“In each of us dwells a wanderer, a gypsy, a pilgrim. The purpose here is to call forth the spirit. What matters most on your journey is how deeply you see, how attentively you hear, how richly the encounters are felt in your heart and soul.” – Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage
You want to travel but your friends don’t have the time, the money or simply just don’t share your fascination with the world. So what are you meant to do? Stay at home, wait until one of them changes their mind or just go anyway?
It may seem like a scary concept but travelling solo is actually on the rise for women, and there’s never been a better time to just get up and do it. If your friends are all coupled up and your partner hates flying then there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from travelling alone.
Travelling solo really does broaden the mind and allow you to live your life day by day, enjoying each moment without having to worry about the next. It allows you those moments of solitude to just be, and those feelings of anticipation and excitement as you enter a country for the first time, never cease to amaze.
So, why go solo?
One of the biggest reasons that women travel is because they enjoy time by themselves, others are because they have decided to be brave, want to follow their own schedule and want to meet new people as they do it.
Travelling solo isn’t just about the external journey, getting from A to B; it’s also a voyage of personal discovery, and you really get to know yourself inside out when you’re alone in the middle of nowhere with no one else except you to figure things out. You’ll find out what really makes you tick, you’ll overcome your fears and you’ll find out what truly makes you happy as you spend hours contemplating life on the road. Travelling is food for the soul and allows you to get back in touch with who you are no matter what stage of life you are in. It puts everything into perspective and makes you appreciate the smaller things in life (like hot water), and you’ll soon realise what you can live without, and how many pairs of shoes you really need. It’ll teach you to be self-sufficient and to look after number one. You’ll become so resourceful that you will even amaze yourself. You’ll soon realise what is important and what isn’t and you’ll come back with a new perspective on the world with more meaningful relationships and possibly even a few romantic ones.
Travel is ageless, no matter how old you think you are, and gives you an education about the world that you would never discover from text books. You’ll learn about the country’s history and traditions and immerse yourself within the local culture, and the more you learn, the more you’ll start to see the world in a completely different way to the image that’s portrayed.
You’ll soon break down any barriers you ever had about talking to random strangers. Travellers are one big community and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make new friends. Even if you’re an introvert, travel brings you out of your comfort zone and you’ll find yourself relating to people from all different backgrounds, cultures and ages, building up your own couchsurfing network of people around the world.
Do you need to be the most confident person in the world? Absolutely not. Travellers come in a variety of shapes and sizes; shy, funny, loud or just odd. The best thing about travelling alone is that you get the chance to start over; you can define yourself, be who you want to be and no one is any the wiser. If you leave a shy wallflower, you are guaranteed to come back with more self-confidence than you ever thought you had, and be ready to take on the world – literally!
You’ll discover the beauty of being comfortable in your own skin and that alone is priceless. You’ll soon be pushing those boundaries, trying new activities, and staying in places that you never thought you would. And the best part? You’ll be so flexible travelling solo that you can change your plans at the last minute, stay longer if you want to or go on a mini-adventure with the group of girls you met the previous night. You’ve got the freedom to do whatever you want!.
In fact, travelling solo is just so awesome that once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder why you never did it sooner!
What if you’ve never travelled before?
Travelling alone to a country for the first time may seem a little daunting, but the reality is that it really isn’t as frightening as you may think. Many people choose to travel solo for a variety of reasons but the biggest one has to be for the freedom of being able to go wherever they want and meet whoever they want.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while and just need that extra push to do it.
Well, here’s a few reasons to take that plunge:
- You feel like you’re stuck in a rut.
- You have a friend abroad who keeps telling you to come and visit them.
- You’ve just been made redundant.
- You want to see the Seven Wonders of the World.
- You received a windfall and prefer to spend it on creating new memories.
- You’ve just split from your partner.
- You want to follow the sun around the world.
There’s so many different reasons so grab that opportunity and seize the day. The hardest thing about solo travel… is making the decision to do it!
If you like what you just read, find out more in the book A Female Guide to Solo Travel