I get it all the time: “That’s dangerous to be going alone.” Especially being a female. It’s sweet for people to express they care about my personal safety, but you can hear the doubt in their voice, as well. If we are being real, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you travel by yourself. We see it happen in the movies, real life, and in our thoughts. Yet, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong when you travel with others.
I guess you could say I am a “people person.” I am easy to get along with, make friends pretty easily, don’t mind having a conversation with you as long as it’s not all small talk, and genuinely love people. It’s all about being surrounded by people I can relate to, a tribe that radiates good vibes, and family. The interactions with people that produce laughter, tears, “chemistry,” excitement, nervousness, etc. keeps me alive. So why do I travel solo?
- I thrive on challenge and Traveling solo isn’t easy. You have to do all the research, make the itinerary, and the decisions all by yourself. It basically takes double the time to plan. Making all the decisions includes figuring out how much you will be spending. You have to budget a little tighter, as you don’t have others to split certain costs with. Putting in the work to figure these things out to me is like a fun (sometimes stressful) puzzle. It sounds pretty stupid, but it’s a challenge of proving to yourself that you can survive on your own in a different way than just going to college or moving out of your parent’s house.
- You’re not really solo when you’re on a solo trip. Think about it… traveling solo provides a wide range of opportunities to make new connections. You begin to realize that you’re not the only solo traveler out there. It puts you in this position of having to reach out to strangers. You may just be asking someone for directions, starting or responding to a conversation with the person next to you on the plane or going out to a bar crawl. You are immediately thrown into this social setting where being solo, is no longer a concept. I get anxious when I’m in a room of complete strangers or do not know where I’m going, but I also thrive on that feeling. It forces me to step outside of my little shy bubble. I guess you could say I enjoy the feeling of being nervous? LOL what kind of human am I? You go in solo but end the trip with relationships with like-minded people from all over the world.
- If I continuously wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere. I’m pretty sure we all have had those times when you make plans with someone and they cancel last minute or decide to bounce. Once that happens, it changes the whole scheme of things. You begin to realize that if you continuously wait for someone else to take your plans into action, then you’re going to be waiting a very long time. I am the one who is in charge of my reality and I will never get what I want unless I make the moves. I’m giving it my all.
- It’s not “soul searching.” I don’t believe in the little phrase of “soul searching.” Have you ever heard, the more you look for the positive, the more you will realize the negative experiences? Relating this to traveling alone and “finding yourself,” the more we go out into the world, exploring, trying purposely to find who we are, the more we are going to realize we don’t know who we are. Finding out who you are should not be a chore. It comes when you least expect it and when you aren’t digging for it. I’m just one of those people where travel gives me value. It sparks the action of self-reflection. Sitting on the edge of a canyon, quietly sipping my latte in a coffee shop, watching the sun set over the ocean… it brings me back to the place of knowing all the material things in life are not what determines a person’s value. All those things don’t seem to be so significant and my whole world can be so different. Our successes don’t define us. Our jobs don’t define us. Our social media accounts don’t define us. It’s about meeting people with different backgrounds, jobs, and perspectives. It’s about learning what in our life is important: friends, family, significant others. It’s about realizing what you are capable of. It’s about letting yourself – and just you – be vulnerable with all aspects of the world.
Yes, traveling solo can be quite lonely at times, but overall it feels like something is watching over me like sweet serendipity. Maybe because stepping out into the wild is dangerously wonderful. It’s a way of life. It’s a part of my life. I’ve got the time and I know that it’s worth the climb. I want everything the world has to offer and I can’t do it without the good, the bad, and the everything in between. When you travel solo you realize that there is beauty in the effortless. That is having the world at your fingertips.