It sounds incredibly intimidating and the first few minutes may be extremely nerve wracking, but the overall experience is unbelievably rewarding. As a first-time solo traveler visiting three cities in 13 days, there were a lot of reasons to be scared. What I had yet to realize was how much I would grow both personally and physically (especially after all the walking I did) in such a short span of time. With a suitcase, a backpack and my phone equipped with KnowRoaming, I somehow survived my first solo travel journey with ease and overall taught me five important lessons.
1. It will push you out of your comfort zone
If you’re like me and get nervous talking to strangers, then approaching people to ask questions like, are you on the right bus or where can you find the street you’re looking for, can be quite challenging. Feeling lost and confused is inevitably part of the process. After talking to the first few people, you’ll grow a new sense of confidence approaching pedestrians and feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you finally reach your destination.
2. You’ll meet some pretty incredible people
When you travel with your friend or family, normally the conversation doesn’t leave the circle. But when you’re by yourself, sometimes you can’t help but blurt a comment about how stunning the view is or how exhausted you feel. On my trip, I took a 12 hour bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher where I had no choice but to sit beside a total stranger for the whole ride. But by the end of the tour, we still didn’t have enough time to finish our conversation. I learned to not be afraid of engaging in conversation with those around me because you never know what advice Patrick the firefighter may have to offer.
3. You’ll make decisions for yourself
When you travel solo, you don’t have to compromise on the best parts of traveling—food and exploring! I got to make all the decisions of where I wanted to go and more importantly what I wanted to eat. My biggest challenge I faced was following directions to these places. Fortunately, I was able to use KnowRoaming’s Unlimited Data package, to navigate to my destination with Google Maps whenever I needed. I always just had to be mindful of what I wanted to see next, making sure I had enough time to do everything I wanted, and of course how much longer I could hide my growling stomach before I needed a break!
4. You’ll have freedom, flexibility and complete tranquility
When I’m traveling with someone, I always feel guilty asking for a break and end up pushing myself to try and keep up. However, with the company of me, myself and I, I was able to check everything off my list that I wanted to see, take my time and really enjoy it at a comfortable pace. It’s such a great feeling doing what YOU want to do and acting as your own travel agent.
5. You’ll own and create a personal meaning to your experience
Yes it’s true, sharing is caring and being able to enjoy a trip with someone is a special kind of experience. But there’s something about exploring independently that allows you the space to be present in the moment, the time to reflect and afterwards appreciate what it meant for you that becomes an indescribable and unique feeling with solo travel.
Whether it’s a weekend road trip or tour around the world, I highly encourage you to take that step and travel on your own at least once in your life. Not only is it healthy and empowering for your mind, but a way to learn and remember how strong of an individual you are and act as a reminder you may not have even realized how much you needed. Where would you love to travel solo? Comment to share it with me.