When I tell people I’m headed for Bali or Nepal and I’m going solo – there’s always the same question: WHY? Why visit a place you don’t know? Why go somewhere you don’t know the language or social customs or currency? Why leave the comfort and ease of your own routine? Why go alone?
For me, solo travel is worth trying again and again because each time I come back a new person.
To travel is to go on a journey. To move from one place to another. I don’t consider it “going on vacation.” I hope I never want a vacation from my life. I wanna be fully present and engaged every step of the way. These journeys are more like soul pilgrimages. They’re an act of my own devotion to my highest self, my own devotion to becoming the best version of myself.
Solo Travel Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
All the magic happens outside your comfort zone. Have you heard that? Do you know people that peddle around the same square mile driving from work to home to happy hour, never trying anything new?
Doing different things in different ways is also good for the brain. It increases neuroplasticity and causes your brain to fire in new ways. When this happens, you’re open to experiencing new insights and solutions to everyday problems.
For extra inspo, check out Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life
Being brave is like flexing a muscle. When you do it in one area of your life, it makes it easier to do it in other areas. Bravery is facing danger with courage. It’s facing the unknown, welcoming it and opening yourself to uncharted territory.
If you always know what’s going to happen you can’t get different results. And you can’t get different results by doing the same thing all the time. Living in the unpredictable future adds to the dynamic nature of your life.
How many times a day do you make yourself small because you’re unsure of yourself? Because you don’t know if what you want/think/feel will be received well? When you travel solo you kinda don’t give a shit about that kinda stuff. It leads to a new level of authenticity. Self-expression becomes more natural rather than contorted by fear of what others think.
Shows You Your Power
When you’re in the middle of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language, or bartering when you’re used to paying fixed price, you don’t realize the impact of what’s happening. But once you’re on the other side of it looking back, you see how powerful you are. You have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with your ability to move through the world.
This helps with depression and anxiety. Anxiety, in my personal experience, is often a preoccupation with SELF and solo travel requires that you focus on everything but your SELF. It challenges your status quo and stretches you in uncomfortable but joyous ways. Self-efficacy is believing in your own ability to accomplish. Solo travel is worth trying because it builds your sense of self accomplishment.
Appreciation of Your Blessings
What’s that saying…you don’t know whatcha got til it’s gone? Nothing shows you how much you have until you’re without it. It’s easy to take your life for granted. Even if you have a diligent gratitude practice in place. Abraham Hicks says contrast is what clarifies our desire and being without your daily conveniences really puts that in perspective. Being squashed in a local taxi or crammed in a city bus that smells of sweat and cigarettes really makes you appreciate your car. Car insurance slides from the BURDEN column into the THANK GOODNESS one.
New Homes, Friends, Connections, Experiences
I have friends in Australia, Bali, England and Sweden. People that I know I could call up if I was in the area and have a meal and a warm bed. There’s something about shared experience with other travelers. You develop a unique bond that lasts over time and miles. We can’t take our things with us when we go, but I believe we can take our experiences, connections and relationships.
The Feeling of Coming Home
Coming home feels like a relief. It feels like the most luscious return to normality. What seemed mundane when you left now feels inviting, welcoming and like you don’t know how you ever went without it. Winnie the Pooh said: how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Returning from solo travel is like saying hello for the very first time.
Check out this song, it always makes me feel like I’m coming home… Go Solo by Tom Rosenthal
Whatcha think? Have you tried it? Are you willing to?