I’m a huge fan of traveling. More than the sense of exploration, it’s the pride that comes with being in the moment of actual realization of dreams that fills my heart. Of course, combing down new places to see what it has to offer, watching people from different cultures interact, trying the different food (difficult for a vegetarian but not impossible), and most importantly, making the place my own, are some things that I can never get enough of. That is, if I have the resources to travel. One day, I dream. And then I whisper to myself – not in a creepy way, I promise – that yes, that one day will come.
While I have only traveled solo once in my life so far, that experience has been one of the most enriching I will ever have. There are multiple reasons behind this enrichment or enlightenment as you will call it. But in good time, I will share all of them in this section for you to read. For now, I shall make do with making a case for why traveling solo is the best thing you can do for yourself and why you need to do it at least once in your life.
Traveling in itself is a joy that not everyone likes to experience. For people who love traveling, the journey and the exploration bring them so much joy and exhilaration that they forget all the stress that awaits them back home. It helps them fall in love: with new places, new cultures, new cuisines, and new landscapes. It is this falling-in-love phenomenon that is most important in a person’s life, especially if the object of the person’s affection is the person himself/herself.
Traveling solo is a joy that helps you realize so many things about yourself. In addition to the exploration of the varied lands and cultures on Earth, it helps you explore yourself: your positives, your negatives, your strengths, your weaknesses, your capabilities, your handicaps! It helps you introspect about your decisions and about everything that you decided to bring into your life. It helps you improve your organizational skills and heightens your decision-making abilities. It builds on your strengths and gradually demolishes your fears. In short, it brings out a new you.
When you travel solo, you can be yourself. No dependencies on anybody, no thinking about what everybody else wants to do and no deadlines to adhere to if you choose to do so. You get to get up when you want to, you get to wander at your heart’s will and you can eat wherever you choose to. There is nothing whatsoever that will stop you from listening to yourself.
But are these external factors the only ones that will help you while traveling solo? No. That’s because, now that you are traveling alone, you have to decide all the logistics of the trip that you will be going on. And this will make you a better organizer. For how else will you be able to go on that trip if not for your awesome organizational capabilities? You are the only one responsible for any successful outings or any disasters. It gives you a sense of responsibility. You cannot blame anybody else for your disasters and it will give you the experience that will show up in your future endeavors.
Above everything else, traveling alone gives you a sense of peace. It makes you discover what you actually want. You can have conversations with yourself, weigh out the pros and cons of anything that you are trying to decide and arrive at a decision, knowing completely that that decision is yours and yours alone, pure and uninfluenced by anybody else throwing their thoughts into the equation.
People give me weird looks or reactions when I say I want to travel alone. Some say I’m mad to want to go solo, as though there weren’t enough people on the planet and around me to go with. Some say I’m courageous to do so; my trip to the United States was met with a lot of raised eyebrows that applauded me. And yet others simply smile at me because they are too polite to say anything about my thoughts. But whatever they say or not, they do not understand why I say so.
Like I mentioned above, traveling alone is not everyone’s cup of tea. Neither is it mine, because I’d like to think of it as a refreshing glass of the cold coffee that I love the most. My introvert qualities give me the opportunity to retreat into my shell as and when I feel like it. And whenever the situation demands it, I can do whatever it takes for some level of energy to deal with the situation as befits an introvert like me. So that makes solo travel the best for me, doesn’t it?
The most important reason why I prefer to travel alone (which isn’t possible most of the times, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) is that I am not answerable to anyone during this time. I have the utmost freedom to choose what I want to do. And that is something that cannot be replaced. Ever.
I wrote this article about 8 years ago because I dreamt of solo travel even then. It might have been a little premature back then, as I hadn’t yet embarked on a solo journey at the time. But I have had the pleasure to do so since and to enjoy every moment of the time I had to myself. 7 years ago, at this time of the year, I was strutting my way across the United States of America, and the mere memory makes me smile. I cannot wait to set foot forward to go on another similarly beautiful expedition – solo! I know that remains a renewed dream, but I know that someday, it will come true.
Until the next post, keep reading, keep traveling, and add melodrama to your life! 😀