The Wanderlust starts in me. I tell my friends I’ll be gone for a while. Their first question: “Who are you going with?” When I say I’m travelling on my own their reactions are almost the same: “Isn’t it dangerous?”, “Don’t you feel lonely? “ or “Alone?, I could never do that!”
During my travels I found out that fear and doubt exist only in our heads.
Those self-limiting thoughts often discourage people trying out “unusual life paths”. They prevent us from following our intuition to find out what we really want in life! A “road less travelled” like Robert Frost said can be, for example, traveling alone.
For me it is the best catalyst for personal growth.
I share with you my 8 reasons why I prefer travelling on my own.
1. You REALLY, REALLY learn about yourself.
You discover your soul during the most intensive journey on your own.
Besides exploring the world outside, you explore more the world within. As you have to deal with yourself, you start to discover who you really are and what you want to be. When you are free from the daily routine, you start focusing more intensely on your goals, your relationships and personal strengths and weaknesses. I would say you acquire a clearer mind. In addition:
You recharge your own batteries as you are not using your energy anymore fulfilling any social expectations.
Suddenly, you try out different things. Often it’s you who decide what you want to do. But sometimes it is also the coincidence of life and the people that you encounter that lead you on your journey. I believe that the “universe” or “god” gives us hints of which we are often not aware of.
Finally, to discover things that make you really happy.
Maybe you might waken your artistic vein or your social conscience during the solo trip? And you find out that your hidden passion lies more in other fields such as writing, tourism, water sports etc.? You never know. Interests can change very fast, at all ages!
Until 18, I didn’t find any joy in hiking. Then, one day a friend convinced me to do the Overland Track in Tasmania with him, an amazing 1-week hike. Guess what, now I love hiking and wild camping! Not long ago, I started writing a blog during my solo travels, and I enjoy it! There are so many other exciting changes which I have experienced since travelling (on my own).
To find out your real passion, it is important to listen carefully to your heart and intuition.
At the beginning, it can be a strange feeling because you sometimes have to leave your comfort zone. But this is exactly the point, when the “real” life begins. Don’t be afraid, be self confident and believe in yourself. Your inner world is more exciting than you can imagine!
2. More freedom, flexibility and spontaneity.
Everyone knows this situation: You are free and plan the adventure. You’re asking your friends to come with you. But mostly they can’t because every person has different schedules, different interests or not the same freedom. It can sometimes be even more annoying to reconcile different travel tastes than waiting for your friends.
When you go on your own the preparation is easier.
Spontaneously, you can decide at the last minute to book a flight to an unknown country. And only you decide what you want to do! As a free and independent traveller, suddenly unexpected things are happening.
Believe me, spontaneous actions are the most amazing!
Maybe you find your lover on your solo-journey with whom you start an amazing road trip along the coast? You will never know what will happen next, but it is certain that you will meet a lot of people! That takes you to my third reason.
3. You meet more people (only if you want).
As a social being you can’t spend a whole week alone. It would drive you insane and you would feel lonely.
When travelling alone, you have to speak to more people.
Why? It’s simple: In a group you are often not aware of being caught in a “bubble”. While you are travelling alone, you have to step out of your comfort zone to make friends. It is easier than you think. For example, you can ask anyone on the street for directions. The more you speak to strangers the more you get used to it. Ok, maybe the street isn’t the best place to make friends, but if you’re lucky it can be! Everything is possible. Therefore, I recommend you to use hostels or Couch Surfing.
In hostels you also meet other solo travellers who are just waiting for you to make the first step.
Any simple question or just a friendly “ Hi, how are ?“ with an authentic smile can already be a small start to a great friendship.
If you want to meet locals, then the best way is definitely Couch Surfing.
Make sure that you complete your Couch Surfing profile in detail. A “friendly” picture of you is a must. Make clear that you’re really interested in getting to know the people. The real purpose of Couch Surfing is definitely not only to “sleep for free” at local’s houses!
For me, hanging out with locals is the best you can do when you’re abroad.
While being part of their life you experience closely their culture and learn the language. Believe me, from each person that you encounter on your travel you learn something! Tim Cahill is right with his citation:” A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles”. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling having friends all over the world? At the end of that journey, that I also call “life”, what is actually left or reality? For me, they are moments with people which last forever in your heart.
4. You get a higher perspective of life.
This reason is very wide-reaching and philosophic. I could write pages about it. So how can I best explain to you briefly this point? Maybe with the metaphor of Richards Bach book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”.
Imagine you are a seagull. Those wild birds are mainly busy with satisfying their social and physical needs: like hunting for their daily food, being in society, having different partner, etc. Do you think, they would ever ask themselves the question: “Why are we flying?” Would they ever think about improving their flying techniques to fly even higher and more efficient?
I think no, but Jonathan, the seagull of Richard Bach, did that. He left for a journey on his own. At the beginning, it wasn’t very easy for him, as his community saw him as an outsider. But during his adventure he met a lot of other similar seagulls. They accompanied him and supported him on his journey. Different communities welcomed him warmly. He learned different flying techniques to fly even higher and better! For a human I would say it is a search of moral or spiritual significance to get a higher perspective of life. In other words:
It’s a pilgrimage to find out a deeper sense of life.
Siddhartha Gautama, for example, only became the Buddha (enlightened person) because he left everything behind and started a journey on his own. Or likewise Christopher McCandless who went “Into the Wild” to find his inner peace. Both experienced, for example, that happiness is only real when you share it with someone else. I would say they got a clearer mind about what REALLY matters in their life.
Please don’t get me wrong: I don’t want you to give up your family, friends and live like a monk or in the wild! What I want to say is that you are the hero of your own movie. You decide how many pages your script will have and how exciting it will be!
Start you own pilgrimage, and find out the deeper sense of life, your place as an individual in the universe!
Thanks for reading Part 1. Click here for Part 2.
Your Viet. 🙂