Although you may get lost more than once, traveling alone is a great way to find yourself. There will be new experiences around every corner, not all will be fun, but I guarantee every little thing that happens will be that much more meaningful. Once the dust settles after your trip you will clearer and hopefully walk away with a new found sense of empowerment.
These are some lessons solo travelers commonly learn while on their adventure.
1. Being alone can be overwhelming
At some point on your journey, probably right around the time you get off the plane in a new faraway place, you’re going to realize that you’re completely and utterly on your own. You might panic a bit and suddenly feel all the preparation you have done wasn’t nearly enough. A familiar face at this point would be a relief, but you know that isn’t likely, so you take a deep breath and push forward in this new world.
2. But You will also love being alone.
Don’t worry, shortly thereafter, you’ll realize that you’re completely and utterly on your own… and that it’s awesome! Your schedule is free to plan to your hearts content without needing to check in with anyone. Each day is a chance to get to know yourself more, and find the things you enjoy most about your own company. It feels good to be in control of your own journey.
3. You’ll learn how grateful you are to make friends…
It will usually happen in the most random ways. Maybe the local you stopped to ask directions, offers to walk you to their favorite food spot nearby. Before you know it, you’re trading stories about your hometowns, and laughing. You’ll let out a sigh of relief for making your first friend and familiar face.
4. And for little acts of kindness.
You never know when it’s coming, but its bound to happen. When you look painfully lost, and someone stops to help you find your way. Or an offer of a home cooked meal from the nice family you met in town. Little acts of kindness hold much more weight while we are in a new place. The little extra builds your faith in humanity and makes you feel a bit more at home.
5. You’ll achieve new levels of open-mindedness…
Without pressure from anyone else, you’re completely free to explore, and to try things you otherwise wouldn’t. It could be some things you’re afraid of doing, or being judged for, or the things you always said you would take time for but never did. Regardless what it is, you’ll have the opportunity to choose for yourself.
6. And new levels of humility.
Whether its realizing you need help sometimes, having your heart touched by the smiling faces of those living in terrible conditions of poverty, or simply realizing how huge and diverse our planet is; Traveling is an all around humbling experience.
7. You’ll finally know who you are when no one’s watching…
And you will quickly realize that person is whoever you want it to be.
You never really know what you will and won’t do until there’s no one around to witness it.
8. You’ll find out what you really need
When traveling you will likely figure out what is truly essential for day-to-day and what you can do without. You may be surprised by you how little you actually need to survive and even thrive daily.
9. And learn how to truly trust yourself.
Your instincts and intuition will be tested more than once and when you travel alone sometimes that is all you have to rely on. As you go you will get better and noticing your gut feeling and following it. With every day you will have gain an amazing amount of confidence, seeing all that you are capable of.
10. And that you’re a lot more resourceful than you thought.
Unexpected situations are around every corner when traveling; Whether its a lost passport, a missed train, or taking the bus to the wrong place. You will find the most creative solutions to problems you never expected.
11. You’ll discover just how readily you learn new things
Especially the really useful things like most used phrases in another language, some cultural faux-pas, and the symbol for the men’s and women’s restrooms.
12. You’ll learn about how you fit in, in the “grand scheme of things”
Time alone usually leads to more thoughts and introspection. Often we end up pondering the meaning of life and our place in the world. You will also find plenty of time to be an observer of the world around you from a detached perspective. Being so far from home in a new world will allow you to see things in a new light.
13. You’ll learn how just strong you are.
You will be tested, tempted, pushed, and prodded… and through it all you will persevere.
You’ll find courage and confidence you never knew you had in you.
14. You’ll learn what your limits are…
Seriously,like how far you can walk, how much you can eat, how uncomfortable a situation can you keep your calm in. You’ll learn how far you are willing to go to do the things you want to do, and when you should give in.
15. But most importantly, you’ll learn you can handle it all.
It may not all sink in until the flight home. When you think over all of the things you did, saw, and endured, and realize that you got through it you will be so proud. Knowing you survived it, being out in the great world all on your own will make you stand taller. If you can do that you can do anything!