Go on vacation by yourself? There must be something wrong with you. Don’t you have friends? Are you crazy?
Much of American culture is predisposed to this type of thinking. If you do so much as eat lunch alone, or god forbid go to a bar by yourself you’ll be painted as an oddball. But going on a trip alone?? That’s just downright ludicrous! Wrong.
Traveling alone is invigorating. No, it’s more than just that… it’s liberating. It’s the freedom to choose your own path and fulfill a dream.
I went on my first solo trip to San Francisco last year. Since then I have been on two other solo ventures and am planning another right now. I know I’m not a trailblazer as many solo travelers out there have come before me, but within my own middle-upper class conservative American culture I’m on the frontier. I hope that my own leap into this world of solo travel will inspire others to do the same.
Click Read More to see my Top 10 Reasons to Travel Alone. What’s holding you back?
- Do EXACTLY what you want:
Ever go on a trip with friends or family and feel like your always compromising on what to do? Imagine a vacation where you can do exactly what you want to do every minute of the trip. It’s an invigorating feeling. Every step you take is because you chose to go in that direction and you’ll discover more because of it.
- Choose your own preferred time frame for travel:
What gets in the way of all the trips you’d love to go on? Often it’s the schedule of others. Everyone has different “busy seasons” and events scattered throughout the year that can be huge hurdles for you. Planning a trip on your own schedule is infinitely easier.
- Choose your destination:
Do you dream of a daring escape to Vietnam while your friends’ yearn for a cushy Aruba resort? Stop spending money on vacations that aren’t ideal for you. If you want to go to Southeast Asia but your friends aren’t adventurous enough then leave them behind for once and plan the trip that’s been on your mind for years.
- Meet new people:
People often assume traveling alone can be lonely and depressing, but this is far from the case. Instead traveling alone allows you to expand your horizon and meet new people on your journey. Whether you stay in a hostel or meet locals at a nearby watering hole you’re bound to meet interesting people that you’ll never forget.
- Improve logistics skills:
While this may not be the sexiest reason, traveling alone will push you to a new level of independence. Traveling alone will force you to handle all trip logistics from beginning preparations to the flight home. You’ll learn how to master flight deals, itineraries, and navigate foreign cities.
- Break out of your shell:
Have you lived a social life that’s centered around your own socioeconomic class? You know there’s more out there than drinking Bloody Mary’s at a Sunday brunch, right? Traveling alone will acclimate you to new cultures and gain greater appreciation for other ways of life. Who knows? Maybe you’ll actually find another way of living that you like better than our own sheltered world.
- Learn about yourself:
In our fast-paced world it’s often easy to distract yourself so that you don’t have to think about your life and what you truly want. This all changes when you travel alone and have new time and space to reflect on what life means to you and what direction you want to head in. My most prominent revelations come from my solo travel adventures.
- Meet other solo travelers:
Believe it or not, there are a lot of them out there! As soon as you start traveling alone you’ll enter into a whole network of independent travelers. You’ll gain new friends with interesting stories and connections in foreign cities.
- Ultimate freedom:
During your travel you will experience a freedom that you’ve never felt before. A freedom to explore. A freedom to be yourself. A freedom to break free of whatever stigmas exist in your current life. Explore your true self.
- WARNING – You will change:
Traveling alone will change you. When you return from your journey you won’t be the same. You’ll have seen the light of solo travel while others at home will remain in the darkness. Doing mundane things in your home city won’t excite you anymore. Friends will look at you with a bewildered stare as you explain your trip. Ignore them, convert them, or find a new clan that understands you.
In the end it’s all worth it. All of these positive changes will make you a better, stronger and more independent person. I will warn you that as soon as you get back from your first trip you’ll be itching to get your next one on the books. So what’s your first step? I recommend reading Nomadic Matt’s blog. Matt grew up in a standard suburban Boston society but discovered his itch for solo travel and has never stopped moving about the world. He gives great tips and inspirational stories to motivate even the biggest skeptic. Check it out and start your own journey.
I’m planning my next solo journey right now. South America anyone?