Venturing out into the world alone might be an intimidating prospect, but solo travel is something everyone should try at least once in their life.
If the mere thought of it has you shaking in your Birkenstocks, then take the advice of seasoned traveller Geraldine Carton, who has been all over the world (both with and without companions) and testifies that the best moments and biggest learnings came as a result of going outside her comfort zone and taking the solo plunge.
This is your opportunity to be 100% selfish
What would you do if you could spend each day any way you like? Travelling alone provides the unique opportunity to act upon your every whim 24/7, totally compromise-free. Do what you want when you want, or do nothing at all - no questions will be asked either way. That's the beauty of solo travelling; no one is going to stop you, no one is going to nag you, and no one is going to drag you to a raw vegan restaurant when your heart is calling for a cheese toasty.
You will learn to embrace your own company
Be warned, the first solo dining experience might be awkward, and it’ll probably be marked by an extreme paranoia that everyone is watching, judging and assuming that you are the biggest friendless loner in the world. But stick with it, because it will get easier. Before you know it you’ll be a solo dining pro, using each meal as an opportunity to contemplate life, catch up on reading, or concoct stories about the personal lives of the diners around you.
Your odds of meeting new friends are a lot higher.
When travelling with others, the tendency is to stick to yourselves. No judgement, this is just the way humans are programmed. When you only have yourself as company, however, you quickly find yourself with two choices: either you strike up conversation with people, or you undergo an unintended silent retreat. Interacting with the local people and fellow travellers is usually how the best, out-of-the-norm experiences come about, so if you want to make the most of your time away, leave your shyness at the airport terminal.
You learn a lot about yourself
Solo travel can be daunting, but stepping outside your comfort zone will bring incredible adventures that could never have happened otherwise. What’s more, you’ll gain serious insight into your own capabilities, and that’ll have the knock-on effect of bumping up your confidence overall. You’ll come home a self-assured problem solver, safe in the knowledge that you overcame every hurdle that came your way, and you didn’t need anyone holding your hand to do it.
Improving Language skills
When travelling in a foreign country with friends, you're more likely to rely on them for help with translating, or you’ll just flat-out speak in your native language. Travellers who have channelled their international Billy No Mates will agree that their odds of getting some grasp on the foreign language increased dramatically when they went at it alone.
Put simply, it’s impressive
The fact that you have the courage to go travelling alone will really work in your favour when it comes to job interviews, first dates, and any other situation where you want to impress people. There’s something about a good solo travel story that people just can’t get enough of. What’s more, venturing overseas alone demonstrates bravery, independence, adaptability, financial planning, an adventurous spirit, and cross-cultural understanding, all of which are good characteristics to be associated with.
Main photo by Nina Uhlíková from Pexels