The Importance of Travelling Solo
I've always enjoyed my own company; call it introversion or independence, from a young age I've often preferred to do things alone. As an introvert, I find time alone incredibly recharging, clarifying and inspiring.
I always knew that when the time came, travelling solo would feel incredibly natural to me. My most recent solo trip was over the previous Summer, I drove down to the South Coast for two weeks of surfing, waterfall hopping, car-camping and much needed space to find some clarity. That was definitely one of the biggest things I gained from that trip, clarity. Living in the fast paced world that we do, rarely do we have the opportunity to reflect, to think, to dream, to plan, to just be. A rare few hours of this peace at home would be welcomed graciously, but a few hours of that true solitude would be realistically all that I would get. While I visited friends throughout my trip, a good part of that two weeks was spent truly alone. Here are a just a few of the things solo travel gives to us:
It forces us out of our comfort zone: There have been several times while travelling alone when everything has just gone wrong; when I was lost, or my accommodation fell through or my carefully thought out plan just completely fell apart, and having that happen while you're by yourself can be scary as hell. But it's also one of the quickest ways to grow; being faced with difficult decisions to make and fears to overcome makes us see how much we are actually capable of. Solo travel also teaches us to rely on ourselves first, we are the single most important person in our lives so learning to trust our instinct is so important.
It allows creativity: One of my favourite things about travelling alone is the time I have to read, something that just never seems to happen at home. I also find my creativity increases when I have so much solo downtime; whether that's writing or working on the business, the clarity and inspiration travel gives and the space alone-time allows is a winning combination for brilliant ideas.
It allows us to get to know ourselves: How many of us could really, truly say that we know ourselves through and through? That we know exactly what we stand for, what we like, what we want out of life? Travelling solo really allows us to get in tune with who we are, how we react when things go right, how we react when they go wrong. What we like about a destination, what countries we fall in love with and what experiences we choose to have while we're there says a lot about us as individuals.
It allows us to be entirely selfish: Travelling solo is probably one of the few times in our lives where we can make decisions based purely on ourselves and what we want. When travelling alone you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, see whatever you want to see for however long you want to see it. It means we can change our plans last minute, fall in love with somewhere and decide not to leave, or visit that amazing cafe over and over again.
It allows us to meet interesting people: Even though fiercely introverted, eventually after a long period of being alone I'm ready for a little bit of companionship. When travelling with someone else it's so easy to fall into the easiness of just the two of you; of not making an effort to meet anyone or spark up a conversation because you don't need to. You'll always need to ask questions when travelling alone, and you never know when those directions could turn into a sunset beer on the beach with a new friend. In my experience locals and other travelers too are often more interested in someone travelling alone, they love to hear their story and why they've decided to make the trip solo.
For some people solo travel is a truly scary thought, but it's something that is hugely important to our growth as individuals; it shapes our personalities, makes way for new experiences and allows us to get to know ourselves intimately. I strongly recommend at least one solo trip each year, even if it's just sneaking away for a weekend alone.