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6 Reasons Why Solo Travel Is So Addictive

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6 Reasons Why Solo Travel Is So Addictive

The first time you travel solo can be a nerve-wracking experience. Possibly, for the first time in your life, you only have yourself to rely on. There’s the little experiences, like not having anyone to look after your bag when you go to the airport bathroom. Then, there’s the big ones, like finding yourself stranded with nowhere to sleep at midnight, because you’ve been locked out of your hostel.

So why exactly is this so addictive? Quite simply, because there’s something totally unbeatable about conquering challenges on your own. About living by the seat of your pants, choosing your own adventures, rules and schedules and being solely accountable for everything that happens. And that, as all solo travelers know, is the true meaning of freedom.

1. You’ll Learn How To Lead

You’re the director, producer and actor in the movie that is your life, but, in the chaos of everyday moments, this can be hard to remember. The second you embark on solo travel, you understand the true meaning of being entirely responsible for yourself. You’re in charge of every decision and there’s nothing more empowering than discovering how capable you are.

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2. You’ll Abandon Your Comfort Zones

Traveling solo is always an expansive experience, as it shatters pre-conceived concepts of the world with each step you take into the unknown. New doors open up at every stop, in a way that’s not always visible when you’re occupied with travel companions.

You’re more inclined to talk to strangers and you’ll notice more people will want to connect with you. Left to your own devices, you’ll try things you’ve never even considered and your ‘comfort zones’ will soon be a thing of the past.

3. You’ll Get To Reinvent Yourself

At home, you might be the shy one in your group of friends, the one who picks up everyone’s slack, the gardener, the computer whiz or the serious academic. When you travel solo, no one knows, or cares, about the labels attached to you. You can become an adventurer, a photographer, a farmer, a diver. Whatever appeals to you, just take your pick!

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You’ll discover things about yourself that haven’t had the space to appear in your busy home life. The freedom to reinvent yourself and grow, without any input from people you know or past experiences, is seriously addictive in the best possible way.

4. You’ll Learn To Live In The Present Moment

There’s nothing like gazing at an awe-inspiring, foreign landscape on your own and knowing you only have a few, precious moments to soak it in. You can’t take the landscape home with you and you might not ever return.

Without your friend next to you, chatting your ear off, you become totally immersed in the present moment. It’s just you and the earth. Travelling solo gives you the space to truly appreciate each moment, through your eyes alone.

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5. You’ll Learn How To Spot Trouble From A Distance

A more attuned ‘trouble radar’ seems to exist for those of us who love to travel on our own. You have to be more careful about your belongings, about heading out at night and about trusting people. Because of this, you develop the ability to spot trouble from a distance, before it enters your world.

This is an invaluable skill for future travels and one that’s carried over into your life in general.

6. You’ll Discover What’s Important In Life

 “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

In the daily grind of jobs, money, other people’s dramas and your own endless thoughts on it all, it’s easy to get bogged down in issues that seem huge, but really lack substance and learning potential. Travelling solo means you can forget about what day it is, what time it is, about fitting in with what someone else’s plans or talking about what’s going on with Susie in the office next to yours.

You can forget about expectations and even aspirations that take you away from living life, right now, into a future projection of it. You can enjoy the simple pleasures of savoring exotic food for as long as you want, basking in the curious smile of a local child and letting your mind run free towards the next destination.

When you return home, all those ‘big’ issues will have faded into oblivion under an avalanche of freedom and aliveness. You’ll view the world with fresh, empowered eyes. And that’s the ultimate addiction.

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More by this author

Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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