“You’re going by yourself?”
“Aren’t you worried about…?”
“I could never do that! It’s so scary!”
This is pretty much the typical response from family and friends when they discover I’m traveling solo around Asia.
It’s really scary to travel by yourself.
The breathtaking places you’ll explore and there will be no one there to take your picture!
You’ll have to decide what you want to eat all by yourself!
And the scariest part, you’ll have to plan where you’re going and what you’re doing all by yourself every single day!
Sounds really terrifying, right?
The only thing you should be worried about is never wanting to travel with anyone else ever again.
In all honesty, I enjoy traveling solo and here’s why.
1. I don’t have to compromise
It might sound really selfish but traveling solo allows me to do what I really want without worrying about someone else’s experiences. Deciding where to go, how long to stay, and what to do is one of the biggest luxuries of traveling solo. You’re allowed to change your mind without permission or compromise!
2. I’m more aware and engaged in my surroundings
I’ve been known a time or two to wander, to not hold my bag close to me in a crowded area, to walk aimlessly in the middle of the street, and not always follow traffic lights/rules etc. Because the truth is, there is usually someone on the sidelines watching out for me, making sure I don’t stray too far or get myself into too much of a mess.
You give this up when you travel solo. No one is watching out for you but yourself. You become more aware of your actions, the people, and your general surroundings. By becoming more aware you’ll quickly find yourself more engaged with people and places you otherwise would’ve ignored.
(Don’t get me wrong, though, I still wander around aimlessly and definitely don’t follow all the rules! I just do so now in a more responsible manner!)
3. I find myself over and over again.
I know, I know. I’ve probably said this a hundred times and it sounds so basic. But it’s true. And I don’t just mean it in some hippy eat-pray-love and find yourself kinda way.
You learn what you really like, dislike, are willing to sacrifice, and not willing to compromise on. I guarantee you’ll find that being with yourself isn’t such a bad thing after all because just when I think there’s nothing more to learn about myself, I end up rediscovering myself all over again.
4. I meet incredible people
The idea of traveling solo can be off-putting for many because it seems very lonely. However, when you think of just how many other fellow solo travelers are out there, you’ll realize this is quite the opposite.
When you’re sitting in a restaurant, wandering a city, or hiking a mountain by yourself, you are far more open to meet new people than if you’re already with your people. Meeting locals and fellow solo travelers is one of my favorite things to do. It provides some of the best experiences during my travels and makes for new friends all around the world.
5. I gain
Traveling solo allows so much freedom and so much strength, growth, confidence, and an overall independence. You learn to problem solve, negotiate, read situations and people, be more open-minded and become more decisive (well…kind of ha ha). It’s amazing just how resourceful you are when you have to be.