According to Research, 1 in every 4 people claimed that they will be going on a solo travel journey next year (2020). The proof is in the pudding, traveling alone can and WILL change your life.
Don’t get me wrong, joining a tour group has its benefits too. It is comfortable, sometimes cheaper, and depending on the tour group, no planning is necessary.
Same goes for traveling with friends, they are comfortable crutches to share an experience with.
However, its those exact reasons are why solo travel is MUCH more powerful. The act of going out into the world and trusting yourself to take care of everything makes it profoundly life-changing.
So in what ways can traveling alone transform and inspire you, changing you into a more powerful person than when you first embarked on your journey?
Keep on reading to learn the life-changing benefits of solo travel, and of course, some tips for traveling the world alone for your first time!
When you are traveling with friends, you all have to come to a collective decision on where you are going next, where you want to eat, the direction you are taking when you are walking, and so many more group decisions. While this can be great at first, it can get uber tiring when you have to keep waiting for the rest of the group.
Ever been with a group of people that all want to do different activities? It basically feels like you are herding cats when you end up being the one that has to keep everyone organized.
With solo travel, you do not have to deal with any of that! You get to choose where you want to go when you want to go there, and how you feel like getting there. You can change direction whenever your intuition tells you to shift direction.
Solo travel can and will boost your confidence in many different ways that you may have not even imagined. You will overcome adversity and situations in ways that you may not have imagined, forcing you to grow as you adapt t to your new surroundings.
“There is something special about arriving in a new place. It is kind of like a “conquering”. You arrive, completely out of your comfort zone… and as time passes there, you become accustomed to the streets, the traffic, the people, the language, the food, and the way of living.
Eventually the place becomes less foreign as you realize you have now “mastered” and become comfortable to this environment, which at one time intimidated you. This means now it is now time to move on and discover a new place!”~ Julie French (Me!)
Being outside of the comfort bubble of your own home will challenge you in many ways that indirectly force you to GROW. There is no better way to organically grow your confidence than overcoming challenges that help you to grow.
I can recall numerous moments where I needed directions and tried to communicate with someone who we do not speak a word of each other’s language. Somehow through multiple failed attempts and excellent Charades skills, we managed to get me in the right direction!
If you are introverted, or just naturally a shy person, the thought of solo travel is enough to make you feel nauseous with nervousness. This is actually the EXACT reason why you should be traveling solo! When you are by yourself in a foreign country, this is the perfect environment to get outside your comfort zone and work on elements of your personality where you would like to grow.
Wherever you are, there are other solo travelers that are also in need of connection and a great conversation, or perhaps a short term travel buddy. These people may end up becoming life-long friends and will be more likely to meet up with you in another part of the world than some of your “home-body” friends from back home.
Solo travel can help you to push yourself in areas that you need to grow, and you can practice this easily on a regular basis.
Just like I mentioned above, no matter if you are shy or not, you can and will meet new people easier when you travel solo. When you are with your friends, they become a social crutch and you tend to pack together during all activities, downtime, meals, etc.
By packing together, you miss out on opportunities to meet some fascinatingly new people. I can attest that every single INCREDIBLY inspiring person I have met along my travels was met when I was traveling solo and not with a friend.
These people were serious game changers in my life and are part of my pivotal moments of growth during travel. I whole-heartedly believe this was the universe having my back and sending me angels to teach me incredible lessons.
One of the most common benefits of solo travel that you will hear many people speak of is the fact that you can go wherever you like, whenever you like to, and however you would like to do it. I want to dive a bit deeper into this and explain how this will benefit you in strengthening your intuition and spirituality. If you are a no “woo-woo” kind of person, hear me out on this first.
Do you ever get those gut feelings where it feels like your intuition is literally screaming at you to do or NOT to do something? If you are not aware of your intuition yet, you may just ignore it and think with your rational mind instead.
Here’s the thing, your gut always knows what’s up, and the more you are able to step into that and FEEL it, the more you can let your gut-intuition guide you in your travels.
When you are with others, you may go against your gut-intuition. I think I’m going to make up a new word now, let’s call it your “gutuition”.
I do this thing called intuitive walking where I just head out on the street and wander with no purpose. I turn whenever I feel like turning, go into any store that I feel drawn to step inside and talk to people whom I feel pulled to talk to. This seriously ends up being the BEST experiences!!
I find the most amazing restaurants, meet the most incredible people, and discover the coolest stores that I would have not found if I ostrich-ed my head into a map the entire time. Not only this, but I have managed to avoid some pretty crazy situations by letting my clairvoyance/gutuition/universe guide me. For REAL!
When you are with others, there are all these other opinions about where to go, which pulls you away from getting in touch with your intuitive guidance.
You can use this for your entire travels, if you all of a sudden feel this urge to check out a certain city, do not ignore it or overly research it, trust your gut and allow it to guide you to the most wonderful places.
I have now noticed myself getting really excited about this topic, and now feel that I am going to do a video on it soon. Keep following my posts as I feel the urge to create one soon!
I will start this point off with my favorite quote by Charles Cooley that speaks millions towards this topic:
“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am ” – Charles Cooley
When we are with our friends, we tend to act however we perceive that they perceive us. This is a subconscious instinct that we all have so we are accepted and fit in with our tribe. However, it can paralyze your growth and stop you from stepping into your true essence.
Think of when you are traveling alone, there is no one around to expect you to be a certain way, therefore, it is easier to take off the masks and be who you truly are inside. People that you meet along your solo travel will not know you, which allows you to step into your true essence.
You can be whoever you WANT to be and explore deeper parts of yourself that you may not otherwise have done when you are in the comfortable crutch of a friend’s presence. It is easier to continue in our old ways, but if we want to truly grow, we need to be able to sit with ourselves and just simply BE.
Unless you and your travel partner match up perfectly in your interests and travel style, it is destined to run into a falling out at one time or another. Even if this is a person who you know very well, think about the fact that you are going to be with them 24/7, including when you are both sleep-deprived, hangry, over-stimulated, low on money, and probably sharing the same bed.
I don’t want to come across as negative and say that all travel partners lead to drama, cause I have had some incredible travel moments with some travel partners myself. However, these are people I have met along my travels, so when I feel like things are beginning to not match up, I thank them for their company and go back to solo travel.
I can strongly say that I am myself’s best friend, and I owe a lot of that to solo travel for strengthening my relationship with myself. It is when you have time alone that you truly start to love and prefer your own company.
Sometimes you will find yourself in a city where it is harder to meet people, so you will do things like have dinner alone, or go on a solo hiking adventure. This may scare the heck out of you at first if you are not used to it, but it is actually a great way to meet other solo travelers and engage in cool conversations!
Eventually, you will get to the point where you are preferring your own company over joining someone for dinner who does not quite match your vibe. I turn down dinner offers all the time when I am traveling if I do not feel that I align with the vibes of the person who asked me!
If you are in a foreign country with a friend, chances are you will only learn basic words just to get by. Now imagine yourself alone in a foreign country, all of a sudden there is more of a push to learn faster! Humans are social creatures, so we will do crazy things like learning a language faster if that means we get a more human connection.
When I was recently in South America, I noticed that when I was in cities with a lot of English-speaking people, I would start to slack and forget my Spanish. Once I found myself in a less-touristy city with more Spanish-speaking people, I was forced out of my comfort zone to practice more Spanish with the locals!
Traveling can be tiresome and emotional at times, so sometimes all we want to do is just sit inside, sleep in, and read a book all day. When you are traveling with friends, the pressure of exploring together can get really intense, which makes you ignore your gut, which is telling you to rest.
Sometimes when I am intuitively walking down the beach or in a city, I will find a hammock or chair and just lay there as long as I feel like, it is these moments that really make me feel grateful for my choice to solo travel.
Do you have some cool ideas that you want to make into a reality? Perhaps a travel vlog, a program you want to create, poetry to write, learning to play the guitar, or even a list of books that you want to read?
When you are detached from the demands of other people, you are able to nurture more of your creativity and embrace these parts of you that you have been ignoring for a long time.
When I am alone, I tend to do more videos, challenge myself to do things that scare me, and take on new projects much more than if I have the distractions of a friend beside me.
I really enjoyed writing this article, and I hope you enjoyed reading it and benefitted from it in some way. Solo travel will do wonders for your soul, and help you to see the world in ways which you would have not otherwise.
Traveling solo can feel lonely at times, so check out my article on how to overcome loneliness as a solo traveler.
Love and Light,