Solo travel is one of my absolute favorite ways to see the world, but it hasn't always been that way. The idea of being alone sounded so daunting. What would people think when i'm eating in a restaurant by myself? Will I even have any fun alone? How do I stay safe? What about the language barrier?
These are all things I wondered prior to my first trip alone. What is the big fuss about never wanting to be by ourselves anyway?
YOU are the only person who truly knows yourself and what better way to learn even more than to take a solo trip!
My first solo trip was 1.5 weeks around Europe during my winter break while I was studying abroad in Spain just after I turned 20 years old. I flew from Alicante to Munich, took a bus through Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, and flew down to Madrid just in time to bring in the New Year with my new study abroad friends. Prior to that I had hardly ever tried doing anything by myself. What inspired me was my friend, Michael, in my Spanish class. He took a weekend trip to Copenhagen and talked about how liberating his getaway was.
I wanted to push myself to find a new view of myself and the world.
Below is a list of 6 reasons why everyone should travel alone at least once in their lifetime.
Step out of your comfort zone
With anything in life, if you stay comfortable, you are not growing. It might sound scary at first but if it makes you uncomfortable and scares you, then it's probably worth doing it. No one ever got anywhere from staying in their little bubble so stop waiting for someone to come on that dream destination of yours and just take the leap!
Get to know yourself
What better way to get to know who you are than to spend a week or more alone with yourself? When placed in situations outside of your typical routine, you will push boundaries and learn new things you may have no idea you're capable of. I'v learned i'm pretty good at Spanish when I don't have someone else to rely on.
Being selfish has such a negative connotation but it doesn't always have to. Traveling alone allows you to be selfish but in the best of ways. You can do anything you want whenever you want to without feeling like you are upsetting your travel companion. Maybe you want to sleep in all day or wander a city for hours or even get lunch with that cute boy you met at your hostel, there is nothing stopping you!
Try new things
I mean you're planning your first solo trip so that's a new thing right? Why stop there? Find a fun hobby you can do while traveling! Whether it's scuba diving, hang gliding, or trying coffee in every city, the possibilities are absolutely endless!
Meet people you otherwise may never know
In my opinion this is the best part about traveling alone. I have made lifelong friends during my solo trips that I otherwise may have never met. Traveling alone pushes even the shyest of people to talk to those around you and not stay confined within your group. Hostels are an awesome way to connect with other travelers and you will find that SO many people take the solo route when planning a trip. You will quickly learn that traveling alone doesn't actually mean you are ever truly alone. There is a whole community of backpackers out there who look after one another so don't be afraid to trust them. This goes especially for female travelers, while you should always be aware of those around you, know that not everyone is out to get you.
Traveling alone is a HUGE confidence booster. You will become more assertive in expressing what you want and learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. Without these experiences I would not be nearly as independent as I am now.
While taking a huge leap and planning a year abroad is an awesome way to start your solo adventure, you don't have to start that large. Plan a short trip to a fun city you've always wanted to explore and get to know yourself.
You will never go if you wait for someone to come with you.