If you’d have said to me a few years ago that I’d take a flight on my own, live in a city by myself and go on travel tours all alone, I would have laughed in your face and gone back to the comfort of a couples holiday with my then boyfriend (cringe). Fast forward to 2017 and I have 10 solo flights under my belt, 2 of those long haul, as well as a host of touring trips where I knew nobody at the start – scary, daunting but amazing all at once! Solo travel was one of my favourite experiences of my life so far and as cliché as it sounds, I definitely grew as a person in those 6 months completely by myself. Here’s what I learnt as a solo traveller…
1) You learn to accept yourself
Travelling solo means you have no choice to but to be in your own company a lot of the time. You plan things by yourself, explore by yourself and get from A to B by yourself. I found myself getting used to it and becoming more accepting of who I am. I found it the most exhilarating experience walking into a hostel room, not knowing who I was sharing with, but able to be my own person and not be attached or associated to anyone before meeting new people.
2) Your confidence increases
Jumping on a 10 hour flight, hopping on a bus full of strangers, asking a local for directions – it all contributed to an increase in my self confidence. I can do things I never thought possible before. Going into a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation with someone somehow seems doable now. Travel brings people together. Everyone is in the same boat, and for the most part, people are decent.
3) You are capable of looking after yourself
It might not be the same for everyone, but travelling alone was the first time I’d ever been completely responsible for everything in my life. Financing my rent, my food, my travel arrangements, building relationships from scratch, finding a job in an alien city on the opposite side of the world – I did it all. I went from living at home, with a 9-5 job just a 15 minute drive down the road from my house, quite comfortable and secure, to being thrown into living out of a bag with no real anchor in my life. Scary? Yes! Surprised myself? Even more so! Independence really is the best.
4) Friendships can be made at any point in your life
All I can say is thank god I went away. I have met a handful of incredible humans who I now include in my list of closest friends. Travelling on my own made me realise that you can build friendships and relationships at any point in your life. Back when I was leaving school, I had my school mates and why would I need anyone else? Fast forward 5 years and I acquired 3 of my best friends from my first job and now a handful of amazing people who I met whilst away who I talk to on the regular. New best friends as a 23 year old? Absolutely possible! (Love you Dan ❤)
5) You definitely grow as a person
I found out a lot about myself. The whole ‘finding yourself’ thing is so bloody cheesy. But also rings true in some situations. Being alone and not surrounded by people I see every day (parents, co workers, best friends from home who all influenced my opinions, choices and actions daily) forced me to take control and only do things I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely did a lot of the things I wanted to before I went away, but I made choices and decisions and took more risks than I would never have thought about doing at home. I found myself becoming more curious and wanting to try new things every day, which can only be a good thing in my eyes.
So there you have it, a few reasons why solo travel really helped me learn more about myself and become more aware of the things around me. My outlook has changed, I now have more birthdays to celebrate with new friends and millions of memories that make me who I am now. There is only now, go embrace it people and book that flight!
With love and forever thankful for booking that ticket…