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This Is What Happens When You’ve Traveled Alone

This Is What Happens When You’ve Traveled Alone

Although you will get lost more than once, traveling alone is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. People who love to travel can testify that you fill your mind with cherished memories and gain precious experiences that serve you well throughout life. You not only appreciate other people and their cultures when you travel alone, but also develop as a person and have beautiful stories to share.

Here’s what happens when you travel alone.

1. You learn to be open-minded.

Traveling in general allows you to experience the unknown. It invites you to open your mind and appreciate what the world has to offer. When you travel alone, you are like a free ion. You are not contained within group mentality or restrained by group think. You are free to explore and debunk false assumptions of places and many other imagined barriers and judgments by evaluating them for yourself. You test your own beliefs and assumptions to ascertain what is true.

To make the most of what the world has to offer, an open mind is vital. Without it, you’ll be missing out a lot.

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2. You learn to trust yourself.

When you travel alone, you prove to yourself that you can take on challenges and deal with problems as they arise. As a result, your confidence in yourself grows and you trust yourself more. You become more forgiving and kinder to yourself. Even when you make mistakes or blunders while traveling, you learn to forgive yourself and try again more intelligently. You don’t allow mistakes to shatter your confidence because you realize confidence is one of your most valuable assets on the road.

Learning to trust and believe in yourself will serve you well throughout life.

3. You learn to face your fears.

There is no pill to swallow to overcome fear. Sorry, you just have to face your fears to beat them. When you travel alone, you face your fears head on, including fear of the unknown, fear of a place due to bad publicity, and fear of being alone far from familiar faces. The reward, however, is worthwhile. Fear stops controlling you. You gain back control of your life.

The net effect of overcoming fear and empowering yourself in this way will reflect in other areas of your life too.

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4. You learn to test your limits.

Seriously, do you know how far you can walk? How about food? Do you know how much food you can eat? And money. Do you know much money you can survive on a day? When you travel alone, you find you are constantly broke or short in some way. That tests your limits, but you grow stronger. You expand and not shrink. You learn just how strong, adaptable and resilient you really are. You finally begin to figure yourself out. It’s a rewarding process of self-discovery.

However, the cherry on the cake perhaps is that you will look (and be treated) like a hero when you get back home from traveling.

5. You learn to plan ahead.

When you are getting ready to travel alone, you imagine different scenarios and try to think of possible solutions for each one of them. You try to cover every possible likelihood you may encounter. While the perfect plan doesn’t guarantee a smooth trip (things happen on the road), it guarantees you are more likely to enjoy the trip. So, you learn to appreciate the benefits of planning ahead, which proves helpful throughout your life.

Importantly, you learn to prepare for the unknown and deal with unforeseen events. In other words, you learn life.

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6. You learn to speak another language.

Gestures and body language can get you far when you don’t understand a word of what someone is saying, but a few useful words and phrases can get you further. When you travel alone, there is no one to turn to. You find you have to open your mouth and let those foreign words trickle out of your tongue, no matter how poor your grammar and imperfect your pronunciation. It may be embarrassing for you, but locals usually appreciate when a foreigner genuinely attempts to speak their langue.

Besides, nothing builds a stronger connection and improves your foreign language skills faster than speaking directly with the native speakers.

7. You learn to make new friends.

It is often said that the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends. That may be true ordinarily, but not really if you love travelling alone. Even if you are shy, you will find that you have to build new relationships on your journey and soon discover it doesn’t take much to make a new friend, no matter how old you are.

A friendly smile, a gentle nod or a helpful hand—that is usually all it takes to initiate friendship.

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8. You learn to enjoy your own company.

Yes, there will be nights when you miss home and have a good cry on your bed. Yes, there will be days when you eat alone and wish you had someone to talk to. Yes, there will be days when you get lost and wish you had someone you knew well to call. But, you will learn to appreciate the company of strangers. You will learn to enjoy the beauty of nature by yourself. You will learn to love your own company. More importantly, you will learn to smile and be happy in life.

The reason you will smile and be happy in life is because you know this to be true: wherever you are in the world, you will always have yourself. You can never be truly alone, and no one can change that.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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