Solo Traveling - Here's How it Changes You for Better


One day, you’ll be left alone and you have to stand there no matter what.

Photo of Solo Traveling - Here's How it Changes You for Better by Mihir Vatsa

I travel whenever I get a chance. I have been to the mountains, beaches, desserts, and even jungles. I have traveled without a ticket to places like Shimla, Rishikesh, Dehradun and a lot many other places. I have camped in lonely jungles, slept on bus stands, railway stations and traveled in ways many people won't dare to. However, despite having done all this, there is one thing which I would likely avoid if possible - solo traveling. Not that I am scared to travel alone, but it is not my cup of tea. Solo traveling is okay every once in a while but I would certainly not want it to be my way of travel.

Happiness is only real when shared. Here are the people I share my happiness with.

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Mihir Vatsa

Why? As Chris McCandless wrote in his journal, "happiness is only real when shared." However, when you travel alone you have nobody to share your happiness with. However, if you get a chance, you should take it and go on a solo trip. Solo traveling would teach you some of the most important things about life that no school or college can teach.

You're stronger than you think. It is only in your darkest times when you come to know of your greatest strengths. So, as long as you don't try, you won't know what your strengths are. Solo traveling provides you with that opportunity to explore yourself. Because you won't have your parents or your siblings to do everything for you, you'll be left with no options and you'll have to do to find out if you can or not.  

You're more capable than you know. Secondly, one comes to know about their true potential, off things they are really capable of. I remember I was always scared of heights but that fear didn't stop me from camping at Triund, my first trek. It took me twice more than average to reach the peak but I was able to do it because I was only left with one option, to keep moving forward. 

Prepares you for unwanted things in life. Everything you have in life is temporary, and you have to learn to let go of them when the time comes. This is something which almost everyone would agree with. We all know the things and the people we have in our life won't be there forever. And, we have to let go off them when the time comes. The question is, are we strong enough to handle the emotional and mental trauma? A few days without your loved ones in a different place and you would get your answers because there you won't have options. 

You don't have to depend on others always. My first solo traveling destination was Jaipur. Even though I wasn't planning to go there alone, the last minute changes made me realize I can't do anything without depending on others. Thus, when all my friends backed out, I decided to travel alone. Though the journey was not as awesome as it would have been with friends, I came to realize a lot of things which shaped my character for the better. 

Having someone who's got your back is a wonderful feeling. Traveling solo is fun, empowering, and it even teaches you a lot of things. But, it also makes you realize how awesome the feeling is when you have someone who's always got your back. Fayaz, one of my friend who likes to travel solo shares an instance from his Thailand trip. While he was driving on the mountains, he came across a girl who was badly injured. It looked like she had hit a dog with her vehicle and since she was alone, she had been lying there in her injured state for at least a few hours. Fayaz recalls the track he chose was less famous among travelers and if he hadn't been there, the girl would have died. This is when you need your friends who can pick you up, take you to the hospital and take care of you.

Solo traveling, apart from the intent, requires a lot of mental strength. That's one reason you should always appreciate people who travel alone. They, even if they are not physically strong, can take a lot more than others when it comes to mental pressure.

How does solo traveling help you?

Traveling solo makes you feel empowered: You're your own boss. You get the freedom to take your own decision, execute them on your own way, and improvise them if need be.

Makes you more alert and attentive: When you travel alone, you are more alert and attentive about your surroundings. 

Improves your budgeting skills: When you travel alone, your bank balance and cash in hand are all you have. You overspend, you will land in trouble. So, that makes you extra conscious about what you do, where you stay, what you eat, and how you travel. 

You learn and become wiser: When you travel, you meet new people and get to know their stories which helps you learn a lot about your and certain other cultures. You open your mind to new ideas and thoughts to become a smarter, and more aware version of yourself.

Why do people like traveling solo?

Different people have different reasons for traveling solo. For instance, some people travel solo because that entitles them with flexibility. They can improvise their itinerary as per the requirement of the situation and mood. For me, solo traveling alone is mostly about being able to do things instead of giving them up because my friends don't have time. Besides, solo traveling is a lot like entrepreneurship - you pursue your plans, you take decisions, and you enjoy the outcomes without having to answer anybody. Even if your plan fails, you don't have to apologize to anybody.

In the end, solo traveling is a great learning experience and everyone should travel alone at least once. However, it should not become a way of life because being a lone wolf comes with its own set of cons, and one might not be strong enough to get through them alone.