5 tips for solo travellers

by Alicia Lee

A solo trip doesn’t necessarily mean a lonely trip – that’s a misconception we’ve got to tear down. You may be traveling by yourself, but there will be a whole bunch of fellow globetrotters and locals you can hang out with if you just put yourself out there and be open to whoever comes across your path.

If that isn’t convincing enough, here are 5 reasons how a solo trip can change your life.

1. THE REVELATIONS YOU DISCOVER ABOUT YOURSELF ARE NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING

It goes without saying that, since you’re on your own in a foreign land, you’ll probably spend a good deal of time alone – and that’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. Ditch technology and learn to rely on yourself.

Do a bit of self-introspection, roam around with no agenda and strike up conversations with strangers. Basically, take a step out of your comfort zone to do what you normally wouldn’t do (unless it’s, well, life-threatening) and even take time to reflect on your life back home – it might just strike you that your troubles pale in comparison to what’s going on around the world. Or you might surprise yourself with newfound social skills. Just don’t stand by the sidelines – challenge every single

one of your fears, insecurities and misconceptions.

2. IT’S ONE OF THE FEW TIMES IN LIFE WHEN THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

You’re not constrained by deadlines, time restrictions, rules or travel companions whining about everything under the sun. The scent of freedom is absolutely intoxicating. No one’s breathing down your neck about eating your veggies or going to bed before the sun rises.

Munch on chocolate for breakfast or wear crazy mismatched clothes – just because you can. Jot down your bucket list and start checking boxes. If you’ve got even the slightest amount of interest in something, as long as it’s within the realm of basic common sense, just do it. Because no good travel story ever started out with: ‘that one time I stayed in the hotel room…

3. YOU’LL COME ACROSS ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, WHO JUST MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BY BECOMING LIFELONG FRIENDS

But first you’ve got to toughen up and resist the temptation to hide out in your room. Who cares about the stares of judgment you might get? You’re probably just imagining them, anyway. The only way you’ll meet new people is if you make an effort to reach out and open up. Don’t be too quick to turn down an invitation to hang out, or better yet, do the inviting.

You may not speak the language, but a smile is a universal greeting – just take it from there. This might surprise you, but people will actually strike up conversations with you more often because you’re by yourself – you’re not as intimidating as tourists in pairs or groups. Some of my closest friends now are ones I’ve randomly met while traveling alone, so you really never know what might happen.

4. THERE’S A WORLD FULL OF BREATHTAKING CULTURE AND LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCES THAT LIES AHEAD.

So you prefer to trek through off-the-beaten-path locations instead of the latest hotspot that everyone’s heading to? Hop on a plane and go for it. Don’t let the lack of a travel companion or others’ hectic time schedules distract you from your own fulfilment.

Explore gorgeous ancient ruins, scale the heights of great mountains, admire iconic landmarks across the globe, or attempt adventurous stunts for an adrenaline rush. There’s nothing stopping you from holding all these stunning memories except yourself.

5. YOU WILL RETURN HOME A WHOLE NEW YOU

When you muster up the courage to undertake a solo trip despite your friends’ confused looks and your parents’ (or other half’s) worry, you leave home one person and come back another. It’s pretty much guaranteed.

Confidence is one of the great things you’ll gain – because not many people can say they’ve navigated the intimidating waters of the unknown and come back (mostly) unscathed and even rejuvenated. There’s so much to learn: fresh perspectives, boldness in the face of failure, a new love for solitude, recognition of your inner strength, greater appreciation for the little things, feeling more than comfortable in your own skin… It sounds clichéd to say this, but it’s honestly truly rewarding.

Original article published on LadyIronChef.