Solo travel is growing in popularity. In fact, the number of first-time travelers who choose to go solo has more than doubled in recent years. Despite that, solo travelers are still a niche minority as most travelers prefer to go in couples or groups.
Traveling alone is a whole different experience. There are certain benefits you can only get from waking up alone in a totally unfamiliar place and charting your own course deeper into the unknown.
Even if you’re not traveling long-term, venturing out for a solo vacation once in awhile can help you build skills and competencies that you can bring back and apply to all areas of your life.
Here are six benefits you can get from traveling alone:
1You Learn to Rely on Yourself
You’ll get organized. Nobody else will be there to fold your laundry for you. You either do it yourself and take pride in the process or you stuff it in your backpack and content yourself with wearing wrinkled clothes.
You’ll learn to organize your finances. Without proper handling, your cash can easily slip away in a matter of days. You have to pay attention and track your spending.
Watch your own back because you’re the only one responsible for your safety. In fact, you might be the only person on the continent who cares whether you live or die! Learn to exercise caution and self-care and you’ll start becoming empowered.
2You Deal With Some Big Emotions
You fall and pick yourself back up. You get extremely frustrated. You miss your family back home. You wonder where you went wrong and what the hell you are doing all the way out there anyway.
And you deal with those emotions while getting overwhelmed with joy and excitement, too.
Ultimately, you’ll learn that the world isn’t causing your emotions. You are. And, unfortunately, the world can’t solve them for you.
Traveling alone will help you learn to experience immense moments without being clumsily demonstrative. It’ll help you go through your emotions and deal with what’s really causing them.
3You Build People Skills
You’ll encounter different kinds of people and build social-emotional intelligence along the way. This is a powerful tool you can use anywhere you go.
You’ll soon learn how to have a calm and pleasant conversation with the bank officials even when you’re panicking because you can’t access your account. Calmness and sweetness are more likely to win their assistance.
If you’re only in town for the weekend, you can make friends fast. You can even find a relationship quickly, too. You’ll have someone to bring to a festival or that local restaurant you’ve been wanting to visit. Even when traveling solo, you don’t really have to be alone all that much if you don’t want to.
You’ll also learn cross-linguistic communication. Even if you’re not planning to learn the language by immersion, you can always pick up the basics. The rest, you can do with body language, visual aids and a lot of patience. This is a delicate process as you’ll have to overcome your fear of looking foolish.
Traveling solo can increase your awareness of the body signals you’ve been unintentionally sending. And, because of that, you’ll be able to work on your posture and how you approach other people so that they will be more willing to engage.
4You Chart Your Own Course
As a solo traveler, you can watch your decisions become plans, train tickets and then memories. You don’t have to wait for anyone, hurry up the experience or postpone your trip just because someone doesn’t want to go with you. Your destiny lies in your own hands.
5You Come Face to Face With Your Smallness in the World
The world is big. It’s not just its geographical size but the magnitude of the people and their willingness to help you when you are a vulnerable stranger.
It’s one thing to say it and another thing to encounter it.
There is no humility and openness like that of a well-traveled person. When you see how big the world is and the magnanimity of its people, it’ll make you realize how diverse the world is. Strangely, this makes you both more humble and confident.
6You Gain a Sense of Confidence
Traveling makes you more aware of how powerful you are than the first time you strapped on that backpack and walked out the door. You have seen yourself in dynamic, dangerous and unimaginably foreign situations and you’ve handled it.
You’ve tested yourself. You know your power and you know your limits. And you know that whatever you were so worried about in your life before you ventured out, you can handle that now, too. It’s not a problem anymore.
Traveling solo isn’t a requirement for leading a good life. You can build a lot of these skills elsewhere.
But, traveling alone accelerates your emotional and mental growth in a way that no other activity can. It makes you more open, agreeable and stable. It gives you a story and it makes you wise.
So, the next time you’re feeling that travel bug, take the extra leap and do it alone. You might surprise yourself with what you can handle.
See Also: 10 Wonderful Benefits of Traveling
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Author: Brian Oaster
Brian Oaster is a content writer for translation services provider Day Translations. He has worked all over the world as an arts educator, English teacher, basket exporter, rare book dealer, fortune teller, and as the first mate of a private sailing yacht. Educated in the visual arts and an avid reader of news and literature, his focus is on international arts and culture, world religion and global politics.