First time solo travelers are always excited and can’t wait to just grab their bag and run away into the new and unknown. However tempting this might seem, rushing headlong without preparation isn’t the best way to get the best experience possible. You should always have a plan, but make it flexible and try filling it less with touristic attractions, and more with unusual and culturally specific experiences. If you do so, you are guaranteed to have a trip of your life, and you will also experience all the benefits solo traveling can bring.
There’s no better way to meet new people
Meeting people in a busy, everyday environment can be quite a struggle. Even if you are visiting with an organized tour, most tour schedules don’t leave much time to just go around and meet people. Travelling alone forces you to come in contact with a lot of people, and this will definitely help release social anxiety. If you’re anxious at first, it might take some time for you to come around, but it will be a worthy therapeutic experience. As soon as you get to your first destination, let’s suppose Amsterdam Red Light District, try contacting people to inform yourself about where you should go next and what you should do. If you’re lucky, some of them might want to come with, and then you’ll even have a personal local guide! Once you get to know the people, chances are that you might even make friends for life.
You’ll start appreciating the little things
Travelers can’t carry a lot of stuff because it’s both inconvenient and inefficient. During your travels alone, you’ll find yourself lacking a lot of things. You might miss a hot bath at home, your favorite local beer or even your stylish party outfit, but you will soon find that none of those are important compared to the experience of solo travel. You’ll come to realize that you don’t need a hot bath to be clean, but merely a shower with clean, running water. You also don’t need to drink that one beer or wear that single outfit to feel good and enjoy yourself. You’ll start seeing what other people find joy in and learn about different ways of living. Finally, you’ll learn to appreciate what you have, because not everyone has nearly as much.
Making you prepared for inconveniences
When you’re at home, chances are that you can easily find solutions to unpredictable problems. Your local doctors will help you with sudden disease, a mechanic will help you fix your car, and a plumber is just a phone call away in case of leaks or clogs. You won’t have that luxury when you find yourself alone in a different country, but this is the reason why you will have to learn to prepare for any possible emergency. Before you go anywhere, make sure to get a insurance quote tailored to your needs, especially if you’re driving your own car around. You also need to inform yourself about the police and ambulance numbers everywhere you go because, at times, you might find yourself stranded, and being a lone traveler at times like these isn’t a pleasant experience.
You become the boss of your life
Taking charge of your own life is possibly the best outcome of a solo traveler’s experience. There’s no better way to start seeking for independence and test yourself than to go on a travel adventure by yourself. With this in mind, try to stay as far away from your comfort zone as possible. A comfort zone is a place where nothing grows, and it would be a waste of time to experience your first solo trip behind the crystal doors of some fancy five-star hotel. Immerse yourself in the way others live, try to understand how they get on by, and maybe you will see the price of independence, and whether you are yet willing to pay for it.
Becoming more aware of the world we live in
Finally, travelling alone can bring you closer to the world because you get a chance to see it inside-out. It’s important to use every chance you get to familiarize yourself with new environments, new cultures, and different ways of living. Such experiences can be eye-opening, mostly because you get to see how things look different in real life than what you could’ve read in magazines or seen on TV. Everyone has their struggles, and meeting any culture from within will help you understand why that is so, and how people find happiness in things we often take for granted.
Don’t forget to take your travel journal with you and try writing daily inputs of your thoughts and experiences. Who knows, maybe this little diary can even become a best-selling travel memoir someday.