The Fear of Solo Travel
The fear of solo travel and the unknown can hold many people back from taking the leap and venturing on that first solo expedition which may have been a long time wanderlust dream. Solo travel can be one of the best experiences you ever have and even though it seems scary, it is something you should still do!
But what if we weren’t ever really alone when solo travelling? Would that take some of the fear away?
‘What will it be like? Will I be alone? What if I don’t meet anyone?’
So many questions will run through your mind no matter the length of your solo trip. Embrace these fears because even though you embark on the journey solo, you are never fully alone. Not only do you have the most important person, yourself, you also meet so many people along the way. People just like you who share the same worries of solo travelling. Keeping that in mind can help take away some of the fear of the unknown.
I can’t tell you how nervous I was to leave my home in Toronto and venture off to Australia even though it wasn’t the first time I had made a solo trip to live abroad. I relocated to London, England five years earlier for three months, so I knew I could do it. It didn’t change the fact I was all nerves and excitement on the inside. Taking the chance and making the choice to leave on a long-term solo trip turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life!
Solo Travel and the Positive Impact on Personal Growth
Solo travel can have an immensely positive impact on personal growth. You get to know yourself better, it can help build self confidence and prepare you for so many different situations. Being outside of our comfort zones challenges us and forces us to grow and learn.
You spend a lot of time with yourself when solo travelling and it allows you to learn and get to know the person inside a whole lot better.
I didn’t realize how little I knew myself before I left to solo travel and it was an amazing growing experience getting to know myself better. Being alone, you spend a lot of time in your own head. This can be a great opportunity to reflect on life, clear your mind and potentially find answers to questions you may have been seeking.
Being in a new country, you are experiencing new situations and surroundings that you adapt to knowing no matter what you have to look out for yourself and be your number one cheerleader.
Hostels Are Great For Meeting People When You Solo Travel
Hostels are such an amazing way to meet people when solo travelling. Sleeping in dorms and spending time in the common areas of hostels is almost a guaranteed method of socializing. Even if you’re introverted or shy, someone will likely strike up a conversation with you. A smile or simple hello can open the doors to intriguing conversations and new friendships. One thing I always remind myself when solo travelling is that even though I may feel shy and nervous to talk to new people, chances are they are feeling the same way. I lived in a hostel for three months in Australia and it was like one big family. I met so many people and we were always having BBQ’s and social outings. It was AWESOME!
You Are On Your Own Schedule When You Solo Travel
One of the best things about solo travel is that you are the boss of your own schedule and no one else. You decide what you feel like doing that day, what time to wake up and where to eat. If you feel like staying in bed all day watching Netflix, go for it. Want to do a yoga class on the beach? Namaste. Having the flexibility to make your own travel choices can be extremely uplifting and freeing. How many times have you been on a trip with a group of people and disagreements come up on activity choices or what restaurant to eat at that night? You can get lucky and travel with people who are all on the same page, but this isn’t always the case. Being your own boss allows for the freedom to explore as you desire.
When I first solo travelled, I had a really hard time spending time alone being a social creature naturally. As I got used to being alone more often, I realized I actually enjoyed my own company more than I thought and felt more relaxed with a little me time.
Solo Travel Makes You More Resourceful
When you are solo travelling, things don’t always go as planned. You might purchase the wrong bus ticket, miss a flight connection, sleep through your alarm and miss your tour bus. Anything can happen no matter how much research you do sometimes. Learning to adapt, stay calm and come up with an alternative plan is a great skill to have. It will only get better the more you solo travel. Luckily today we live in a world where wifi is usually more readily available than not and a quick google map search may be all that is needed. And sometimes you just have to ask a local for assistance and they are usually happy to point you in the right direction. I have had some of the nicest locals help me out while solo travelling. A woman that worked at the hostel I was at in Fiji took me into town to buy some food and water before heading out to the islands. When I was in Ireland without phone data trying to locate my hostel, a man was so kind to look it up on his phone, accidentally pointed me in the wrong direction and then came running after me to let me know the right way. The genuine kindness of people can really blow you away sometimes. Of course always be mindful and aware of your surroundings when solo travelling. If something feels unsafe or you are unsure, trust your gut feeling. You always need to look out for yourself.
Facebook and Meet-Up Groups
If you are looking to meet more people when solo travelling using different social sites can be fantastic. Meetup.com and Facebook groups can help you find events or activities happening in the city you are visiting while connecting you with like-minded people. When I was in Australia, I used so many different Facebook groups for finding information on jobs, housing, things happening in the city I was in. You can even find potential travel buddies for a road trip! The power of the internet and social media allows us to connect in more ways that ever before.
Those are just a few of the many beneficial reasons you should solo travel at least once. I truly believe that solo travel can really strengthen you as a person, prepare you for difficult situations, help with stress management, create more self confidence and build character. Solo travel not only reaps the benefits while on the road. Skills you learn through solo travelling can transition to everyday life including work and your relationships. I believe everyone should solo travel at least once for the experience. So the next time you are debating that solo trip, just go for it!
Have you solo travelled before? Share your comments below!