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9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once in Your Life

travel solo

Traveling alone may be the single best catalyst for personal growth.

My solo traveling experiences have created quantum leaps in various areas of my life. And every person I’ve met who has traveled alone has been among the most interesting and awesome people I’ve encountered.

Read more about my solo travel adventures and the resulting insights here:
Why I Left My Job
The Joy of Minimalism: Traveling the World with Only Carry-On Luggage
11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

It may sound paradoxical, but the more you explore the world outside, the more you explore the world within. Solo travel gives you free rein for the exploration of both the external and internal world.

Sure, it can be lonely at times, but you meet a lot of people and get to know yourself when there aren’t familiar faces always around. And yes, it’s hard leaving your friends and family behind for any period of time. But it’s completely worth it and you will come back a better person.

9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once in Your Life

1. Self-sufficiency – You learn to be independent, do things on your own, problem solve for yourself, navigate on your own and become your own best friend. Self-sufficiency is an invaluable byproduct of solo travel.

2. You meet more people – When traveling alone, you’re forced to talk to more people (unless you just want to be by yourself 24/7, which would drive anyone insane). I’ve gone out alone plenty of times and I always end up meeting more people than if I went out with a group of friends. Why? If you go to a bar alone, for example, you’re not just going to stand in the corner by yourself. It forces you to leave your comfort zone and talk to anyone near you (which leads to the next reason).

3. You become a better conversationalist – Because you meet so many people when traveling alone, you naturally enhance your conversation skills. There is no one else who you can depend on to carry a conversation; it’s all on you. So naturally, you get better at starting conversations and less hesitant about approaching people.

4. You get comfortable being uncomfortable – During solo travel, you’re almost never in your comfort zone. You get used to the excitement, the adventure and the bold decisions. Though you’ll undoubtedly face inner resistance, push through it. This is where the magic happens. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Growth only happens when you push your boundaries. This is a big reason why traveling alone spurs so much personal growth.

5. Flexibility, freedom and spontaneity – You are in complete control of everything you do during solo travel. If you want to do something, there’s no one else to consult with and no consensus to be made. You just do it. Traveling alone gives you ultimate flexibility, a high degree of freedom and the opportunity to be as spontaneous as you wish.

6. You’re able to put yourself first – This is most applicable to highly empathetic individuals, but still applies to everyone. When you travel alone, you have the rare opportunity to do whatever you want, whenever you want and spontaneously follow your own intuitive desires on a whim. It also allows you to work on any personal projects or develop specific skills you desire while traveling. To use myself as an example, I get much more writing and blog work done when traveling alone compared to when I’m with other people.

Traveling solo creates a situation in which you can put yourself first, without worrying about hurting other people’s feelings and having to come to a mutually beneficial consensus about everything. If you’re at all empathetic, you always make sure that people around you are happy. This is good of course, but sometimes you have to put yourself first in order to really know yourself (which is the next point) and evolve. And don’t view it as selfish; when you do the inner work, you actually expand your capacity to give to others.

7. You get to know yourself – When you have to do things on your own and spend time alone, getting to know yourself better is an inevitable side effect. You become more self-aware (in a good way). You become more in tune with your emotions, tendencies, habits, patterns and the deepest aspects of yourself. “Know thyself” was inscribed on The Temple of Apollo at Delphi for a reason. It’s that important.

8. The lone wolf aura – There’s something beautifully enigmatic about someone who’s confident when they’re alone in a new place. I call this “the lone wolf aura.” People are curious and intrigued by someone who is genuinely self-assured. Solo travel cultivates your own unique lone wolf aura.

Read my poem “The Lone Wolf Aura” for a deeper look at this.

9. It’s a pilgrimage – You’re the hero, the star of your own movie. A key component of any hero’s journey is some form of pilgrimage. And it’s always been a crucial step on the path of life for humans.

Jesus apparently went to Asia for many years to hone his spiritual practices. Buddha supposedly ventured into the woods alone and meditated under a tree for a while. Ash Ketchum traversed Canto and Joto to catch ‘em all (I had to drop a Pokemon reference). The hero archetype is brought to fruition by some form of a pilgrimage.

What’s unfortunate about our society today is that there is no real guidance regarding this stuff anymore. There are no rites of passage in the modern world.

But that missing ingredient is why pilgrimages have been making a resurgence in the form of things like backpacking and world travel. People are exploring the world more now than ever before. So this phenomenon is becoming something like a nondenominational pilgrimage. Not subject to any rigid rules of what you should or shouldn’t do. It’s a personal journey. And the details of it are up to you.

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I hope this post inspired you to embark on an adventure of your own. It may take time and effort to line everything up, but it’s totally worth it.

I’m not condemning traveling with others either (I’m doing it right now for this part of my trip). However, I believe that everyone can benefit immensely from solo travel, even if it’s only once in your life. If you feel that inner calling, take heed and make it happen.

It’s all about the journey.

Live each moment to the fullest.

– Stevie P!
 

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Stevie P

  • It may have worked for you. That says more about who you are and nothing about travelling alone.

    I’ve been traveling alone for 2.5 years now. None of the benefits you claim came to me. Why? Because we’re different people.

    #1 Self-sufficiency:

    I was already self sufficient. I didn’t get more self sufficient because of traveling alone

    #2 You meet more people:

    No I didn’t. You might have. I’ve been the loneliest I’ve ever been in my life. See “Self-Sufficient”. That means I didn’t need anyone for anything. I’m shy around strangers so no this hasn’t happened. I don’t go to bars alone. I didn’t before I started traveling and traveling didn’t force me to start.

    #3 You become a better conversationalist:

    No, see #3. I think I’ve actually become a worse conversationalist. Since I talk to almost no one I rarely have conversations.

    #4 You get comfortable being uncomfortable

    I was already pretty comfortable being alone before I tried this. I was hoping I’d get better at meeting people. Instead I just crawled into my shell even more.

    #6 You’re able to put yourself first

    You wrote “It also allows you to work on any personal projects or develop specific skills you desire while traveling.” I find the exact opposite. All the personal projects I want to work on require partners but since I’m traveling I can’t have partners as we need each other to be in the same place. No, working remotely is not an option for me. That only leaves me isolated.

    Many projects I want to do require equipment and tools but because I’m traveling I have no place to store equipment and tools so that’s out as well.

    Similarly “developing specific skills you desire while traveling” is also not my experience. I’m trying to stop travelling so I can start taking classes. I can’t take classes while traveling by definition as I’d have to attend the class which would prohibit traveling. Even if I could take a class it wouldn’t be in my language

    #7 You get to know yourself

    Maybe. What I’ve gotten to know is that traveling alone is not for me and was not a solution to all the things you claim it is, at least not for me.

    I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to travel alone. I feel stupid because people like you tell me I should have had amazing life changing experiences. While I did get to see some cool places I haven’t gone through any kind of transformation. Instead I’ve found it’s just really really lonely, no fun alone, isolating.

    I’d suggest your experience says more about you as a person and less about traveling alone.

    • I appreciate your input. And yes, nothing is a one-size-fits-all template.

      I too feel lonely and isolated at times. But this is when I push myself to leave my comfort zone (instead of resisting). And in doing that I meet more people and spur the kind of growth I discuss in the article. The change comes from within. Traveling alone just creates a conducive environment for it, in my opinion.

      Traveling alone may not be for everyone. But at least you tried it.

      All the best.

      – Stevie P

  • Muneesh Chauhan

    I, Muneesh Chauhan, have gone through your post “9 Reasons why you should travel alone at least once in your life”. This amazing post inspired me to embark on an adventurous journey that I’m going to plan. Thanks a lot for assistance.

    • Awesome! I’m glad the post sparked something for you!

  • Victoria Muzychuk

    Hello Stevie, I too started to travel alone when I faced personal challenges. Coming out of divorce was difficult on many levels. It has now been a journey of 10+ years. I need to get away to see life ‘out of the box’ and learn who I am more than who I meet on the travel. Strangers open up world for you with their perspectives, and you start to ponder. I do not want, however, to make it an escape from the reality I may be not quite content with. This is my goal. It is to find the contentment and happiness within rather that seeking it outside the given. You’ve got to know yourself good enough to know what you need, whether or not it is a new destination far apart or a cheer on your child accomplishment on a familiar couch. Victoria/

    • Thank you Victoria. I wish you the best on your journey 🙂

      • Victoria Muzychuk

        Keep writing about your experiences, Stevie… Investments you make are invaluable when shared. 🙂

  • MikesRoadTrip

    Great write up, I so agree! I spent 7 months on a solo road trip from Phoenix to Quebec to San Diego once. It was epic.