“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”
— Freya Stark
My first attempt at solo travel was only a 4-hour bus ride away from home, at 25, while I was having an internal debate whether I should quit my toxic job and leave the country for a better career prospect abroad.
Of course, I have bus-traveled alone before but they’re always with a purpose – either for a site visit, visiting a friend, or attending school-related stuff.
That trip was different because of an entirely different set of goals: to explore the city, feel the breeze, try the food, brave the winding road, meet the locals, spend some time with myself and to think about my career ordeal.
So where did I go? The Beautiful City of Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippines.
While the trip was short, it was amazing. It opened my eyes to the wonders of traveling solo and definitely helped in the decision making to hand over that resignation letter and eventually paving my way to visit more countries and travel around new places alone.
I’ve not visited many countries that much. They’re all on my list though. For now, I’ll share with you some of the most intimate reasons why I love solo travelling:
You learn to be independent.
You might consider yourself independent at this moment. But the independence you get from travelling solo is different. It starts from the moment you decide to book that flight, doing itineraries, choosing OOTDS, marking places to visit – all these are decisions you have to make. You my ask a friend who has been there or consult the Internet but in the end, the choices are all yours. Once you step of that 18 hour train ride, you’re on your own. The feeling will get you both excited and nervous at the same time, but trust me, the thrill always prevails.
You only worry about yourself.
Travel requires serious decision-making skills, much more if it’s travelling solo. And not every one you make is going to be a good one. Good thing for solo travelers, you don’t have someone else to blame or worry about other than yourself. Oftentimes, you’ll find that wrong decisions could turn out to be the right ones especially because you’re the only one in control of the whole situation.
You’ll be able to find time to think.
Most people decide to travel alone because they need a break or to have some time to think things through. While you can be pressured to decide fast on something in a past-paced environment, the fleeting moments of travelling solo will help you realize a lot of things in a short amount of time. Psychologically, with all the time you spent by yourself, you will eventually decide that you need to do what is best for you.
You get to see, eat, and do what you really want.
While traveling with friends and family sure is fun, you are tied to a certain set of decisions simply because they are more “convenient”. Travelling solo means you eat all the local street foods you want to eat instead of expensive restaurants because your mum is very strict on “hygiene”, you get to visit the places you’ve been dying to see instead of mall-shopping, and get to learn a new art craft you’ve been wanting to get your hands on for so long instead of visiting a popular tourist attraction.
You’ll find time to finish or start a personal project.
Been wanting to finish a book, set-up a blog, finish an online course, perhaps learn a new language? With all the time by yourself, there’s no excuses. Your personal project might not be finished within the span of your travelling but you’ll find the drive to eventually continue after the break.
You’ll meet more locals and fellow solo travelers.
Travelling solo means you don’t have a companion to always talk to so you’re left with no choice but to interact with the locals or travelers alike. There’s always this beauty in talking to strangers. Meeting them is not only getting to know about their names. Just by introducing themselves to you and you to them, there’s an unspoken exchange of cultures – a heartwarming act of welcome that gives you some sort of drive to want to experience everything as a local.
You’ll be even bolder and more confident.
Completing a solo travel builds up an insurmountable amount of confidence. With more experiences under your belt, having overcome some of the challenges that come along with solo travel, and learning about the place you visited, you’ll find wisdom to tell more stories and share more knowledge, eventually building up that urge to want to explore more…
You will learn about yourself — a lot.
Your dreams, your insecurities, your secrets, and even your strengths – you’ll find out a lot about yourself while traveling alone. You’ll find them even in your second, third, or twentieth time of travelling solo. You will find that in the face of solitude, you discover some of the innermost feelings that may change your life forever.
Every travel journey has its own story. You may not find or experience what I mentioned above but it’s better to agree or disagree on something rather than to not have an opinion about the matter. So go.
It may not be about finding yourself or about making life-changing decisions but traveling solo will open your eyes to a lot of things — things worth writing about in your own list of Reasons Why You Need to Travel Alone.