by S. Coppard
Travelling alone is often viewed as a last ditch attempt to see the world by people who don’t have any friends. This really couldn’t be further from the truth. Solo travel opens up a hugely exciting range of new opportunities and ideas, and the only regret many travellers have is that they didn’t pluck up the courage to try it sooner. Here are just a few reasons to jet off to your dream destination with no one else to hold you back.
Do whatever you want, whenever you want.
When travelling solo, you’re in complete control – you don’t have to spend a single second of your holiday doing something you won’t enjoy. If you can think of no better way to spend the day than checking out those ruins in the jungle, you won’t have the experience spoilt by the friend who only wants to sunbathe and has to be dragged around all day. It’s also far easier to be spontaneous with solo travel – if someone invites you to a beach party that night or offers you a place to stay, you can accept on the spur of the moment without having to discuss it with anyone else. After all, spontaneity is one of the very best things that travelling has to offer!
Gain confidence and independence.
When you’re calling the shots, it’s all down to you. If you travel for long enough, obstacles and problems will inevitably appear but tackling them head on and doing it all yourself, will boost your confidence and make a positive impact on every aspect of your life long after the journey is over. It won’t be long before the problems you face in everyday life seem trivial and easy to manage after the challenges the long road throws at you.
Meet other travellers.
You’re never really alone on the road if you don’t want to be. Travellers tend to be an interesting bunch with great stories to tell and they can help to open your mind, challenge your preconceptions and broaden your horizons. Lifelong friendships are formed from chance encounters in hostels, internet cafes, and any number of other places. You’re far less inclined to step out of your comfort zone and get chatting to a stranger if you’re in a group and other people are less likely to approach you as well. Just think of all the amazing people you might have missed out on in the past!
Experience the local culture.
Many people go on holiday to soak up the local culture, yet leave without having spoken to a single person who has spent their life there. The locals are often happy to chat, but are naturally less likely to strike up a conversation if you’re already in full flow with your friends. Travelling alone enables you to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture through the native people you meet.
Learn languages more easily.
You simply can’t expect everyone you meet abroad to speak English. If you want a realistic picture of other people’s lifestyles and cultures it’s important to communicate with them in their own language. Once again, there are more opportunities to practice your language skills when you don’t have any companions and simply making the effort to speak their language will ingratiate you to the locals. What’s more, your language abilities will improve much more quickly than you might expect!
No risk of losing friends.
Untold numbers of good friends have embarked on their dream holiday together, only to find themselves becoming ever more frustrated with each other – spending every waking moment with someone else will often lead to friction. Sometimes heightened emotions will spill over into a devastating argument with the potential to seriously damage the friendships you’ve cherished for years. Even a fair few marriages have ended like this! With solo travel you stand to gain a whole host of new friends, without risking those you already have.
Be who you want to be.
There’s no expectation for you to act in a certain way when no one in town knows who you are. Travelling alone is a chance to start afresh and be the person you really want to be deep down inside. Self-discovery is the very reason many people travel in the first place and solo travel is undoubtedly the best way to develop as a person and find out a little more about who you really are.