Have you ever thought to yourself, “I just need to get away.” So you start calling your friends, trying to plan a month-long trip to take with them, and you get them all pumped. Everyone’s excited, everyone’s talking about how cool it will be to go to [insert fun, exotic location here]. Then a couple of weeks pass by and no one talks about it. Then it’s time to buy the flight and no one has the money or can’t get the time off or simply can’t miss out on their friends 4th 21st birthday party. Now what?
Like Justin Timberlake, you go solo.
Solo travel, especially solo female travel, has increased over the years, but there are still a lot of people who fear it which is understandable since many people fear the unknown. There’s a fear of safety, fear of loneliness, even a fear of an unsupportive circle of friends and family.
If there’s one thing I hope to do with all my traveling, it’s to inspire others to do the same. I’ve been a solo traveler for a total of 2 years and I can one hundred and a bajillion percent vouch that it changes you. Here's some inspiration to get you to solo travel.
Educating Yourself On... Yourself
I had no idea that I would be able to survive traveling between 3 countries in 3 days. Or that I love soup as an appetizer even though it’s 80+ degrees outside. I also never thought I’d be into podcasts (send me your recommendations) or that I enjoy waking up at 5 am.
When you’re no longer concerned with the opinions of others, you start to realize your likes and dislikes; whether you’re a morning person or a night owl; if you like beer or tequila; you know, the important stuff. Maybe you start to travel because you see everyone doing it on Instagram, but as you continue to travel solo, you realize that you actually enjoy learning languages, or sleeping beneath the stars. Maybe you used to own a ton of shoes, drink a lot on the weekends, and hated missing out on fun events. Then you traveled solo and realized that shoes are cute, but your money could be spent on an experience instead, or that hangovers are death, and you’re sick of the same tired events. Whatever it is, when you spend time alone, you do what you want to do because you know yourself. You know what motivates you and that makes you want to do more for yourself instead of others.
A Confidence Boost That Goes Through The Roof
As soon as I returned from my first long-term solo trip through Southeast Asia, I got my car fixed at a dealership knowing that it would be expensive. I ended up using the bargaining skills I had gained in Southeast Asia to lower the price and even had the front desk walk me back to the mechanic in the garage so that I could look under the hood with him. No f***s were given. Oh, and I was wearing heels. I felt important.
I also found myself talking to more strangers than I had before. Oh, and at the end of my trip through South America? Definitely believed in my ability to get any man that I wanted. Because every guy loves a girl that doesn’t know how to wink…
No One Can Hold You Back or Control Your Decisions
Let’s pretend I had a boyfriend (I know, I’m so funny), and we traveled together. What if I wanted to attend the Full Moon Party in Thailand, but my boyfriend didn’t want to because he was too tired. Even if it was just a friend, I would miss out on an event that I’ve always wanted to attend simply because someone else was too tired or didn’t care to attend themselves.
Through solo travel you get to go wherever you want, whenever you want, or not. There’s no compromising, and there’s no need to care for someone else’s desires. It’s your choice and your choice alone. You have that power when you travel solo.
What Comfort Zone?
Learning Spanish was a slow process when I was surrounded by English speakers. Then I went to South America where I was forced to speak Spanish if I was to survive. I was shy at first, but after some time, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone by pushing through the stuttering and doubts of myself in order to communicate with others. I also never thought in a million years I would be good at bargaining, but I ended up doing pretty well when I was in Vietnam.
If you’ve never jumped from the top of a tree into a lagoon, or you’ve never surfed, but these opportunities present themselves while traveling solo, guess what? You’re going to take these opportunities and it’s going to feel weird at first, but it’s because you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone into a world you never knew existed. It’s exhilarating.
You fall in love with yourself
I'm serious, guys. I think I'm the one. I am a full supporter of love and still believe that I will fall in love with someone. I am not a traveler that thinks that relationships suck or that since I'm traveling I'm better than the average person in a relationship. No. I just know that I won't be able to fully love someone else until I learn to love myself first. Otherwise, I'll be a psycho b*tch and no one wants that. I think that if someone loves you, then they will support you, they will believe in you, and they will not attempt to change you for their own benefit in any way. When you support yourself, you believe in yourself, and you don’t feel the need to change yourself for others, you’ll find that you’re in love with yourself.
Then there’s the physical aspect: You’ve hiked mountains, driven a motorbike through Vietnam, maybe you did some yoga, or haven’t worn pants in weeks because you just love your new active body. Your life has taken a turn for the better. You’re brave and you’re confident. What’s there not to love about yourself?
Do you want to know what the crazy part about it is, though? You might fear what solo travel will do to you instead. That all of the above will come true and then what will people think of you? That change in you is what many actually fear the most. (But that's some Dr. Phil sh*t and I just barely learned how to not be a psycho b*tch, so don't listen to me.)
Anyway, even if you think you could never travel alone, how do you know you won’t like it until you try it? What's holding you back?