I used to have a book-review blog and once I wrote a post on why you shouldn’t feel the need to go travelling, my reasons ranged from; don’t follow the crowd to there’s nothing stopping you travelling in short bursts as opposed to month long stints. I still agree with my reasons for not travelling, back when I was in a long-term relationship with plans of settling down and taking a more homely route in life. Travelling isn’t for everyone and it’s a terrifying thing to do it alone – I struggled a lot – but I still believe 2016 year was the best year of my life and these are my reasons why I think travelling alone could benefit you;
Up until the minute I sat on a plane to fly to Sydney on my own I don’t think I had never done anything remotely important on my own. I went on holidays with my parents, my friend’s families or my then-boyfriend. I couldn’t drive to places I didn’t know without someone sitting in the car to guide me and I had a terrible fear of being in places I was unfamiliar with.
Gaining independence is one of the most important things a girl like myself needed to learn but it works for anyone who is slightly unsure of themselves in any way. Travelling alone will teach you how to lead by your gut instinct, how to simply not panic when you’re in a situation that you don’t feel comfortable in, it teaches you to be happy in your own company, to absolutely not need anyone but yourself and trust me that is so important.
I’m not talking body or self-image confidence, I mean the confidence to meet new people, to go to places you would never have dreamed of, to make decisions you might never have considered in the comfort of your own home.
Travelling alone is scary and you won’t even notice the confidence you build just by making the smallest decisions on your own. You’ll find yourself saying ‘yes’ to more things, doubting yourself less and just going with your instinct.
Maybe it’s because i’m an only child, but If i’m around people for too long I start getting irritable. I’m not sure if I could have travelled with a friend for so long, even if I had wanted to, so this advice should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Travelling alone offers you the freedom to do whatever you want, without having to consider anyone else’s plans or ideas or feelings. Wanna go on excursion? Do it. Wanna lay on a beach all day drinking cocktails? Have at it!
I travelled along the East Coast with a girl I met on my second day in Sydney, and it was great to organise my travels alongside someone else and have that familiarity along the way, but it was also nice to know that we weren’t joined at the hip. Sometimes we didn’t even stay in the same hostel. The point is, travelling solo means you are free in every sense of the word, no need to ask anyone’s permission, advice or opinion, and that’s an experience worth having in itself.
I’m not even joking! The amount of people who have called me brave and looked at me with eyes wide open because they just genuinely cannot believe I had the balls to get on a plane alone, travel to a country i’d never been to and roam around without anyone else alongside me is a satisfyingly large number. Imagine when you’re old and telling a story to your grandchildren, or even your great-grandchildren about the time you arrived in Sydney with no idea where you were staying or no idea what you were doing? It’s inspiring.
Take the opportunity to create stories, make memories that will live on through the tales you tell. Write a diary or a blog and your adventures will continue to be told long after you’re around, after all, that’s what life is about right? Making your mark?
Self-care and Self-awareness
This may seem cheesy, but you really don’t find out who you are until you’re forced to interact with yourself more often than with anyone else. Making decisions without consulting other people, spending time alone, spending time with people you wouldn’t ordinarily hang out with, these are all factors that add in to creating a new-you. Before that, you’re a product of the people you grew up with, family, school friends etc. Travelling gives you the opportunity to be someone without those influences, to test your personality out on people who don’t know your background.
I’m not sure I changed much on my return, but meeting new and different people gave me different perspectives on things, I’m probably more patient and less anxious now which are both good things.
Travelling alone, with a friend or in a group is really down to the individual, I’m not sure I would have gone to a country other than Australia on my own, especially if I didn’t speak the local language, but there is something liberating about going solo, it’s 100% your own adventure and it really is an eye-opening experience.