I’ve been traveling solo for a number of years now, but it didn’t start out by choice. My traveling style has definitely evolved over the years, from joining large group tours or excursions, traveling with a small group of friends, spending one on one time with a significant other, loved one, or close friend, to planning solo trips. Having traveled somewhere every month for over a decade, to over 76 countries, my travel schedule, is quite expansive… perhaps even excessive. It’s been difficult to always find others to join me, due to limited time, finances, and other priorities and responsibilities. At first, it was sometimes uncomfortable (eating alone in a busy restaurant, for example), and there were definitely times when I could have used the company. There have been times when I haven’t been able to do an activity because the minimum number of people needed was two, or when I wished there was someone else to spell me off on a long drive. But more often than not, I absolutely love traveling solo. Here’s why:
- Time for self-reflection and clearing your head. It’s a chance to stay connected to what serves you and your energy. Experience the freedom to do whatever YOU want to do – embrace the freedom to sleep in, meditate, read, journal, people-watch… whenever, wherever. I love being on my own schedule and having the freedom to change things on a whim.
- Boost your self-confidence and independence. Being alone without being lonely takes a bit of practice. Admittedly, spending a lot of solo time can be a bit uncomfortable, or even intimidating, at first. Challenging ourselves to get comfortable with the uncomfortable offers chances to grow. Start small. Have a meal by yourself, or go and watch a movie (you won’t be talking to anyone during it anyway) before opting on a far away travel. Find an activity that you already know you enjoy and immerse yourself in the actions of doing it.
- Cultivates gratitude. When you’re super busy, have a full-time job, business on the side, are studying, and have family or relationship responsibilities, finding time for, and to, yourself is often a luxury. Our lives are typically filled with nonstop, fast-paced activity and stressors. Rarely do most of us take the time to slow down enough to be present, engaged and enjoy the small moments. Traveling forces you to live in the moment, to appreciate your experiences, and love your life.
- Get to know yourself. Being by yourself is an opportunity to explore more of what you like and love. Find out what’s important to you. What brings you alive? What beliefs are holding you back? Do you love reading all the info plaques at the museum, or prefer to sunbathe on the beach? Maybe both? Beer or sake? Sushi or perogies? I love going to a new place and finding the best Japanese restaurants, because for me, there’s nothing better than a really good bowl of udon. Go ahead…build your list of favourite things!
- Become adaptable. Traveling to different destinations and investing time to be a part of a culture with different languages and systems will increase your ability to adapt to various situations. Try new experiences, meet new people, and don’t be afraid to get lost on your own. Traveling by myself usually creates unique adventures – real life ones that just don’t happen the same way when I’m with others because I have only myself to rely upon when things go awry. It’s a great training tool on becoming self-reliant and resourceful.
- Learn and hone new skills. Traveling by yourself gives you the time and attention to cultivate new skills and hobbies. Many of my solo travels are now activities-based, taking new courses, workshops, or devoting more time to practice things I love in new places. I almost always connect to a yoga kula, and I’ve recently migrated into the diving and kitesurfing scenes. Explore, explore, explore.
- Meet like-minded people. Traveling solo creates more opportunities to meet new people and forge real relationships. Because it’s less intimidating to speak to people one-on-one, solo traveling can make you appear more approachable. You can also opt to embark on group travel opportunities (like course programs or retreats) by yourself, whereby you get the best of both worlds – time for yourself, and time with others (without the obligation to connect with them all the time). This is a great way to gain some travel independence on a smaller scale.
Don’t get me wrong…I love the time I have to travel with my friends and loved ones. I’m on my way to the airport later today for another couple’s adventure! BUT there’s something magical about awarding yourself the freedom to be alone…and happy.
Not sure you’re ready to step out on your own adventures? I’d love for you to join me in one of mine! Join me on one of my unique OMbiance Yoga retreats – each location has been hand-picked to ensure that it is both secluded, yet safe, leaving you carefree, to relax, explore, and deeply connect with the environment. Check out upcoming opportunities! Like this post? Please share! For more travel and wellness tips, follow OMbiance Yoga and join our mailing list! Happy travels!