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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 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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