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Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Solo Travel

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Solo Travel

We’ve all been there — that knotted ball in your stomach, those panic injections, the extra malaria pills you buy at the last minute, just in case. Everyone tells you how brave you are, travelling all by yourself. And this makes you terrified. Well not anymore, folks, and here’s why:

1. You’ll never really be alone

Everyone else is solo travelling too, and you’ll find a whole dorm room of people jumping at the chance to book a tour together, to go for a drink, to play Uno. The real challenge will be finding a moment to yourself.

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2. You’ll discover more

When you go for those walks around a brand new town and stumble upon that cheap local restaurant with the best pho in town, or that hidden staircase up a mountain side just before sunset, you’ll be glad that a hungover friend or a distracting conversation didn’t stop you from finding it.

3. You’ll have more freedom

You want to extend your stay in an area you love and shorten your stay in the next destination? There’s absolutely nothing holding you back — you do whatever the hell you want.

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4. There are no arguments

Unless you’re particularly indecisive, you’ll never argue while you’re travelling alone. There will be no one to get on your nerves or push you off a cliff jump so that you land belly-flop first (ouch!). No one will demand an expensive private room with an en suite when you just want to get messy with 12 other people in one room. All the decisions are yours to make, with no resistance whatsoever.

5. The lack of safety is a rumour

There is a false belief that travelling alone is terribly dangerous, that solo backpackers should arrange their wills, settle their accounts, and bid their farewells before they board the plane. But, the truth is that when you’re alone, you’re more aware. You pack things like a medical kit and torches, you avoid walking alone at night, and you don’t take stupid risks. Solo travellers are a sensible survivalist bunch.

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6. You’ll become a more powerful person

Without anyone to hold your hand and walk you through it, you’ll be Miss or Mister Independent — figuring it all out yourself, booking everything, organizing yourself, researching the new language, the change in currency, the top attractions. You’ll realise that you are capable of almost anything. What a feeling.

7. You’ll push yourself

You’ll be more adventurous than you’ve ever been before because you’ve backed yourself into a corner — you have no choice but to meet people and make new friends if you don’t want to be alone the whole trip. You’ll also be more active than ever, signing up for tours, renting a bike, joining a group at your hostel for a trek into the mountains. With a friend, you might have just drunk beers by the pool and slept the week away, but on your own, you’re ultra proactive.

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8. You’ll make connections around the world

Sometimes, travelling with friends stops you from making that many new ones. But travelling alone throws you onto the paths of all kinds of people from all kinds of places. So make friends, swap contact details, and maybe you’ll even get a free holiday out of it at some point.

9. You’ll mull things over

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and throw up over the words “you’ll find yourself.” You probably won’t. Your personality doesn’t hide behind mountains in other countries. But maybe you’ll work some stuff out with all that time to think, or maybe you’ll discover a new passion and find your true calling in life, with so many new things to open your eyes.

10. You’ll gain new appreciation

When you’re home, in a clean bathroom with tap water you can drink, in a house made of bricks rather than wicker, surrounded by friends and family you love and eating a beautiful roast dinner at a polished wooden table, you might finally realise how good you have it. You might even feel spoiled. You might even want to give some of it away because you now know exactly how much more a small token can be worth to other people and, after relying on the kindness of strangers for your whole trip, you’ll value that kindness as the miracle it is.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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