What comes to your mind when you hear that someone is traveling alone? Probably slogans like: “discovering oneself”, “finding meaning”, “going out of the comfort zone”. Well – I’m not going to write about these catchphrases. I’m going to share my down to earth point of view on how traveling solo increases self-confidence and self-centeredness.
Solo travel: truths and myths
Traveling solo means being a single!
Definitely a myth. Although many people treat both concepts interchangeably. When I say that I’m traveling somewhere just on my own, in 99% of the cases there is consternation and great surprise preceding the question: “Are you guys all right? You don’t you have a crisis, do you? ” I believe that when your beloved one allows you to travel solo, it’s a demonstration of highest level of trust. It also exhibits the enormous maturity of the relationship – after all, two individuals that form a relationship should be formed, autonomous, independent, and be with the other person because of choice and not coercion. I really don’t mind few days of separation – the relationship revives and takes on a different meaning. You can re-invite someone to your world, share new stories, experiences.
Travel alone means a lonely trip!
Not true. Both expressions are often treated interchangeably. Think about how many new people have you met when traveling with a partner, a friend, a group of friends? Not too many? I GUARANTEE you that when you travel alone you will get to know the whole mass of valuable people. Why? Because when you speak in your native language with your travel companions, you send a very simple subliminal message: we don’t want to meet other people, we don’t want to talk to you, we are locked in for interaction. When traveling solo you are not able to send such a message. You do not necessarily have to talk to someone and encourage conversation – you just do not cut yourself off.
Maybe I will get to know a large number of people, but these will be superficial relationships.
Sure, such relationships also happen. You may experience thousands of the same conversations (Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you heading now?). But the truth is that getting to know people in such unusual and fleeting circumstances can very quickly establish such strong relationships that will last for years. Example? Couple of years ago I’ve been woring in a hostel in Portugal. One day, two sisters from Canada checked in the hostel. They spent just 2 days in our hostel, but in this short time we have established such a close relationship, that two years later – when I was visiting USA, they invited me to Montreal. We spent nearly awesome 3 weeks together, having a great time. And you know what? In 2 weeks I will meet again with one of the sisters.
I will have to chill out and be flexible.
True, true, true. But it’s also strongly recommended. Why? Maybe that’s cliche, but we have no influence on certain things. Example: when I was traveling the Portugal I found myself in Porto. From there I had to go to Madrid, to catch my flight. It turned out that from Porto to Madrid there is ONLY one bus running, there is no other sensible means of transport. It also turned out that even when I wanted to buy a ticket in advance, all tickets for the next couple of days were bought out. Well, it happens. You can sit down and start crying, you can get angry and react with anger or aggression. But I treated this situation as a perfect opportunity to go to Salamanca, which I hadn’t yet had a chance to visit. Spend there one night and then go to Madrid.
I will boost my self-confidence.
SO truth. Such journeys make you feel totally independent, free and proud of yourself and of the fact, that you able to handle every situation. The possibility of traveling somewhere is no longer dependend on whether you will find a partner for the trip or not. Moreover, you will be amazed how many good and unselfish people you will meet on your way. I always come home very underpinned.
I will be the only one traveling solo.
Very unlikely. Working in many hostels, I noticed that not that often you can meet people traveling in pairs or groups. Why? For example, because when traveling solo you observe more, you pay attention to the details, you can get to know the place better.
And you? Have you traveled alone?