Solo Travel: 5 Reasons Why it is Worth Doing
Have you ever thought of traveling solo? I'm sure that if you haven't done it yet, just the thought of doing it may make you want to back out already. But no, stop right there, because there are so many reasons why solo travel is worth taking. Let me share with you my top five reasons!
1. It refreshes your mind.
My mind was once clouded with the thought that traveling alone would be one of my worst nightmares because of the what ifs that go with it. What if I get lost? What if some bad guy steals my belongings (including my passport)? What if I get culture-shocked in that country? What if I get hospitalized during my stay there? These and so much more! But all these thoughts went away as soon as I was able to do it, because not even one of them happened! I realized that all these thoughts were just on my mind, that if I kept on thinking about them, I just might actually attract them.
When I first traveled solo to Melbourne, Australia sometime in December 2016, I never knew that it would be one of the best decisions I would ever make in my entire life! I went there for a vacation because my sister had a business trip there at that time. And since she worked during her stay, I had to wander on my own, with only my handy maps, cash on hand, and my big faith with me.
I visited a lot of parks and museums since those were the most popular tourist spots there. I felt so close with nature and I was able to appreciate the fresh air so much, just what I needed. All the toxicity that I had were all gone. I got the peace of mind and heart that I really longed for. Also, I didn't feel the need to talk to anyone just to keep myself sane and busy, because I knew it was the time when I could to talk to myself about what I really wanted in life. It was the time to think about the blessings I already received that year, and the dreams I was still about to turn into reality. It was a truly refreshing feeling, a hard reset that I needed.
2. You get to appreciate other country's culture.
My latest solo travel was just last year, when I went to Europe. I had a friend with me during my stay in Italy, but in my trips to Vienna, Austria and Barcelona, Spain, I had to travel alone. It was scary at first, but since it was already my second time, everything just felt like a breeze.
One thing I enjoyed during my solo travels was whenever I get to learn and appreciate other countries' cultures. It's a delightful sight to behold when you get to see how other countries do their thing. For one, the water in Australia is potable. In public places, there are drinking water kiosks where you can refill your bottles/tumblers. Also, honesty and discipline is widely practiced there. If you are to ride the trams, you can freely hop in and hop off without even tapping your card as there are no conductors who will monitor every passenger. However, of course, since I didn't have the slightest intention to get caught, I did what was right.
In Italy, there is usually no rice included in the menu because Italians are accustomed to eating pasta and pizza, which is so much different compared to the usual meals we have here in the Philippines. It makes one reflect again on another set of what ifs. What if we have this in my country? What if I just live here? What if the people in my country are as disciplined as them?
These are just examples of other countries' cultures that are different from what we are used to. It's really an exciting part to discover during the trip. Of course, preparedness is so important when you are traveling alone. Hence, it's always recommended to ensure that you make a research prior to your trip so you wouldn't be culture-shocked.
3. You grow and become more mature.
Prior to my solo trips, I was never unchaperoned. I always ensured that I had someone with me, may it be a friend, a family member, or a significant other. Making decisions was always easy because I got to ask opinions from them, or most of the time, they decided for me. I never realized that going solo meant becoming more like an adult by making decisions on my own. I decide which hotel I should stay at, what airline I should book, which itinerary I should include, and what things I should bring. It was something I have never done before and as soon as I was able to do all of it, I became so proud of myself. It was a very big achievement! It made me feel like I was so powerful and that I could literally do anything and could go anywhere on my own.
But of course, there are times when sanity and comfortability are tested during solo travels. There are times when it is best to just trust your instincts and have faith. During my layover at Korea, it was my decision to do a little travel around the city. I had no mobile data at that time since it was just a very short visit. I took the courage to wander around the city and just ask around for directions. As soon as I was able to reach the train station near Insadong, I never knew that it will be really hard to go around without maps nor data and just rely on asking around. Surprisingly, no one in the vicinity understood me, even when all I said was the word "Insadong." It was frustrating because first, I didn't know how to speak their language fluently, and second, I was running out of time. I didn't panic though, but instead trusted my instincts and just remembered the landmarks I went to so I could easily go back to the airport.
I would say it made me grow more as an adult because I learned how to deal with these kind of situations alone.
4. Your faith deepens.
One of the great things I love about solo traveling is that I get to trust in God more. My faith in Him becomes deeper, because I know I don't have to rely on anyone but myself and my big faith. When you are traveling alone, you will reach that point where all you could do is to pray and ask God what you should do and where you should go.
When I was about to leave for Vienna from Venice, it was around 4 in the morning. I walked along the small alleys with my heavy luggage in tow. I needed to reach the airport on time. However, as soon as I arrived at the dock at exactly the time when the ferry was supposed to arrive, there was nothing waiting for me. I started to panic because I didn't have anyone with me at that time and I didn't know what to do. There were a few people who tried to help me, but they eventually left because they already needed to ride the ferry they booked.
I was almost about to cry when I got frustrated and I almost wanted to give up. And so I prayed. I prayed to God to help me on what I should do. Then I got surprised that in just a few moments, help came. A Russian girl came to the rescue! She was going to the airport as well, though a different one, but she assisted me on what ticket I should get and which bus I should ride. And fortunately, I was able to reach the airport on time! I was so thankful. I knew then that I didn't need to worry because God will always be with me. And now, anywhere I go, I never become anxious anymore because I know I am and will always be safe.
5. It makes life worthwhile.
As they say, "life is like a box of chocolates, you'll never know what you're going to get." Much like in solo traveling, you will never know what could happen, you can only plan as much, but you will never get to control the outcome. This makes the trip more thrilling and worthwhile, because at least once in our lives, it's always good to do get to do something new without the need to worry about anything.
Imagine that once you're able to do it, you would be able to share your stories to other people, those who were once like you, who has so much doubt and fear. It is very fulfilling, something that you will always cherish as you go through in life.
So there you go! I hope I was able to inspire you with a lot of insights. Solo travel was also once a scary thought for me, but now, it's something that I am very proud of doing. I hope you get to do it, too. Prepare for it, just enjoy the journey, and it is going to be worth it!