Truth be told when I started this whole solo travel thing three years ago it was never my dream to travel by myself. In fact, instead of seeing the benefits of travelling alone all I could imagine were situations where I ended up isolated or kidnapped.
If you’ve done any research on taking a trip alone it’s likely that you might have encountered some of the same doubts. I hope I can reassure you by letting you know that in three years travelling solo I’ve never once been kidnapped (yet!) and it has surpassed my expectations in ways I would have never imagined.
Keep reading to discover 9 incredible benefits of travelling alone.
It builds your confidence
As women travelling alone is one of those experiences that is frequently touted as dangerous or scary. So it’s no wonder we have a fear of travel instilled deep within us before we’ve ever even gone anywhere! When you actually get out there for yourself it’s a whole different story. For me, that’s one of the biggest advantages of travelling alone.
This isn’t to say I don’t still feel pangs of anxiety every time I board a plane, but they’re intermingled with a longing for the unknown and a thirst for adventure. I’d like to think I’ve always been confident but seeing within myself and hearing from friends just how much I’ve changed over the past few years honestly makes me well up every time I think about it.
Confidence is not just the mask you put on for the rest of the world, but it’s how you really truly feel about yourself. It’s an energy and state of being that oozes from you without you ever having to open your mouth. And holy shit that is powerful. So if you’re feeling fearful about travelling alone at the moment, I want you to know I have been there. I have felt fear so deep it suffocated me. Anxiety so strongly rooted that I cried for days not daring to leave the house. But I did it. I made it. So I know you can too.
You’ll learn more about yourself
Overcoming my fear of travelling alone taught me a lot about the world, but it made me realise even more about myself. Travelling by yourself gives you a unique opportunity to peel back the layers. Sometimes you won’t always like what you see. There are some real ugly parts that lurk in the shadows, however by bringing them to light you have a chance to either work on them or destroy them completely. Learning to be more open-minded is not only a benefit of travelling alone but also a basic life skill that so many of us overlook.
Female solo travel will expose you to a lot of things that will challenge your world view, to people who you might not necessarily, er, click with and so so much more. I was convinced I was sworn off hiking forever after a traumatic experience in school which involved a hiking expedition gone wrong. I’d already got it down as one of those travel experiences I’d just have to miss out on and I was fine with that. As it turned out, the more I got into exploring on my own terms I just felt called to give it a go.
While I’m not about to climb Everest *yet* (don’t hold your breath) I’ve developed a new appreciation for exploring the outdoors. As long as it only lasts a couple of hours… Although this might sound silly or small, this was something I spent a great deal of my life believing. And it’s only one of the hundreds of other things I’ve gained from travelling alone.
You’ll begin to develop new skills
Despite my readiness to try new things, there are certain areas where my skills are… weaker. Map reading for a start. I don’t know why but it’s just never been a strong suit of mine (maybe it goes back to the aforementioned hiking incident!) Regardless of my terrible map reading skills and propensity for getting lost I seem to have successfully travelled to 10 countries in 4 different continents. Travelling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to have it all figured out. Sometimes I might end up taking a bus in the wrong direction or walking around aimlessly for an entire day – but none of that matters because I’ve had fun while doing it.
Sure I’m not the best planner or organised but I can cobble together a few fun activities and call it a trip. Although I’m only fluent in English I can learn the basics to get by anywhere I go. These days you can throw me into pretty much any situation and even if it’s not my strong suit you can bet I’ll give it my best shot.
One of the best pieces of travel advice I can give you is that you don’t need to be perfect to get started. Things rarely turn out as you expect even if you’ve planned them meticulously.
It teaches you to embrace solitude
It’s no secret that we human-folk crave connection. Before I started travelling solo I used to hate spending time by myself. When I wasn’t surrounded by friends I found myself desperate for their company. That was until I learned 1. that there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely and 2. Where the root of my discomfort came from.
One of the benefits of travelling by yourself is that you learn to reframe your negative beliefs. You can do that either by challenging them and learning the truth behind them or by diving deep and finding the courage to face the thing you’re afraid of head-on. Most of the time it doesn’t turn out to be nearly as bad as you built it up to be.
Spending time alone while travelling doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong or no one wants to be your friend. In fact, the way I see it, the time you spend alone on your trip is a gift. How many other opportunities do you get to explore the world on completely your own terms? There are so many benefits of solitude and I talk in great depth about what solo travel can teach you about being alone here. If it’s a fear that’s ever crossed your mind you’ll want to read that post and bookmark it so you can really make sure it sinks in.
Ask yourself what is it about travelling by yourself that scares you and explore different methods you can take to overcome that fear. Hint: my choice would always be just to do the damn thing.
You become more assertive
When you become the CEO of your own life things begin to SHIFT. Suddenly you don’t feel comfortable giving up your time just to please others and you’ll stop saying yes to shit that just doesn’t excite you. Taking a trip alone will teach you to care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think about yourself.
As women, we’re often programmed to be the nice guys. We’re careful of offending people’s feelings or how what we say might be interpreted. I’m telling you now this way of living is not conducive to your well-being. Especially when you’re travelling alone as a woman you become incredibly aware of your own safety. It’s a fine balance of having fun and never once taking your eye off the ball. Sometimes that might mean saying no to someone who’s being too pushy or steering clear or people who are intent on pushing your boundaries no matter how harmless they may be.
There is a vast difference between being assertive and being a bitch. One means living life on your own terms, protecting your own interests and plotting your own course in life. The other is being nasty just for the sake of it, and nobody wants to be on either end of that.
Meeting people who inspire you
You will come across so many different characters when you get out into the world. I’ve already touched on the people that might not necessarily be for you but what I haven’t spoken about is the people that inspire you. Just being around them sparks something inside of you. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of these people over the years and they’ve lit a fire inside me. They’ve shown me what’s possible – because if it’s out there for them then why can’t I do it too?
Like Shiree in Bali who inspired me to make more conscious choices when it came to food, Kajsa in Australia who showed me how to inject more positivity in life and Mia in Thailand who taught me that the right choices aren’t always the easy ones.
Sometimes you meet people that inspire you to travel to the far corners of the world or to quit a job that you knew deep down was chipping away at you. Other times they help you find your way back to somewhere that was within you all along.
Developing a sense of gratitude
Since I started travelling by myself three years ago I have seen A LOT. Many beautiful places and people and also heartbreaking conditions and poverty. Seeing the true state of the world can really put your life into perspective. For many travelling the world is something they could only ever dream of. These days I try not to ever take a single moment for granted. Everything is beautiful in its own unique way. Once you begin to express gratitude for the little things you suddenly realise they were never small. And the big things? They are breathtaking, and awe-inspiring in ways I can’t even put into words.
Want some trip advice? A huge benefit of travelling alone is the power it has to change your perspective in life, but don’t sit around waiting for your trip to get into that mindset. Start appreciating the beauty in the every day now and by the time your travels come around they will be even brighter.
Building your resilience
I won’t bullshit you taking a trip alone isn’t always easy. You will find yourself challenged at times. Problems will inevitably rear their head when you least expect it. This is all part of the process and unfortunately, all the planning in the world can’t stop them from happening. Whether it’s a weather change that grounds your flight or your accommodation not quite being what you expected. Sooner or later something will come up. And though initially, your first response may be to retreat back into yourself you’ll always find a solution. Everything is figureoutable even if at first it may not seem like it.
And the more you experience these minor (or major) setbacks the more you’ll increase your resilience and build your problem solving skills. Every time you successfully solve a problem you build more trust in yourself. Also as an added bonus once you’ve solved a problem while travelling suddenly problems in normal life seem a lot easier to address too. Funny that.
When it comes to solving problems be flexible in your solutions, look for actions you can take and avoid making excuses. Above all else never forget who’s in control.
Becoming more empowered
It sounds so cheesy to say that travelling is empowering but honestly it’s true. I’m not about to get all Eat, Pray, Love on you or anything like that I’m just going to stick to what I know to be true. Travelling alone for the first time is scary as hell, and the thing that’s scary isn’t the actual trip itself but everything that leads up to that moment.
Most travel fear stems from being afraid of the unknown. What you don’t know can seem a whole lot scarier than the fear you do know because well… anything could happen. So take it from someone who has done it not just once or twice, but many, many times – you can fucking do this. You were led to this blog post for a reason. Taking a trip alone might just be one of the single most empowering things you ever do. That said, if you still don’t believe me, do it anyway… just to prove me wrong.
The disadvantage of travelling alone
Now that I’ve told you all the benefits of travelling alone I must warn you there’s a serious downside. One I could have never anticipated, and I find it my duty to share with you despite any backlash I may face (you’re welcome).
Are you ready?
Solo travel helps you to face your fears and to tackle problems head-on. That means once you do it once – you’ll never look back. But then again with so much to gain, why would you want to?
Solo Travel Resource
Ready to kiss your limiting solo travel beliefs goodbye?
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What about you? Have you ever thought about travelling alone? Have you already?
Let me know in the comments!
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