There are plenty of things that can hinder your ability to travel: work obligations, health concerns, financial worries…the list could go on forever. That being said, not having someone else to travel with you is not an excuse for staying put. You shouldn’t be scared to travel on your own.
You may think the reasons you can’t travel on your own are also endless. From general safety, to not knowing how to spend your time, or even simply not wanting to go to restaurants alone. But, spending time on your own is healthy, for starters, and being all my yourself in a brand new place is liberating. When you travel solo, you learn to solve your own problems. You learn to enjoy your own company. You are able to follow your own schedule and know one else’s. And above all, you can explore and soak in a new town or city with no interruptions.
Over the last year, I have made trips by myself a priority and I’ve found so much joy in those experiences. These trips have taken me far out of comfort zone and tested my patience. They also allowed me to really spend time reflecting on myself and my life. Some of my best ideas came from days where I was in a new city entirely on my own. So, I keep feeding that inspiration by continuing to take trips like that.
Granted, safety can be a concern at times, but as long as you’re self aware, conscious of your surroundings, and use common sense, you will be just fine. I must admit I’ve spent a lot of time in cities and I’m comfortable walking around on my own. But I still research sketchy neighborhoods and never walk too far by myself once the sun goes down. If you stick to those rules, it will generally be smooth sailing.
My biggest reason for traveling on my own is the personal development. I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out. I’m not saying you can’t gain some of these things when with other people, but on your own you have no choice.
First of all, you experience new cultures and communities. When you’re traveling with other people you can get caught inside a bubble of your life with those people. When you’re on your own, you can’t avoid immersing yourself in the new community.
You also learn what you’re capable of. When you’re alone, it’s on you to find the airport terminal or put air in the rental car tires. It may be the small things that test you the most but you learn to take a breath and tackle anything that comes your way.
Above all, you become aware. You become aware of the people around you and their differences from where you’re from (aka when Rhode Islanders were nicer than most midwesterners I’ve encountered), you become aware of exactly how you travel best. For me it’s with a car, a sturdy backpack, and a good cup of coffee. And you become aware of yourself. You learn what you need to be comfortable. You learn how you best like to spend your time (if you didn’t already know this before) and you learn just how easy it can be to interact and connect with other people when you have no reason not to.
How many of you have traveled on your own? I’d love to hear your stories!