Do you wish to travel somewhere alone? Or would you like to go on a trip, but there is no one that can come with you? Are you afraid of travelling on your own? Do you think that you will get bored, if you don’t have anyone to talk to? And what if you end up in a hospital, being robbed or having a food poisoning? If you are like me, and thought about all of these things before my first trip alone, continue reading for some encouragement.
Here I list 10 reasons on why you should travel alone at least once in your life.
1. You get to do whatever you like
Okey, this might sound like an obvious one, but it really hit me on, when I travelled alone for the first time. You don’t have to compromise, wait for anyone to get ready, nor choose a restaurant according to someone else’s food preferences. I got to spend as much time at museums as I wanted, without thinking if my travel companion is getting bored. I got to go to a hippie style vegan restaurant without worrying if the other one finds anything on the menu. I even had an option to spend the whole day in the hotel room eating doughnuts, and no one could come to tell me that I am disgusting. When you travel alone, you can let yourself to change your plans, do things from the spur of the moment and go with the flow. So go and enjoy the feeling of not needing to care about others!
2. You will meet interesting people
I have noticed that other people approach to me a lot easier, when I’m travelling alone. Maybe I am subconsciously sending signals that I wouldn’t might some small talk or occasional companion. I have ended up having long discussions with a Balinese bartender, Finnish surfing instructor, Russian newlyweds and Bulgarian investment broker. Hostels are great places to meet other travellers, and you might even end up exploring a new city together. When I turned 29, I had my birthday celebration dinner in Latvia with a French university teacher and South-Korean coding talent, which I had shared a hostel room with, while visiting Tallinn, Estonia. Needless to say, we had a great time!
3. You might get better service
I am not sure if it is because of me travelling solo or not, but I feel that alone I have received more attentive service at hotels and restaurants. I also feel that outsiders tend to look after me more. They make sure that I find the place, offer their help at every turn or even like in Bali, bring me a free bowl of soup after my third drink, because “a girl needs to eat too”. I also feel that I get better seats in planes when flying solo.
4. You will expand your comfort zone
When you visit a restaurant alone for the first time, you might feel a bit uncomfortable. But after the tenth time, everything feels a lot easier. You might also be hesitant to go and make the first move to get to know a new person, but sooner or later, you feel a lot more comfortable with chatting with total strangers.
5. You can reflect your own life
When you have no one chatting to you all the time, you can stop and listen to your own thoughts. What are the things that arise from deep inside of you? What does your mind want to tell you? Has it been trying to message you something for a long time, but you have been too busy to notice? I have made several big decisions during my solo travels. Being alone may help you too to clarify your priorities, clear your mind and see things in a different light.
6. You observe your surroundings more
Has this ever happened to you: you are watching the most spectacular sunset ever with your friend, but you kind of never fully experience it? Maybe you focus more on getting that perfect shot of you with the beautiful sky, or just sharing the excitement with your friend. When you travel alone, you have a chance to observe other people and your surroundings more. You notice small details and focus just to absorb some amazing experience without a need of sharing it with anyone.
7. You learn to cope on your own
When you travel alone, you will face different situations than back home, and you have to manage on your own. What if you miss your transfer flight? How to find out about different transportation options, when you don’t have a common language with the customer service agent? What will you do, if you find a spider a size of your wrist in your hotel room? Of course anything can happen, and you will learn to react quickly to a new situation. At least this far, I have managed on my own or with the help from Google or other people (see the next section).
8. You will learn to trust others
I am not talking about a naive stupidity of believe everything what others say. I believe that 99 % of people are kind and good and they want to help you sincerely, if you ask for it. I have received help from strangers numbers of times, and I try my best to share that to others too. I cannot emphasise, how important your own attitude is. A smile, being polite and friendly and maybe even learning a couple of sentences in a local language will get you far.
9. You will learn to trust your intuition
As a woman travelling on my own, I am sometimes concerned of my safety, and I take it into account, when I choose my flight arrival times and routes to my accommodation. I have been lucky and never had any problems, but I have learned to trust my intuition about places and people. If something or someone just does not feel right, I leave. I cannot really explain this feeling. It is not based on anything that has happened in the past, or on any clear signals of danger. Anyway, I always listen to my gut feeling, since it is better be safe than sorry.
10. Your travel bucket list will expand
Of course, the number of places to go will still remain the same. When you travel alone, however, something changes in your mind, and you will realise that you can actually travel anywhere you want. You can visit the Antarctica, even though you don’t know anyone willing to spend a small fortune on the boat ticket. You can go to Chile to visit your friend you met on your travels, something you probably would not do, if you were always travelling with someone. You can book a trip on a 12-hour notice, because you don’t have to think if your friend will get off from work. You can really get addicted on travelling on your own, when you realise how many opportunities it gives you.