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6 Reasons to Travel Alone

Photo by Chantel Beam
Everything's mine though just on loan, nothing for the memory to hold, though mine as long as I look. ~Wislawa Szymborska

I always had the impression that time was passing too fast, that I was not fulfilling my potential and that I was lost in a world, which I was struggling to get to know even in a small part.

I always wanted to travel, but I didn’t know how to start. I was insecure about my own decisions, but first and foremost I was afraid to do it alone.

One day I just decided to finally leave all these concerns at home and go traveling by myself. I decided to book tickets to places I had never been, pack my backpack and escape to a new part of the world for almost a year.

After visiting 40 countries, I can assure you that being your own captain while crossing into unknown lands is the most self-developing experience it is possible to have. Let me explain to you why.

1. Free Your Mind

When you travel alone, the sense of having absolute freedom is amazing. Nothing frees your mind more than traveling solo. For a brief time in life, you don’t have to listen to anyone but yourself.

You don’t have to be afraid of not living up to someone else’s expectations. You can rewire your mind step by step and create a new, better version of you.

If you are traveling with a significant other you automatically have to worry about being a “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” If you are traveling with friends, you become “one of the group.”

No matter how much you’d like to say you are free, you are always playing a role, trying to fulfill someone else’s expectations. When you travel solo, you get to just be yourself, so you can follow your own rhythm and desires.

2. Meet People You Never Expected

Awesome people are all around you, wherever you go. This fact has been one of the most fulfilling realizations I’ve had during all my travels. It means that wherever you go, you are going to be fine.

Whether you’re traveling in a big city, tiny remote village or in the jungle, you can meet amazing people. When you travel somewhere, you are never actually alone for very long. Being alone in a new environment opens you up to experiencing what other people have to offer and learning from them.

It’s easier approaching someone who is alone than someone in a couple or large group. People from different countries come from a diverse set of experiences, cultures and habits.

You can share experiences and learn lessons with every new encounter, making your trip a unique experience that you’ll always remember and learn from.

3. Expand Your Comfort Zone

When traveling with a group of friends, you are obligated to stick with them. Of course you can venture outside this circle, but your interactions with the environment won’t be as dynamic or informative as when you are alone.

When you travel solo, you have to plunge into each new environment and challenge yourself by significantly expanding your comfort zone every day.

You may team up with complete strangers for some random adventure or go out for some social gathering, gaining valuable experience, while opening yourself up to new points of views and habits.

4. Get Inspired

Sometimes people don’t seem that interesting at first, but if you dig a little deeper you will discover how much more they can offer you.

When you travel, everyone has similar goals that bring them together. You meet people outside of their usual background. Everyone is anonymous and eager to share what they know. Be prepared to have some of the most inspiring conversations of your life with complete strangers.

5. Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

Being completely alone in another part of the world challenges your fears and insecurities. Just going somewhere on your own is a big step for some people. Fortunately it sounds more difficult than it actually is.

When you make it to your destination, you will see how smoothly things can go and will likely meet friendly people that will make it the trip of a lifetime. You will overcome any fears you had of the unknown and learn to control your fears instead of letting them control you.

Traveling solo can give you a huge boost of confidence and self-esteem. Later when you return home your mindset will be set for the “I can do it” mode. Things will seem easier and goals will become more readily achievable.

If you were able to spend a few weeks or months completely alone in a country where you didn’t know a single person or the language, crossed the jungle on your own, and jumped from a waterfall, why would you be afraid of anything in your normal life?

Awareness that you made it through everything will have you feeling more confident when facing new challenges and boost your self-esteem.

6. See Better From a Distance

When we climb a hill, we get a better view of what’s below. The same rule applies to traveling. When we distance ourselves from a situation, we get a better perspective of the issues.

The problems that used to overwhelm us at home often seem meaningless when we are far away.

Turning off your cell phone and email and disconnecting for a time can help you leave your problems behind. From a distance, we can see things for what they really are. Without emotions clouding our vision, we can often come up with ideas and solutions for our problems that we’d have never thought of otherwise.

Traveling alone is more than just an adventure. It’s personal development on a grand scale. Would you travel solo? Have you? Share your insights in the comments.

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About the author

Marzena is a traveling addict passionate about self-development. She has visited over 40 countries, lived in four of them, always searching to feed her mind with new experiences and wisdom. She came from acow, but currently lives in colorful Berlin. Marzena shares her thoughts about personal growth at Wingman Magazine and writes about traveling, inspiration and mindfulness at her personal blog Open Mind Journals.

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6 thoughts on 6 Reasons to Travel Alone

  1. Hey Marzena!

    My latest travelling experience was to Australia, of which I flew on my own, but met a friend who lives over there, and did some travelling with him.

    I can’t count that as travelling on my own! But am definitely looking forward visiting places on my own within the next year or so.

    You definitely need confidence in order to travel on your own! It’s difficult when you arrive in a strange country and don’t know anybody else.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Dan

  2. Jim

    This was just the right article for me at just the right time. I have been sitting in front of my PC for days failing to pull the trigger on buying tickets to start my travels again. Done ????. Inspired, reminded of how important travel is to me, thanks.

  3. Marzena, I haven’t traveled nearly as much as you, but I have done my fair share of traveling alone. It was a great experience for me. I met new people and had interesting adventures. You’re right, you shouldn’t put off travel just because you’re single. Seize the moment before it passes you by. Thanks for the great post.

  4. Thanks for reminding us how much we learn and can learn from travelling and meeting people. Travelling truly does open our mind’s eyes to see things others can’t and to appreciate life.
    2015 is another year I wans to spend travelling and learning.

  5. Hi, i have never traveled alone in my entire life. I guess after reading your post, I should try it now, it gave me a good thought and i like it. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

  6. Kimberly Lewis

    I love the story, that’s where I am now is about to start to travel by myself. When I go back and think about high school years I thought about all the places I wanted to go and see, but that didn’t happen. Now at 47 and kids are grown it’s time and I’m ready.. Thank you…

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