I’m winding down from 2 months on the go – from a weekend in LA and Santa Monica for The Radiance Retreat to a month backpacking through South America to a month working at a wellness camp in CA, plus 2 days I chose to travel solo from San Diego to LA to San Francisco and back home.
These were all trips I decided to go entirely on my own. All trips where I knew no one prior to going. All trips that resulted in incredible social connection, self-growth, memorable life experiences and lessons learned.
Before and during these trips, a few people I spoke to, when questioned about who I was with or if I knew anyone, responded with: “You’re traveling ALONE?! Why would you do THAT?!”
To me, it was no big deal. But to them, it was baffling. I can see why – traveling alone sounds a little scary, a little lonely, and perhaps a bit boring. And I won’t deny it can be at times. But it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do, one of the most life-changing experiences you can have.
So, what did I learn from my travels and why should you travel solo?
- Freedom – the feeling that you can do as you wish, with no one’s schedule to follow but your own. Going solo allows you to do things on your own time, think for yourself, and make your own decisions. You’re in charge of when and where you want to be at what time.
- Independence – navigating a new place on your own teaches you to rely on yourself. If you get lost, it’s on you to find your way back. In the end, there’s only you.
- Challenge – taking on a new adventure forces you out of your comfort zone. There are times when you want to confide in someone, complain, ask a question – and it’s just you. A few of my biggest challenges were trying to order and ask for directions without knowing much Spanish in Colombia and finding my way back to my hostel in San Francisco when my phone died (my only map).
- Adaptability – sleeping in a different bed (or bus), switching time zones, eating different style cuisine, and exposing yourself to a new culture – whether by yourself or on an organized trip – teaches you to become adaptable and go with the flow. We’re habitual creatures by nature – it’s nice to occasionally change it up.
- Opened mind – traveling to new places – whether it’s a different country, state or just a city away – exposes you to a new way of life and expands your mind. Going to Peru left me wondering how some people lived the way they did, but seeking to understand. The more places you go, the more curious you become.
- Opportunities – to meet people from different walks of life, try new things you may have never considered, discover places you’ve never been. Traveling expands your mind of what’s possible.
- Self-Awareness – time to yourself helps you get to know yourself. Where do you want to eat? What do you want to do? Simple questions like these are some that we often forget when we spend so much time around other people. Going solo allows you valuable reflection and deep thinking that we often don’t make time for.
- Empowerment – planning a trip, embarking on it, navigating a new place and making it back all by yourself is pretty badass. Not many people do it. You’ll walk away feeling like you can take on the world.
- Presence – without anyone there to occupy your time (except for maybe your iPhone), instances such as going out to dinner on your own or waiting in line force you to slow down and be present.
- Gratitude – ever heard the phrase, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Being solo, whether it’s for a month, a week or a few days, makes you grateful for the people in your life.
So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, decide to travel solo and book your first trip! I’m happy to answer any questions you have and recommend some top destinations 🙂