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6 Reasons Why Solo Travel Is So Addictive

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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Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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