December 27, 2013

7 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

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1. You will meet amazing people.

While traveling with friends or a significant other can be a lot of fun, traveling solo for a certain amount of time can prove to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do because of the great people you’ll meet.

When we travel with friends or a partner, we tend to stick to that little group of familiar faces and even though you’ll meet new people, the dynamics and interactions won’t be as deep and fulfilling. While you’re on your own on the road, you’re much more eager to meet travel buddies, team up with other travelers and generally reach out more in order to socialize.

2. The overwhelming sense of absolute freedom.

When you travel on your own and you start meeting people and making awesome friends, you’ll probably team up with travel buddies and end up expanding your travel plans. You’ll probably change your plans once you hear about that amazing waterfall, that incredible desert beach, the opportunity to bungee jump from a high bridge, or taste a special delicacy you’ll only find off the beaten track.

When you’re traveling, you’re open to change and you’ll welcome it with open arms. The great thing is that you don’t have to fit into a group’s agenda, give explanations or disappoint anyone, you can follow your rhythm, desires and move like the wind.

3. Traveling alone challenges your fears and insecurities

This is a big one, especially if it’s your first solo experience. I remember the first time I traveled when I was 18 and moved to London on my own for 3 months to be an au pair and live with a local family. I was terrified of the unknown, but if I would have surrendered to that fear, I would have never get to know the strong, courageous and adventurous side of me. I was scared, but I did it anyways and by the 3rd day, I was really proud of myself. From then on I never let fear stop me. 16 years and many adventures later, I still have a little voice inside my head, asking: “What if something goes wrong?” “What if you get into trouble?” This is normal and perfectly human; fear exists for our own protection and boosts our awareness. But we shouldn’t let it control our lives.

Safety can be a great comfort, but common sense is the key. Read and research a lot before you travel, check out hostel reviews, and research feedback from other travelers in forums and blogs. Respect the local culture and I guarantee you’ll be fine.

4. Fall in love.

Everyone wants to find their better half and much is said about failed relationships while on the road. It doesn’t have to be like that! We find love when we meet someone who shares our interests, dreams, and goals. While traveling solo you’ll meet so many people from all walks of life that falling in love might just happen. Whether it will be a great summer love or end up at the altar, no one knows, but there are many people out there with amazing stories.

If you already have a partner, this time away can boost your passion and once you’re back, you’ll appreciate each other’s company more.

5. You can take the time to nurture yourself.

If you have a stressful life back home, either studying hard or working too much, traveling on your own can be the time to take some time off and nurture yourself.

Whether you’re a backpacker traveling cheap or if the sky is the limit as far as your budget goes, you can use this time to pamper yourself. Indulge in rich and delicious local meals which will boost your energy and health, take long walks on the beach by sunrise, or get a massage. Do some yoga and relax a lot. Enjoy all the wonderful things you deserve, and understand that happiness is a birth right, not a privilege.

6. You’ll have a chance to recreate yourself and be who you want to be.

While traveling solo, you can leave your grumpy, tired old self behind and start to be a new you. Explore parts of your personality you are not very comfortable or familiar with. When on the road, you might be challenged by unexpected factors and be positively surprised how well you respond to them. Empower yourself by unleashing the wonderful, irresistible and intelligent person you are, but whom you’ve neglected in your everyday routine.

7. You can finally take time to leave everything else behind.

Just disconnect from the world for a while. Turn off your mobile, “forget” to check you emails for a few days… don’t think about the bills, the responsibilities, the duties and problems. Leave them behind.

Some of the most intense creative times or the ones where we find the solutions for all our problems are actually the moments when we disconnect and stop worrying. Have you ever tried to remember a name or a date and you just can’t spit it out, but after you quit trying it pops out? It’s the same for the rest of life. Sometimes our brains need to get rid of old thoughts in order to be able to create space for new ones, better ones. So just disconnect yourself from everything and you might be amazed by how fresh you’ll feel once you get back home. TC mark

Dreaming about what it’s like to live abroad? Check out “A Year Without Make-Up: Tales of a 20-Something Traveler” from Thought Catalog Books here.

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