Traveling is wonderful no matter how you do it, but there’s something really special about traveling solo. The first time I did it I was much younger, and although I was excited I was nervous, too. I didn’t need to be, and you don’t either; in fact, I can assure you without reservation that everyone needs to travel alone, regularly if possible, but at least once. Here’s why.
It’s All About You
We should all be ourselves all of the time, but most of us fail at this at least some of the time when surrounded by other people who want or need things from us. Traveling solo, especially far from home, you can be yourself, and you don’t care who knows it. Being able to act, eat, dress, and say whatever you feel like replenishes your reserves.
You get to choose each and every stop, and do and see whatever you want. What a luxury, to know your own agenda is the only one and to be free from the expectations of other people! And why bother holding back your opinions? You’ll never see anyone around you again. You may just learn to bring that courage back home with you, too.
It’s Also About Meeting Unforgettable People
Traveling with people you already know can actually prevent you from making meaningful new connections with people you meet. Traveling solo will expose you to a cadre of people from around the world who are interested in things, and independent enough to make things happen on their own. You won’t miss out on interesting interactions with people you typically lose by focusing as a team on the next objective, and getting from point A to point B.
Have you ever wasted an evening in a lively conversation with a porter or playing cards in a plaza with people who didn’t speak your language? I have. Do it. You’ll look back on those times happily for your whole life, I promise.
Ditch Your Dead Weight
Part of why you need a getaway is your everyday surroundings. No matter how awesome your life is, sometimes you just need a total disconnect for a little while. And as you rejuvenate yourself you can take stock of the toxic people in your life more accurately. Oh, and by the way: just turn the phone off until you really need it. If your Facebook buddies either a) can’t tell you’re gone, or b) are intimately familiar with your trip as it happens, you’re doing it wrong. Whatever is in your inbox will keep.
Bravery And Independence: You Need Them
Traveling solo, especially if you never have, builds up your confidence and self-esteem. It shows you your reserves of courage, and once you’re aware of them you’ll never forget them again. One of my first solo trips was to learn to hang glide in Utah. I broke some toes and decided to take to the road, finding hot springs and awesome hiking from Arizona to Idaho as I enjoyed the freedom of my own choices.
The next time I went to Guatemala, eager to learn Spanish and see a million different things. If I had been too scared to try it I would have missed out on climbing an active volcano, traveling in a microbus to a village above the cloud line, and enjoying movies about Che Guevara while sipping hibiscus tea and sitting on a bench seat that had once been inside a classic American car.
On Your Own Time
It seems like we are always waiting for other people, for the right moment, for things to get better. Traveling alone lets you do things on your own time. Blow off the day’s plan if you want; it’s your dime. Eat whatever foods you like, unrestrained by the many food foibles, allergies, and restrictions of the other people in your world. You may even get enough of your own identity back that it never disappears again.
The Bottom Line
What if something goes wrong? Not if, when. And it won’t matter, you can handle it. The life-changing experience of really being on your own, doing exactly what you want when you want to, and interacting with totally new people in genuine ways is yours to savor. And who knows where you’ll end up next? If you’re really lucky (and smart!) you’ll end up at an idyllic setting like that we enjoy here at Penticton Lakeside Resort!