Traveling with friends and family can be a lot of fun and rewarding, and can give you memories to look back and cherish for a lifetime. But there is something very unique and special about traveling solo. With more alone time, you would learn things you didn't know about yourself. Traveling solo is not as overwhelming as it may seem on the outside because you are always occupied with the sight, the sounds, and the smell.
As far I'm concerned, traveling alone is the best gift you can give to yourself. Its eye-opening and liberating. Solo travel helps you get out of the bubble of your comfort zone, and explore the world in a way you never thought.
Here are a few things I learned from traveling solo, and I feel everyone should go solo at least once in their life.
1. Trust your instincts
With no one by your side to help you in your journey, you have to decide for yourself and take a leap of faith. You may be lost in the woods where the roads diverge and you don't know which one to take, or you are unsure about a place you want to visit next. always remember to do what your instincts say. At first, it takes a lot of courage to trust your intuition, but as time goes by you will learn that trusting your intuition has become a habit.
2. Be yourself
When you travel solo with nobody to look at you or to judge you, you think freely, and do the things you love in a way you like. You can eat whatever you like, wherever you like. You can go to a beach and read a book rather than engaging with the more active crowd, or go wild and do some adventures of your own - nobody cares. You are no longer worried about what people think of you, and you enjoy being yourself in any situation henceforth.
3. Take risks
Being solo can be difficult at times. It exposes you to various situations you would never face if you travel with friends or family. You are left with no choice but to take a few risks along the way. With your instincts by your side, you will easily learn the art of taking calculated risks, which goes a long way.
4. Face your fears
You may feel anxious about figuring out everything all by yourself. Maybe you are nervous about talking to a stranger, or feel awkward asking for a table for one at a restaurant; maybe you will feel uncomfortable visiting a museum or a fort alone. Once you decide to face these fears, you will realize that you are much more capable than you thought you are and that you can rise to any occasion.
5. Take responsibility
You are the master of your own plans. Nobody to blame! Well, you can blame that travel company where you booked or the hotel staff, but that ain't gonna change the situation you are in. You put yourself there, and you need to buckle up and fix it.
6. Learn to take care of yourself
Being alone can be tough at times. You can get dehydrated, fall sick or get exhausted at the end of a very long day managing everything on your own. You will understand that you and only you must take care of yourself, and you would also come to know what your body needs.
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7. Learn to be more open
Traveling solo invites you to the land of unknown. To make the most of what a place has to offer, you need to be more open to ideas, open to change in plans. Without this, you can't get far. When you travel alone with nobody by your side, you will learn to challenge your preconceived thoughts about a place, a culture, etc., and have an open mind.
8. Interact with new people and make friends
When solo, you will need some help. You cannot always Google everything and go for it. Sometimes, you need to interact with the locals to find an alternative route, some hidden spots away from the crowd, etc.
On my recent solo ride, I visited a gem away from the crowd, and trekked to a waterfall with a bunch of people I met just 10 minutes ago, and shared stories from our lives in those couple of hours we spent together.
9. Learn to live with less
Sometimes you miss to book a hotel at a peak vacation time and end up living at a hotel with basic facilities or at a homestay with very basic accommodation. Since you are alone, you need to carry your backpack most of the times. Thus you need to prioritize your luggage as well. Over a period of time, you will learn to pack the things you absolutely need. So, less is more!
10. Learn to appreciate things in life
When traveling solo, you are more receptive to your surroundings. You develop a keen interest in people that surround you. Meeting people from across the world, or the locals you realize that life is not easy. The things you take for granted, cannot be taken for granted by everyone. When you get to know people who don't have the things you take for granted, it gives an even deeper appreciation for what you have.
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