February 22, 2019
Five Things Love She Travels has Learned From Traveling Solo
Bec, as happy as can beSource: Five Things Solo Travel Has Taught Me | LOVE SHE TRAVELS
I caught the travel bug in 2008 when I went overseas for the very first time at the ripe old age of 21.
I went to Thailand with my friend. We spent two glorious weeks traveling around the country; taking in the sights, smells, and tastes of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. We went to Bali the following year, and my passion for travel grew even stronger.
While Southeast Asia is beautiful and exciting, we knew we wanted to venture to Europe on our next overseas adventure.
The narrow streets of Rome, Italy.Source: Five Things Solo Travel Has Taught Me | LOVE SHE TRAVELS
I’ve always been good at saving money, but my friend, less so. After talking about going to Italy for over a year, and with my friend’s bank balance struggling to grow, I made the decision to go it alone. A solo traveler was born!
Since then, I’ve traveled to 14 countries on my own and have come to realize that traveling solo is actually my preferred way to travel. Solo travel is so rewarding, but it comes with its challenges.
Five Things I’ve Learned From Traveling Solo
Bec in Milford Sound, New ZealandSource: Five Things Solo Travel Has Taught Me | LOVE SHE TRAVELS
1. I am so much stronger and more capable than I thought
This is the big one.
While I knew I wasn’t some useless weakling, dependent upon others for my very survival, I didn’t realize just how capable and independent I could be when put to the test. Navigating foreign airports and transport systems, communicating without knowledge of the language, making decisions about where to stay/eat/sight-see, being aware of your surroundings and personal items, etc… all takes a lot of energy, organization, and determination.
Believe it or not, it was all so much easier than I thought. It’s funny how self-reliant I’ve become, even in my day-to-day life at home. I’ve come to prefer figuring things out on my own rather than relying on someone else to swoop in and help.
Needless to say, traveling alone promotes you to a level of independence that even Destiny’s Child would be proud of!
Independent Woman by Destiny’s ChildSource: Destiny’s Child – Independent Women, Pt. 1 (Video) | Destiny’s Child
2. I like my own company
Being an introvert, this was something that was less realized, and more affirmed.
I already knew that I enjoyed spending time on my own. I’ve never really craved the company of others, but I was still apprehensive about whether I could cope with being completely on my own – especially in a foreign country with no familiar faces to keep me company.
I was worried I’d get lonely, or that the things I experienced and the sights I saw wouldn’t be as special because I didn’t share them with anyone. Well, I needn’t have been concerned.
Being on your own gives you time to really soak in the experiences you have, to reflect on your day and savor moments that you don’t have to share. Moments that are made just for you.
If you do feel like some company, then there are plenty of apps/social media sites that help you find other travelers in your area. Alternatively, you can take the old fashioned route and simply strike up a conversation with people at a bar, or join a communal table that many cafes and restaurants have these days (in parts of Europe, communal tables are everywhere. I found this particularly the case in Germany, so pull up a seat and make some new friends!).
3. I have an excellent sense of direction
Before I set out on my own, I was the kind of person who happily followed along as my friends navigated the way through airports, train stations, and foreign cities. I actually came to believe that I had a terrible sense of direction because I could never figure out the way back from anywhere.
As it turns out, I didn’t have a terrible sense of direction, I was lazy. I let my friends do all the hard work and just followed along blindly. I had no idea how we’d gotten to the restaurant/market/beach so I sure as hell couldn’t find my way back!
On my first solo adventure, I realized I didn’t suck at navigating. I was actually quite good at it! I’d scope out destinations on Google Maps and proceed to roam around foreign cities like a pro. It made me feel like I could handle anything.
Sure, I’ve gotten myself lost plenty of times too, but that’s how you find the hidden treasures of a city that are off the well-worn tourist paths!
4. Airports are designed to be easily navigated
This one might seem like a bit of a “duh!” but having never flown overseas (or anywhere, for that matter) until I was in my 20’s, one of the biggest causes of my pre-travel anxiety was navigating airports on my own.
I mean, they’re huge, they’re crowded, and if I get lost I could potentially miss my flight, ruining my holiday. Funnily enough, I realized that (most) airports are actually pretty darn easy to navigate, as if they’re designed that way!
Additionally, if you’re an English speaker (or have a pretty decent grasp on the language), you’ll be fine. Every sign in (nearly) every airport is written in English as well as the local language, meaning you will have no trouble figuring out where to go. If you do get lost, airport staff are almost always extremely helpful. (This realization also applies to train stations!)
5. I’ll (probably) never be happy staying in one place
I’m sure that one day, when I’m old and grey, the thought of packing up all my things and putting them in storage so I can gallivant around the world will be less appealing than it is right now.
However, that’s something future me can deal with. Right now, the thought of being in the one place for any longer than two years gets me down; it makes me yearn for faraway places that I’m yet to experience and for adventures I’m yet to have.
Traveling solo has given me an insight into the person I am when I’m free, happy, and curious about the world; which is in stark contrast to the person I am when I’m at home or work, where I feel tired, restless, and trapped.
Traveling gives me new life, new energy, and new outlooks on the world, things that I can’t achieve if I stay in one place and continue succumbing to the day-to-day monotony. If traveling is also your passion, your dream, your purpose in life, don’t let anything hold you back – you can do it: solo travel is for everyone!
Nusa Lembongan, BaliSource: Five Things Solo Travel Has Taught Me | LOVE SHE TRAVELS
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Bec @ Love She Travels
Bug’s Two Cents
Gah, I guess I’ve been bit by the travel bug, ’cause now I’ve got a hankering to travel around the world!
I can’t thank Bec enough for sharing such a wonderful post with The Burgundy Zine. I’m sure you were just as delighted as I was to read about her experiences.
Head on over to Love She Travels for even more of Bec’s content! Her posts are refreshing, awe-inspiring, and empowering.
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