10 Life Lessons Singles In Their 20s Learn While Traveling Alone

Flickr / David Nitzsche
Flickr / David Nitzsche

Let us shorten the learning curve here, since that’s what the internet’s for yes? Traveling alone in your prime years can be exciting, exhausting and also existentially challenge, but one things for sure, you’ll learn lessons far beyond the borders of your comfort zones; be it work or your private getaway.

1. Responsibility

Perhaps you were the sloth of the family, where everything is taken care of, or perhaps you were the kid that always cleaned up after yourself, either way, your sense of responsibility will be kicked up a notch (well several notches of you are the former), when your belongings, diet, health, and safety are have a direct impact in the choices you make while alone. No mommy, no servants, just you and your inner-parent now.

2. Independence

Don’t know how to make breakfast? Not sure if you can get up in time for the flight? Toilet clogged? Apartment got broken into? Staying in a haunted apartment without a Bible in sight? Learning to cope with these catastrophes events help not in your crisis management skills, it also builds experience, precious experience that prevents future idiocracy. I know people who can’t even manage a simple trip to the supermarket on their own, and these are the exact people who make me wish that natural selection was a much swifter process.

3. Dora Vs. Elsa

Don’t snigger. You’re now in a brave new world, a new frontier, and you can do 2 things. Be the brave explorer that you are, venturing in to the unknown seeking treasures for the soul, or be the royalty that dared to do something ballsy once, and then proceeded to hide in your castle of Netflix/YouTube for the rest of your days. Either way, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself, and how your internal batteries recharge. Explorer or Ice Maiden? That’s your avatar, you decide.

4. “I Am A Family Person”

Before you say that to your future significant other, test this theory first. If you can go for more than 10 days out without feeling a tinge of homesickness or worry about things at home, if your mum misses you, if dad’s doing okay, needing a call back home out of concern, etc. News flash, you’re hinging on a plausible lie if you use the above statement when describing yourself to someone who is going to spend the rest of their life with you.

5. Lost And Found

Nope, not talking about lost passports or dignities. I’m talking about it literally. Despite what your parents, your peers and your mentors may tell you, it’s okay to be lost. Because having a sure set direction in life, while just as rewarding, lacks one thing that being lost can offer: the sense of the unknown. There is so much to be learnt, so much yet to be seen.


6. Character

Yes, cliché, but vital point. How you view, interact and behave in a foreign land shows as much within you regarding your upbringing more obvious ever than ever before. The people you meet don’t owe you histories of friendship, favours to be repaid and forgiveness for past sins. Act like a brat, get treated like a brat. Behave as a noble individual and likewise, you will be treated as one. Which brings me to my next point;

7. Theon Killjoy Vs. Heartthrobb Stark

Not all of us are naturally social creatures from friendlier environments. Some of us could have been an outcast, some of us were everyone’s crush growing up. Some of us feel much more comfortable on our own or perhaps in the company of a close- knit group of friends. But travelling alone will certainly force you out of your shell and is, rather ironically, one of the best ways to learn new social skills.

8. What and who, you truly love.

Very often, from where I’m from, many a teenager in their high schools would have a list of expectations they hope their future partners would possess; but all too often, reality, as we know it, slaps right in the face of our naïve expectations, hard. By opening up to other worlds of opportunities do we get to experience things we have never imagined before, and perhaps, found better alternatives and matches than we previously constructed. Just as I am writing this article, in my mind I have come to admire someone whom I would’ve never paid another moment of attention years before. Before, I was just as foolish and unrealistic as above, but now, experience have been a kind teacher, I have seen much, and have come to appreciate what truly matters.

9. Self- Clairvoyance

While travelling in a place that breaks our normal routine of back-at-home life, it frees your mind from the cognitive constrain that limits other trains of thought that otherwise would not be triggered. You’re alone. You have that isolation to observe your thoughts. It is imagination free of any construct built by the past and not portrayed by the present. The future is your dreams’ playground. Your mind regarding your future paths is your empty canvas, and there’s no better time to wallow in hopes, dreams and possibilities. So extract your journal and write, draw, scribble and dabble the imaginary creating anything that comes to your mind, hopes, dreams, and steps you need to get there. Who knows, 10 years from now, you may be right.

10. Compassion

This could be one of the most important things you get to learn about yourself when
traveling solo. You travel for yourself, to re-discover yourself, to experiment with
your life, to explore what’s in you. Whether conscious or not, traveling alone serves
as a catalyst for the love for oneself –thanks to the constant ease of
introspection. And like they say, if you learn to love yourself, you’ll learn to love and
have compassion for your neighbours, fellow friends, and even everyday strangers.
Go, travel alone for once, and learn these things as I have, and continuously learning,
you magnificent humans. TC mark

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