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I’ve spent the last year traveling solo on the other side of the world and along the way I learned a few things.
If you are wanting or thinking about going on a solo travel journey, here are the 5 lessons I learned from traveling solo.
5 Lessons From Traveling Solo
1. Things have a way of working out
Sometimes I can’t help but roll my eyes when I look back on how stressed out I used to get about the littlest things. The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from traveling solo is that things have a way of working out.
I give New Zealand a lot of credit for “chilling me out” but traveling full-time means that I can’t always plan for every thing I will encounter.
And you know what? The sky hasn’t fallen and the world hasn’t ended. And most things have ended up working out more beautifully than I could have planned.
2. Living in the Moment
The other benefit of not being able to plan everything all the time (a big struggle for an avid organizer) is that I’m forced to live in the moment.
I don’t have the time or energy to plan, research and organize everything about all the destinations I travel to. Sure, I’ve made some plans like purchasing flights and booking a few nights of accommodation, but for the most part I handle things and make decisions as needed.
I really never thought I could be this kind of person who isn’t always thinking and planning multiple steps ahead.
The reality is that when you are traveling full-time you are always taking in new information and the ability to think too far in advance is a stretch. Which is why I also have my essential travel packing list.
In general, I’m a lot less stressed because my brain is focused on what’s happening now or maybe in the next few hours instead of constantly thinking about the next few days.
3. You get really good at making decisions
As a Libra, I’m naturally not good at making decisions. I like to weigh all pros and cons before diving in. But now my days are practically full of big and small decisions.
The mental load you carry by being in new locations on the regular take up a lot of space. Your brain is considering everything from where am I going and how do I get there to where is my toothbrush?
When you have to spend your brain energy on things you typically take for granted when you live in one location, you have less time to worry about making the “right” decisions. And it’s true what they say, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
4. Introverts Can Make Friends Too
It’s true. You don’t have to be this super outgoing type of person to enjoy traveling solo. I am not that person 80% of the time. Sure, I have my moments, but typically I’m your textbook introvert and have plenty of nights where I put off the “please don’t talk to me vibe”.
But despite my introvertedness, I still make friends and have great shared experiences with others.
Being a solo traveler just means I get to choose when those moments are and I don’t have to feel guilty for going off on my own if that’s what I feel like doing that day.
More people travel alone than you probably realize. And you already have that travel spirit connection so when you want to make friends, it’s pretty easy.
5. It’s not as big deal of a deal as you make in your head
To be fair, I don’t typically have any issues doing things by myself. But I started small and worked my way up to international travel.
If you are just starting to learn to do things solo, try out local activities by yourself like eating lunch out or going to the movies. From there, graduate to taking a trip by yourself, whether it’s a road trip or weekend getaway.
I promise you can do it! But if you’re still nervous, check out this advice for first-time solo travelers.
Once I traveled to Portland for a weekend to go to an Ed Sheeran concert. I wasn’t able to get tickets in my city so my solution was to visit another city for the show. I also scored upgraded tickets to the front row because there was an empty seat! #solotravelforthewin
Having an activity you really want to do when traveling will keep you motivated and excited for your trip instead of scared of doing it by yourself.
Also, on that same Portland trip, I booked a city food and sightseeing tour. The people in my group were fascinated I was there by myself and we chatted throughout the tour. This is a common occurrence I’ve noticed when I travel alone. People are more inclined to approach and talk to me than when I’m traveling with others.
Whatever your reason for travel, know that you’ll always be able to meet others and make friends. Sure there are times of solitude, but now I can say I have friends all over the world!
My best advice for solo travelers is to just try it. Solo traveling isn’t for everyone and I accept that, but you won’t know until you try it. And who knows? You might just like it!
Leave a comment below sharing the biggest lessons you have learned from traveling solo!
Not sure what to pack for your trip? See these Travel Packing tips with Marie Kondo.
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