Being alone is almost unheard of these days. Between thumbing through texts from our friends on the morning commute and scrolling past their Instagram photos, face brightly lit up in our bedrooms in the dead of the night, even our one-time fleeting moments of solitude are now intimately connected to everyone around us.
Why You Should Travel Alone at Least Once
One way to truly connect to yourself and the world around you again, and that is by travelling alone. It’s an experience so contrary to our everyday connectedness that the feeling of satisfaction and enlightenment that comes with it is hard to match. Hop on a plane to a faraway place by yourself, aimlessly walk through an unknown city for a day alone, take a table for one at a restaurant at night and let yourself rediscover your thoughts and see the world around you a little more clearly. Before long you’ll realise you’re not truly alone at all, a whole host of people, places and experiences will flood into your life all at your own pace and cost, making it a truly unbeatable way to travel.
If you have reservations, fear not, if we haven’t convinced you already then read on and see why you should travel alone.
Your planning is easier
Before you’ve even hopped on the plane one of the advantages to travelling alone is that you can go where you want, whenever you want. Nobody else’s life plans and wishes matter but your own. Better yet you can choose your budget that works for you, not somebody else. Want to treat yourself to a night in a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps sitting in a spa as snowflakes fall outside your window?
Well who’s stopping you, go for it. And best of all, while you’re on the road you can set your itinerary as you like it, and you can throw it out the window as you like it too. You’ll find people and places that take your fancy and make you want to stay somewhere longer or go and visit somewhere else entirely at a moment’s notice. Just pick up your bag and go.
You’ll make new friends
One of the funny contradictions of travelling alone is that you seemingly never stay alone for that long. There is something about the lone traveller that draws other people to them, whether it be the spirit of those gutsy enough to take in the world like this which magnetises others in, or the openness that not being stuck with other people we already know brings, solo travellers inevitably build up a treasure trove of stories of new friends and funny characters that come into their lives as they carve their individual path through the world.
These friendships can be for a few hours, days or weeks depending on your adventure, but they’ll always remain in your mind attached to the vivid memories of the new places you discovered with these people. Before you know it you’ll have a United Nations of nationalities on your Facebook friends list.
You’ll become more confident
When you’re not in a group you don’t have much of a choice but to put yourself out there and be social. Even if you see yourself as a little on the shy side, travelling alone is the perfect cure for this. Many of the most laid back and easy to get along with people are travelling by themselves, the sorts of people content to be just with themselves tend to paradoxically be the best company. Soon enough, you will become one of these people as you confront new situations, people, places and the odd problem alone.
If you’ve never had dinner at a restaurant alone then give it a go, every morsel of flavour will hit the tongue that little bit stronger as your thoughts are not distracted with what someone across the table is saying to you. A challenge like this can soon become something you relish.
You will see more
While you will make new friends, you will inevitably find yourself at times alone. Whether it’s because you’ve just arrived in a new place, or just simply want some time for yourself, these places you visit alone will be front and centre of your attention. Take in exhibits, buildings and natural wonders deep in thought, read every word and gaze at the images, artistry or the canvas of mother nature as you amble along at your own pace.
What you might miss travelling alone with someone else less interested or pressing you to get somewhere else is now yours to pour over for as long as you like. Profound moments of thought will tick through your mind and realisations will come when you’re not distracted in conversation with anybody else, and in these moments alone what you see will have a deeper meaning.
You will become a better person
Just like how the solo traveller seems to draw people into their orbit, a side effect of this is that random acts of kindness seem to come their way too. From the mundane like someone helping you with directions to find your way, to the awesome like a stranger inviting you into their life to a party, or the profound where someone helps you out in a serious time of need, all of these will leave an indelible mark on you and remind you that there are still good people out there in the world. Armed with these experiences you can go onto pay it forward and help others out as well should you see someone looking a little lost, in need of some company or desperately needing help. This can only make you a better person.
You will discover yourself
All of your experiences will come together for what is the best thing about travelling alone, and that is discovering the person you really are. In our day to day lives we are busy with our jobs, studies and friends, and all of these without you even realising attach meaning and history to the person you are. They are your identity. But travelling alone you are a blank slate, to the people you meet you are the smile on your face and the spirit you shine as you get to know each other.
You might talk a bit about your home life, and maybe they’ll sneak a look on your social media, but for the most part what is most important is the person you are then and there. In your moments alone traipsing unknown streets or crossing borders looking out a train window as the scenery whizzes by you’ll reflect on this person you’ve been to these new friends who’ve accepted you free of all the attachments which define you in your life at home, and that is a feeling which only comes from travelling alone.