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12 Reasons You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

12 Reasons You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

Although it’s great to spend vacations seeing the world with family, friends, or a lover, traveling alone can also be completely incredible. A solo adventure has the potential to be life-changing. Here are 12 reasons you should travel alone at least once.

1. You Will Become Empowered

When you realize just how resourceful you can be when you have nobody else with you, it’s empowering. As you discover tricks to successfully navigate through unfamiliar territory and learn how to have a great time without the company of others, your confidence soars. Learning how self-sufficient you are can give you the boost of inspiration and motivation needed to do amazing things in other areas of your life.

2. You Will Cure Your Travel Bug

If you’ve had a case of the travel bug, you know it can strike any time, and the only way to cure it is to succumb to it and travel. You know the feeling when you get it…you absolutely crave to get out and discover new places. When you’re consumed by wanderlust, you can easily argue against more “rational” purchases such as new furniture, in favor of funding your next adventure. When you travel alone, you can cure your travel bug as soon as you’re afflicted; you don’t have to wait for others to clear their work schedules and book flights. If the travel bug strikes and you’re prepared to go alone, you can leave whenever it’s convenient for you.

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3. You’ll Learn To Thrive Outside Your Comfort Zone

Traveling leads us to unfamiliar places and situations. When you travel, there’s the feeling of being out of your comfort zone, and when you’re traveling solo, that feeling is completely intensified. A solo trip will expose you to a lot of new experiences outside your comfort zone. You may surprise yourself by not just surviving, but thriving outside your comfort zone. Spending time outside your comfort zone is essential for growth.

4. You Will Learn To Be Decisive

When traveling with a partner or a group, every idea can be bounced off someone else. When you travel alone, you will learn to be decisive; you will be making every decision alone. From where to eat, to what time to wake up, to what sights to see, and which airline to use, traveling solo forces you to rely on yours truly. As you realize you can make good choices without help from others, you will likely trust your instincts more, and this new found self-assurance and confidence will be helpful in many areas of your life.

5. You Recharge

Traveling alone will allow you to get the rest and relaxation you desire. When you travel solo, you don’t have to worry about anybody snoring or hogging the blankets. You don’t need to set your alarm if you don’t want to; there are no early breakfast dates with family and friends. Taking time to nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the ways you recharge best can replenish and inspire you.

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6. You Light Your Fire

A trip alone can ignite your creativity. Spending time alone with an open mind can be exactly what you need for your imagination to soar. Your enthusiasm and passion for life may sky-rocket from your awesome adventure.

7. You Will Meet New People

If you enjoy meeting new friends, here’s your chance; you will likely find some when traveling alone. Since you won’t be focused on talking to anyone you know, you’ll be more likely to strike up conversations with strangers. Meeting people from different backgrounds opens our minds, expands our world, and can inspire us a lot. You may meet some amazing locals or other adventurers like yourself; either way you’re bound to make some new friends during your journey.

8. You Discover

Along with discovering the awesomeness of this great big world, traveling solo will give you ample time for self-discovery. When you’re alone, you can give yourself time for reflection, and can really think about what your purpose, priorities, and passions are. Being away from everyone who knows you can be a strange feeling. When it’s just you, you can get rid of any act you put on for others, and you can bare your soul. You and your naked soul can then figure out what really matters to you in life.

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9. You Increase Your Compassion

Traveling alone, with no distractions, will enable you to really see the world around you and make you realize what you take for granted. First hand experience in another area of the country or world will open your eyes to the disparities between groups of people. Along with increasing your compassion for others, your self-compassion may also improve. When you’re alone, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been passed up repetitively for promotions at work, or if you’re struggling with something in your personal life. When you’re surrounded by strangers, nobody judges you for your perceived “failures,” because they only know what you want to tell them. Being alone gives you opportunities to work on being kind to yourself and practice self-acceptance. Instead of being constantly reminded of your “shortcomings”, you can remember why you’re wonderful and deserve to be loved.

10. You Can Do Anything You Want To

When you travel alone, you don’t need to spend time doing anything you don’t want to do. Since it’s just you, you can choose everything. You can decide how scheduled or unscheduled you want your trip to be, visit sites you’ve always longed to see but your family and friends haven’t, and set the pace as fast or slow as you desire. You can be as adventurous as you crave to. You can choose to hang out at the main tourist spots or go completely off the beaten path. This world is your playground, and the way you enjoy it is all up to you!

11. You Will Learn to Enjoy Being Alone…

You just may learn that you are damn good company!

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12. …Yet Miss the One You Love

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Spending time apart from your significant other occasionally can rejuvenate your relationship. When couples allow themselves the freedom to pursue their own dreams and nurture their separate interests at times, they are less likely to feel smothered by the relationship. By spending some time exploring the world on your own, you will hopefully be reminded of why you love your significant other, and will have amazing stories to share when you reconnect.

I love to travel; my travels have been some of the best times of my life. I’ve journeyed away from home alone twice (for 10 weeks and 5 weeks) and have met awesome friends I still keep in touch with years later. I learned about myself, my priorities, and my dreams, by taking time to reflect while traveling solo. Both times, I came home completely refreshed and more excited about life than ever.

Traveling alone can help you realize how strong and capable you are. As with any other adventure, it’s important to do your research and travel safely. Beyond that, pack your bag and go explore! The world is waiting!

Tips to Successfully Travel Alone:

  • Do your homework. Research which areas are generally safe for solo travelers, and which areas to avoid.
  • Whenever possible, explore in the daylight.
  • Tell someone from home where you’re going to be each day. Check in with loved ones at predetermined times.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Dress to avoid standing out. Now’s not the time for you to be showy. You don’t want everyone to know you’re by yourself.
  • Book your lodging for your arrival night in advance.
  • Update your list of important phone numbers and carry your phone with you.
  • Before traveling to a foreign country, visit a travel medicine physician to receive education and recommended medications specific for your intended destination.
  • Look at the weather forecast. Don’t make the mistake I did and pack a ton of cold weather gear when you’re visiting a region having record highs.
  • Record your thoughts and experiences.

Featured photo credit: Nirvana/ePi.Longo via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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