I recently returned from my very first solo trip to Lisbon, Portugal and I have to say that it’s an experience that I’d do all over again. While many shy away from solo travel, I’m learning to embrace it as I never thought I would.
While there’s something special about making travel memories with friends and family members, taking a trip all by yourself can be well worth the experience, even if the idea doesn’t excite you too much. While stepping out on your own and exploring an unfamiliar place without your safety net may seem a little stress-inducing, there’s something incredibly empowering about being able to travel the world without anyone else. You’ll be challenged to make choices, overcome barriers, and navigate new situations – and you’ll return home a better person.
If you’re looking for a reason to plan a trip alone, here are just a few of the ways you’ll grow from solo travel:
YOU’LL BECOME A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER
When you’re on the road on your own, it’s up to you to figure out any less-than-ideal situation you find yourself in. Whether you’ve missed your flight, you’re dealing with a flat tire, you’ve lost your ID, or you simply can’t figure out where to go to lunch, you’ll be challenged to resolve the issue on your own – or seek out resources that can help. Your resilience and resourcefulness will surprise yourself, and you’ll be impressed by your ability to handle any situation with ease by the time your trip is through.
YOU’LL LEARN TO APPRECIATE YOUR OWN COMPANY
Traveling solo means you’ll get to spend a lot of time with yourself. If you don’t enjoy your own company already, you’ll quickly come to adjust after a few days away from home with no friends or family tagging along. You’ll learn to embrace the quiet and reflect on your own thoughts, and you may even pick up a few solo hobbies like journaling, reading, or drawing to enjoy in the evenings as you wind down and prepare for sleep.
YOU’LL MAKE NEW FRIENDS
While one of the biggest benefits of traveling alone is getting to know yourself better, odds are you’ll still crave company at one point another on your solo journey. When it happens, you’ll need to push your boundaries, introduce yourself to some strangers, and turn them into friends. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, you’ll learn how to strike up a conversation with virtually anyone, overcome language barriers, and find comfort in the company of those you don’t know very well – something many find challenging.
YOU’LL BE MORE ADVENTUROUS
When there’s no one around to keep you from saying “no,” you’ll be amazed by how often you’ll be willing to say “yes.” Without friends and family who know the more reserved version of yourself around to hold you back, you’ll feel free to push your personal limits and try new things, moving beyond your comfort zone to challenge yourself and create an experience you’ll remember forever.
The next time you have an opportunity to take a trip without anyone else, don’t shy away from the experience – take advantage of the chance to push your boundaries, open your eyes, and grow as a person as you explore a new destination on your own.