5 Things You’ll Discover From Traveling Solo
Traveling abroad by yourself can be pretty nerve-wracking. You’re in an unfamiliar (and possibly dangerous) territory with nothing to rely on but your wit, charm and the kindness of other people. But if you do it right, it can also be a very rewarding experience, one that can help you grow and learn invaluable lessons you can use for the rest of your life. Here’s five I learned from my solo excursions overseas:
- Your own life and those of other people. One of the greatest joys of traveling is meeting new people. It’s such a wonderful experience discovering and being part of the lives of strangers, even if only momentarily. However, if you travel solo, most of your time will be spent alone (in your room, on the road) – and that’s not time wasted. That is another opportunity for growth, a perfect time for introspection, analyzing your choices in life and where you intend to go literally and philosophically.
- How to take responsibility. It’s easy to take things for granted when you’re comfortable and you know you’re safe. At home, you have your family to rely on, your friends to consult with, and the Government to take care of your other needs. Going to a strange, new place forces you to act more carefully, knowing that there’s no one to bail you out if you make a big mistake. It’s a challenge that makes you wiser, craftier and more resolute in your actions like no other experience would.
- A better perspective of the world. When everything is unfamiliar, you see things in a new light. You notice how people do things differently in different places, whether you can adapt their practices at home or whether you can teach them something from where you’re from. Traveling in general expands your horizons, but this takes on a deeper level when you’re solo traveling because it immerses you completely in new environment as you don’t even have a companion to remind you of home.
- How to better communicate with people. In my experience, the best way to communicate with people – even those who don’t speak the same language that I do – is by speaking while smiling freely and showing respect. (Obviously, an ability to mime what you’re trying to say and some shared common words also go a long way.) Without a tour guide to translate for you, you’ll inevitably become more receptive of people’s body language and, with practice, you’ll become adept at understanding what people are trying to say even when you don’t exactly understand their words.
- That you can be completely fine on your own. At home, we’re constantly surrounded by people and things that take our time and attention. By going away and traveling on your own you realize just how much of those things you can actually go without. It’s different for everyone – some miss everything, while other can be so absorbed by their new location that they can forget their life at home – but however it is for you, you will realize that by traveling alone, you’re perfectly capable of finding wonders in this big world all by yourself.