energy to travel

You are not getting any younger, neither am I. Who know you might feel more energetic once you complete your travel. Never say never!

Don't know what I will do if I get lost

That's the fun part actually. Getting lost only to be found at a completely new location which is not part of your original itinerary is one of the best things that can happen to you (well, let's say most of the time). Be open & friendly and strike a conversation with the locals and they may guide you right. Use GPS and always listen to your gut feeling.

Don't think solo travel is a smooth experience

Well why would you need a smooth experience? It's the bumpy rides which gives the most joy, isn't it? Most importantly it will teach you the value of spontaneous thinking.

Don't know what people will think if I travel solo

Oh he/she is such a loner. How can he/she go all by himself/herself? I think he/she is weird or gone crazy. Trust me this is what you think that they think about you. Come on, you are not that famous or a celebrity and even if you are a celebrity how's that going to matter. Point which I want to make is - it's your life so go ahead and live it your way, even if it means to travel all by yourself.


I am going to list out 10 challenges. You may find them as challenges to overcome or you would have already conquered them. You may also add more challenges which are not part of this list but are specific to your circumstances.

Loneliness - this one clearly is a challenge if you consider being alone and being lonely as same thing. You can be alone but not feel lonely (ideal situation for a solo traveler) and you can be in a group and feel completely lonely.

No one to take your photos - It's a small yet an important challenge. Well get good at taking selfie, or requesting strangers to take a click. I reckon if the photo is worth clicking you will figure out a way!

Safety - Important one and certainly can't be taken lightly. I guess planning, knowing the facts about the place you are travelling, keep in touch with people you know and have a backup plan ALWAYS.

Restroom - Well, you have to drag your luggage every time you use the restroom. If that's the case I really don't have a solution yetJ. It really doesn't bother me after travelling to 25 countries so far! Pack light and pack right.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 4/12 by Anish Baheti

Dining out - It might sound and feel weird for the first time or may be few more times till you get comfortable in your own skin. I suggest focus on the food and strike a conversation with someone you feel comfortable with, you never know it could turn out to be a perfect dinner!

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 5/12 by Anish Baheti

Theft - It happened to me once while travelling overseas but the fact of the matter is it's solvable. It might take up a lot of energy and resources but take it as part of learning experience and be mindful next time.

Communication - Focus more on the body language. Remember, everyone smiles in the same language. Be nice and respectful at all times. Don't use words or language that will come down as offensive. Observe the locals carefully and you will understand it better.

Lack of access to funds - Well, this one actually is a technical challenge. Make sure you carry enough currency, especially for overseas travel, be aware of the fees bank charges for overseas usage and I strongly suggest you carry a forex card for such international trips.

Weather - Plan trip in the month which suits your body, if you can. The whole idea is that you can't control the snow, the rain, the sun and the wind. All you can do is manage your wardrobe, your medication and your travel itinerary accordingly. Wherever you go take the weather with you and you will be fine.

Long travels - Flights, trains, bus, rides or simple walking all are modes of transportation. Making plans, getting delayed, stuck in traffic, missing connections and losing health are all part and parcel of long distance travel jitters. Well, all I can say is it will build your patience level and accepting the fact that nothing is ever in your control. Take a deep breath and enjoy the mess!

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 6/12 by Anish Baheti

Starting small

I always suggest this strategy to every new fellow solo traveler. Always, start small. Take a small road trip or a bike trip. Gain some confidence and then take long route. Same goes for interstate travel, first start with intercity travel and slowly as you understand your body, weather, food, culture within your state, you can start exploring other states. Once you have done that start international travel near to your home country and as you turn pro, go far off places. Remember, its never about clocking the miles but it's all about locking the experiences.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 7/12 by Anish Baheti


Enough said about the challenges, now let's try to uncover the rewards of solo travel.

Self-awareness - Your level of self-awareness is going to shoot up. You will come to know about your likes and dislikes. You will find about your travel style, travel pace and travel preferences.

Self-love and self-confidence - Both of them are going to drastically increase. Solo travel will make you fall in love with yourself. You will start listening to your heart than your head. Your level of confidence will sky-rocket and your level of dependency will diminish.

Break your comfort zone - Stepping out of your circle of friends and city itself is enough to feel butterflies in your stomach or racing heartbeat. But remember, there is no growth in your comfort zone and there is no comfort in your growth zone. It's okay to be uncomfortable for a short while as you stretch the limits of your comfort zone bit by bit.

Alone, may be not - Surprisingly solo travel doesn't equate to being alone. As a matter of fact, you will find more people to connect with if you are travelling solo than in a group. Who know you might become really good friends!

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 8/12 by Anish Baheti

Decision making capabilities - You will learn to make quick and sound decisions. This is a very good skill you will learn while you are all by yourself. You will find out how this new-found skill works magic in your personal and professional life upon your return.

Learn to detox from technology - We all know it eats up a lot of our time and we feel all drained up as if our energies have been sucked out of our system. The good news is, you can easily detox from technology as you spend more time learning about the new place and culture. You can still use technology to share your experience but this time you are using it when you want not the other way around.

Realization of your inner strength - Your actual power is beyond your imagination and solo travel is just going to provide you with a glimpse of that.

Freedom - You get to celebrate your freedom. All of it, your way!

You might find your Purpose - Self-reflection and self-introspection happens without any pre planning during your solo trip. You never know, you might find your true purpose in one such soulful trips.

Broad minded individual - Your conversations with strangers, exploring new rituals and experiencing different culture will open up your brains as you get new local perspective about looking at things.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 9/12 by Anish Baheti

Risk appetite - You risk taking ability will improve. Actually+ you will learn to take calculated risk and still be completely responsible for its outcome. Isn't that good?

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 10/12 by Anish Baheti

More adaptable - This one will happen automatically once you set your foot on a different land. You will learn to adapt to the train system, run faster it need be, eat anything if required (mostly vegetarian in my case), travel with less, sleep on the couch or a train, bunk with 8 other strangers in a hostel and still manage to catch an early morning flight to yet another unknown territory.

More disciplined - Well, there's no human alarm clock so you better wake yourself up on time or else you will miss that flightJ You will start valuing time more - both yours and others.

Become good bargainer - You will learn to steal conversation, last-minute deals, free stuff and turn into a smart street shopper.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 11/12 by Anish Baheti

Scary, not anymore - Although we talked about being scared as one of the challenges, you will find out that the more you travel to different places, MOSTLY people are good, kind and humble. It's not that scary as it looks to the eyes of a non-traveler.

Builds gratitude and compassion - This is probably one of my favorite. When you meet less fortunate people, mistreated animals, street vendors or extremely hardworking person, you somehow secretly thank God for giving you such a great life. It builds compassion towards others. Try it for yourself on this one.

Photo of Solo Travel - compilation of challenges and rewards 12/12 by Anish Baheti

You will become a collector - Yep! You will start collecting memories instead of things. You will be happier if your passport is full of stamps than your house full of stuff.

About the Author

Born in India and made in Australia, Anish Baheti is a qualified Chartered Accountant (IND), an MBA in Accounting & Finance (AUS), a Certified Life Coach, Trainer & Assessor (AUS) and a Certified Practitioner for Brain Mapping (UK).

Anish's own journey turned his life upside down, from working for premier brands to finding his calling. Reflecting now, he feels the change was super challenging but very fulfilling. Today, Anish's passion lies in simplifying numbers and inspiring people. When he is not inspiring, he enjoys exploring new places, interacting with people from different cultures, sing and dance. So far he has travelled to 25 countries and promotes solo travel. Recently he has completed two solo bike trips of 10000 kms. each - one in South India and one in the North East. Each trip took him 50 days and he had a chance to cross 4 international border in the same trip.

At 6'0 and a quarter, he is tall for no reason. He listens more to his heart than his head. He truly believes lesser dancers stumble, better dancers swing. Thankfully, for him, wanderlust syndrome is a glorious thing.