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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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