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I will start with a tale from my first-ever solo trip. The year was 2010. I had just turned 30 in January and was determined to go outside my comfort zone and visit Italy and Greece. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find a travel companion. So I explored the idea of going alone. This post is all about what solo travel teaches you and how important it is for your soul.
I struggled with the many common fears that plague most first time solo travelers. Will I be lonely, bored, safe, or look like a friendless loser? How will I cope in a new place? Will I make new friends?
Can I do this, I thought… Spoiler alert, I did it.
Fast forward to nearly ten years later, and I will share all the amazing things solo travel taught me and why you should do it!
What Solo Travel Teaches You
Solo Travel Teaches You Self-Confidence & Inner Strength
Do you want to know the best way to improve your self-confidence and inner strength? Take a solo trip. I promise you it’s not just about trying new things, learning different cultures, and developing new skills. Solo travel experiences strengthen you to your core.
Before traveling alone, I did consider myself a relatively strong and somewhat confident woman. But once you go on a solo trip, you will see just how capable you are in this world. It can be an exciting feeling, as well as terrifying.
Any time you get to a new destination certain challenges can pop up unexpectedly. I used to look at any inconvenience as a bad thing, but really it’s one of the best things that can help you grow.
All the time on your own is perfect for soul searching. It is the time you can check in with yourself and ask hard questions. For example, am I really happy?
Sometimes you need that alone time in beautiful places to really help open your mind and find your own happiness.
In my personal experiences with solo travel, my life would always shift when I got back home. I learned some valuable lessons about how to make a better relationship with myself and my needs.
Solo Travel Teaches You There is a World of Possibilities
Almost Ready To Try Solo Traveling?
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Sometimes you just need someone to bounce ideas off of or get some assurance that you are on the right track with planning!
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After ripping off that first solo trip band-aide, I woke up to the world of possibilities in front of me. The need to wait for someone to join me was no longer holding me back. If I desired to go on a solo adventure, I could save money, and I could go. I now saw a great opportunity to see different places on my own terms.
To be fully transparent, after my first solo trip, I wasn’t a full convert. I still would have preferred to find someone to travel along with, if I could. Since those options were still not presenting themselves by the time my next trip rolled around, I decided to go ALONE… again.
During this second solo trip, I got a lot more creative and did more than just two countries! I choose five countries in 3 weeks. It was a bit ambitious, but all of it was worth it in the end. The world was opening up to me, and I was meeting new people and learning how to be a solo female traveler.
After this trip and getting the hang of going alone, deep down, I knew I was starting to prefer it. And to this day I strongly prefer solo travel experiences over group travel.
The skills I was acquiring as a solo traveler was making me a more confident and stronger woman. These strengths were helping me in my career and personal life.
Solo Travel Teaches You Compassion and Awareness
If we are lucky, we will get the opportunity to grow into more self-aware beings. Traveling will open the doors to our minds and fill it with experiences. I have been forever changed by visiting foreign countries.
Travel can be so many different things to so many people. The most popular reason to travel is to relax. I look at my holidays and approach them in an entirely different way. My travel style is to immerse and learn.
For me, the most important thing is to meet the local people and learn about their daily lives. Someday, I see my vacations becoming more of a chill by the beach, but not now.
You learn a lot about a place when you set out to be part of it. Befriending locals, and listening to their stories is something really magical.
Your compassion for people and their ways of life starts to become a part of your story. Years of solo travel have really opened my eyes to the world around me. I am a better person with more compassion and awareness than in years before solo travel.
Solo Travel Teaches You To Release Fear & Insecurity
It didn’t happen instantly, but there is no denying that by traveling alone, I slowly lost my feelings of fear and insecurity. I was becoming a more self-assured woman, and it felt great. I also learned to become my own best friend.
The first of my fears, I let go, was eating alone in public. With time, the insecurity I felt walking into a restaurant and asking for a table for one was gone. Just not giving a shit what anyone was thinking is a very freeing feeling. I became very comfortable on my own enjoying a meal and picture edits on my phone to pass the time.
My fears of what other people thought of my solo traveling were something that lingered, but not for too long.
When you do start solo traveling, you will need to be prepared to answer questions from family and friends. In some cases, you may need actually to defend your choices. I have been lucky to have a supportive circle, but I have answered these questions from strangers.
Just remember, most people are just too scared to attempt this themselves, so they project their fear onto you.
Solo Travel Teaches You To Get Past Limiting Beliefs
One of the most important lessons I learned from solo travel was I could do anything.
These small moments when I realized, hey I am in Greece by myself, were really empowering! Once you get out there in the world, you see all your limiting beliefs slowly fade. After so many solo trips overseas, I started to grow a strong desire to live in Europe. I let go of limiting beliefs that it would be impossible for me without a European partner or job offer stop me from pursuing a move.
It was on my trip around Europe in 2016, 3 years after I had declared to myself that I wanted to move to a new country! I was ready to live in an unfamiliar place and let the opinions of others telling me it wasn’t going to work go.
The foreign country I would eventually move to was Germany! I loved the idea of learning a foreign language and found that one of the best places in Germany to live would be Berlin.
It took a lot of work and inner courage to get to the point where I was ready to do it. And I can attribute my years of traveling alone to what gave me more strength to make this happen!
All the courage I had gained from solo traveling was the final ingredient that helped me let go of limiting beliefs and make the move.
My Message to You
Writing this blog was something I should have started a long time ago. But, there is no place in my life for regrets, so I believe it is coming at the right time now. Besides, becoming a travel expert takes years, and when I started this blog I had a decade of solo travel under my belt.
I had to live the benefits and pros and cons of solo travel before I could write about them in this travel blog.
I grew a lot as a woman from the years of thirty to forty, and I want to share my wisdom. It can be so hard in this world to forgive ourselves for the things we did that didn’t turn out perfect. I have had to forgive myself for a lot of goals and expectations that I didn’t personally meet.
What I realized is that by not meeting those personal goals, I made room for other achievements. So, my message to you is to be kind to yourself, have an open mind, and book that plane ticket. I am always planning that next solo trip and urging you to take that first step to book yours!
Look at the accomplishments you have made, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Traveling solo might be just the thing you need!
Meghan Emcee says
Great read! Thanks for sharing!
Fab post Melissa. I love that you are honest about your feelings, it can be really scary to travel alone at first. I found when I first went on solo adventures that I tended to make new friends to share the experience with. I loved the sense of adventure, but I have never been keen of eating along (I need to get better at this!)
To be honest, I rarely travel alone these days, but reading this makes me pretty sure I’d be okay if I took the plunge (it’s just now, I’d feel bad leaving my husband behind!)
I related so much to this. As someone who has traveled alone extensively I still get the “but why?” questions. The reason was as you first said: I didn’t have anyone to go with and I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Love this post and all that it stands for!
I love this! And can totally relate to gaining self-confidence and inner strength. When you travel solo every single decision is yours to make, which can be scary but also empowering. And you learn that you can do it! Thanks for sharing your story 🙂
Andrea Peacock says
It’s so encouraging to read how much you grew as a person and let go of so many fears through solo traveling. It’s not something I’ve ever done, and I totally commend people like you for taking that plunge!
Good read. I also wrote one about solo travelling and yes I totally agree with everything.
I loved reading this! I also took my first solo trip simply because no one else could come – originally my brother was going to come with me, but he ended up getting a last minute job opportunity. The trip was all planned, so I just went anyway! And one of my destinations was also to a ‘honeymoon’ destination – I went to Greece, and specifically in Santorini I felt pretty lame at first. But then I met several other solo female travelers and realized I was just being ridiculous!
I really enjoyed reading your experience, and love the sentiment about being kind to yourself. I think so often we are so hard on ourselves when we don’t need to be. And congrats on making the move to Europe happen! What an amazing accomplishment.
Tina Krey Jacobsen says
I love this! I haven’t done solo travel myself yet, but I spent a couple of days alone in London and later in Reykjavik prior to conferences, and I can still relate to what you’re writing.. Eating alone was the hardest part for me, but I quickly realized – NO ONE cares 🙂 Keep traveling solo, girl
Elena Whyte says
As someone who travels solo, this was so comforting to read!
Great post! I think a lot of people can relate to it, it is nerve wrecking to travel to a new country alone, but as you have stated once you do it you realize all the possibilities in front of you. If you wait for someone to go with you you may never make it there!
This is such a great post Melissa, so nice to hear your feelings about it! I’ve only traveled alone once and same as you, the worst feeling was eating alone but at the end of the day, I didn’t care anymore haha Solo travelling is great!
thank you for this ?? I too can be very hard on myself and it’s good to start the new year with such a positive attitude
I loved this messages. I needed to hear that today more than ever. I’ve been really hard on myself and being in a toxic environment has put me in a spiral of self hatred. This message really hit home for me, thank you!