Why You Should Travel Solo.
5 countries, 6 cities, a pair of worn out shoes, and what feels like a million hostels later, and I'm back to the states. I spent the majority of September and the beginning of October backpacking through Europe and getting lost in beautiful cities like Vienna, Austria and eating my weight in gelato in Venice, Italy. For the most part, I traveled completely solo and I wouldn't have changed a single experience during it.
When I first started thinking about traveling solo, I encountered a ton of people with doubts and definitely had my fair share of worries myself. Would it be safe to travel alone? Especially as a young woman? Would I get bored? Lonely? Who would I share meals with? What if I get lost and there's no one to help? A string of thoughts ran through my mind. I decided that I had to find out for myself and booked my flight. Ticket for one, please.
Backpacking solo through Europe was easily one of the highlights of my life so far and I recommend that you travel solo whether it's domestic or international at least once in your life. Here's why you should forgo the travel buddy:
1. Solo travel is all about you.
One of the absolute highlights of venturing off alone is that your itinerary is 100% decided by you. You get to decide where to go, when you go, what you'll see and how long you'll see it for. Traveling alone means you don't have to do anything you're not interested in. If museums aren't your thing, you don't have to spend $20 on a ticket to wander around a gallery looking at paintings you couldn't care less about. No eating at that vegan place because your friend wants to. Gelato at 10am? Sure, why not!
2. Solo travel is empowering.
Traveling alone allows you to see what you can really do on your own. It shows you that you are more than capable, and stronger than you thought. It teaches you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It's a true test of stepping out of your comfort zone. That sort of independence tests your ingenuity and ability to problem-solve. Missed your bus? No problem, you can book another one. Not sure where you are? Pshhh, piece of cake. The little things stop feeling like such big things when you travel by yourself. It’s empowering to know that you can and will figure out a solution to any problem that comes your way.
3. Solo travel allows you to reflect.
Traveling solo will help you to discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed. With so much time in solitude, you get the chance to be introspective about your own life. I came home from my solo travels feeling so excited and more focused on what I want to do next than I have in years.
4. Solo travel means being alone and not necessarily lonely.
When you make friends with the locals or other travelers, you’ll see that you’re never really by yourself. I stayed at hostels and Air BnBs throughout my travels and met friends that I know I'll have for life. I traveled to Disneyland Paris with an amazing Australian friend I met in my hostel, and spent an entire afternoon sitting in hot pools in Reykavic, Iceland with a new friend from Chile and another from Finland. Traveling alone allows you to see that home is not confined to a single space, address or city, and you'll realize that you begin to feel more at home when you surround yourself with great company.
5. Solo travel will change how you look at the world.
Venturing off by yourself allows you to fully immerse yourself in the culture of each city and will show you that people are inherently good. With all the craziness in the news and media, it can be hard to remember that. Solo travel is a much-needed reminder in the kindness of strangers and the power of a smile, and that at the end of the day, we're really not that different from one another.
Take the trip. Travel solo and fall in love with the world. You'll come back a different person in the best possible way and you'll never look back.