Solo Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.– Anthony Bourdain
The most famous chef among travelers and the most famous traveler among chefs said it well. Travels are challenging, life-changing experiences. Solo travel, more than anything, reveals things about yourself you had never known, helps you build confidence, shows you how brave you are, and helps you be at peace with yourself. But how exactly can travel encourage that shift in your persona? Here are some ways solo travel can impact you that will perhaps spark your interest.
You will become more independent
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It’s in our human nature to rely on other people as much as we possibly can, and this doesn’t mean we’re spoiled. On the contrary, we love to be helped and we love to help other people. However, going on an adventure by yourself will force you to become more independent and get a fresh perspective on life. There’s no doubt that you’ll make some mistakes along the way. There might even be some panic involved. But you will also learn a lot.
You’ll break away from routine
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Even the most wanderlust-ridden human beings are usually slaves to routine, especially during workdays. You wake up, take a shower, have a cup of coffee, go to work, get back from work…. and do it all again tomorrow. You probably even go to the same places when socializing. After a while, routine gets us desensitized.
But when you’re on the road, you’ll learn to recognize the signs of an excellent coffee shopbased on the smell of freshly ground coffee alone. You’ll be able to get to know new people and make new friendships. It will be like in kindergarten when you’re trying to make friends. You will need to re-learn the cultural patterns and boldly jump into the new experiences.
You will face your fears
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We have different fears. For some, the fear of the unknown is enough. For others, the fear lies in pushing yourself out of the comfort zone. Whatever the case, facing our fears has us come out the other side with a new appreciation for ourselves, feeling like we can take on the entire world.
Maybe you find talking to strangers incredibly unnerving. Or maybe you’d secretly like to try one of those fun things that adventurous people do, likegoing on a long hiking trip, but you’ve never had the guts to just let go in that way. Whatever the challenge is for you, chances are, you’ll be driven to take it on at some point in your journey. And you’ll come home a different person.
You’ll get to know the most important person in your life – yourself
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Many people spend their whole lives getting to know hundreds of other people without actually knowing the most important person in their lives – themselves. Traveling alone allows you to get to know the person inside you. You will finally learn not only your greatest fears and doubts, but also your hopes and dreams. You will learn the importance of following your intuition and your heart. You will learn to live in the present a little better.
You will become more confident
Traveling solo is the best lesson in self-reliance you could possibly get. And while it will surely be terrifying, it will also show you that you’re capable of much more than you’ve previously thought. You will learn that you’re capable of overcoming various obstacles. The very fact that you’re able to organize a trip and inspire yourself to start such an adventure will make you want to pat yourself on the back. Consequently, when you get home, many things that previously seemed impossible to you will become a piece of cake.
You will reflect on the experience differently
You were the one who challenged yourself. You were the one who organized the trip from the get-go. You were the one who met new people, plunged into new experiences, gained new skills, and faced your fears.
That’s why you will be the one who’ll be able to fully understand the consequences of travel on your life and mental health. The entire experience will be more rewarding because you will be able to focus on the things that changed you.
Enjoying your own company is not something many people are comfortable with. Experiences such as solo travel can introduce you to this indispensable skill. Besides, all these benefits suggest that solo travel can have some mind-healing properties that you should certainly explore at least once in your life.
By Sarah Kaminski
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