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Have you ever been in the situation where you asked a friend or family member to go on a trip and there is always the excuse why they are unable to go? They could say it’s too expensive, that they are too busy, they don’t have vacation available, or simply that they are just not interested. I know I have been there MANY times. Despite asking a ton of people, no one wanted to travel even with the destination not specific! Well, I learned very quickly that if I wanted to go on a trip, I was going to have to go by myself.
Why I solo travel:
If I had to wait for others to travel, I would never go anywhere.
As I am gearing up for my next solo travel trip, although a small little domestic jaunt, I always get asked – why are you going alone – won’t you be bored? Aren’t you scared?
Let me drop some truth bombs on you. In short, yes. To everything. I will get bored by myself sometimes, especially during meal time. And I am most definitely scared sometimes. But I cannot let that hold me back. I was terrified of traveling by myself, especially overseas. Navigating the unfamiliar without a person with me to talk it through. Public transportation, language barriers, rental cars, finding the Airbnb apartments. Who will I eat with? Will I regret not having someone share the experience with me? Is it scary walking to places by yourself? I have had all feelings and more MANY times.
But is it worth it? Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes. Solo travel is the best decision I ever made for many reasons.
I solo travel because I am terrified.
Fear – such a weird concept that is easily shaped by many things. Experience is a leading fear-creator. Last year was my first solo trip and probably one of the crappiest things happened to me: I got hurt. You can read that whole saga here. But despite that craptastic moment where I was paralyzed with fear and crying my eyes out while simultaneous wanting my moma, I was even more determined to go and solo travel again. I refused to let fear define me.
Another major influence is the media. It is perhaps one of the most pervading craftsmen of fear: both news outlets AND social media. The memes, the depressing stories of violence and terror, the ever-present hatred toward certain races, and just the sheer amount of info we are bombarded with on a daily basis incites this mass fear of certain places. Yes, sometimes those fears are valid but most of the time, it is hyped up nonsense. For example, one of my favorite countries I have ever visited was Montenegro and it was a war-torn country not even 20 years ago. Just use common sense and trust your gut.
Another social media influenced fear is FOMO – a relatively newly defined concept meaning “fear of missing out.” Seeing what others are doing and actively being envious of their adventures is hard. I have so many places I want to visit and so many things I want to see. Waiting on someone else who may not even want to visit those places seems silly. Or waiting on a timeline that doesn’t make sense. We can wait, wait, and wait and end up never experiencing anything in our lives.
I solo travel because I can find myself.
If you need to know anything about me, it is that I love my alone time. I love being by myself and just finding this weird contentedness. But surprisingly, not a lot of people enjoy that comfort. They love having themselves surrounded by friends and conversation. I think solo travel can really teach you to find comfort in your own presence. It constantly provides me with a lot of reflection periods. Sometimes even meditative moments. Where I find myself. Riding in the rental car (or public transportation), eating alone, those quiet evenings in the hotel rooms, or sitting on the apartment balconies soaking in a sunset. I think it is so important that everyone find a level of being content when alone.
I solo travel because it reminds me the world is good.
But solo traveling also helps you find an innate confidence. I have learned to trust my instincts, be firm in my responses, and engage in conversations with strangers. Just simple discussions can truly change your opinions and outlook on life. There is so much kindness in the world. I think as a society, we focus on the terror (i.e. instilling fears via media, etc. as mentioned above), we forget the inherent goodness of others. Not everyone is out to hurt you, scam you, or even terrify you. Some just want to share their culture. Some of the most genuine and heartfelt conversations have happened just by talking with someone while on a bus or a tour. That is beautiful so to me. Solo travel really pushes me out of the comfort and safety of built-in travel companions and forces those exchanges.
I solo travel because I want adventure my way.
In the most selfish way, I love solo travel because I can do exactly what I want when I want. When I am home, I hate making decisions on what to do or where to eat, but when I am traveling, I relish in the decision making. If I want to go to Paris and skip the Louvre, I will. If I want to sleep a little late instead of getting up at dawn to explore, I can. I love that I can walk as fast or as slow, as far as I want, or not at all. I can stop and grab food in the middle of the afternoon. As a society, we are told that being selfish is bad. But why is that? Putting yourself first is so important. Maybe not all the time, but self-love and nurturing that independence, in my humble opinion, is pretty vital.
Solo travel is not for everyone. But hear this – never let fear or loneliness be a defining factor in life. Let is be a learning experience. Learning the important lesson that the world is inherently good, that you can push through the anxiety, overcome the injury, get lost and find your own way – that is the beauty of solo travel. You become a sum of all of these parts.
Let me know if your thoughts on solo traveling! I want to know if you love it, hate it, whatever you want!
PS: Read more about how solo travel develops the real you from a fellow traveller here!
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Wow this was so insightful! I thought that everyone who solo travelled just couldn’t find someone to travel with them (which is such a struggle for me lol). Thanks for educating me about the other reasons :).
a lot of it is lack of finding someone though. ? but the other reasons still stand. ?
I love solo travel – and I did start going solo because I had a sudden week off between jobs, but these days I choose to go solo most of the time. I love not being held back on seeing what I want due to things like conflicting schedules or having to cater to other people’s tastes 🙂
YES! traveling with others is fun but I love being able to be the boss! ??
My first solo travel was kind of forced. I made plans with a friend to go to Buenos Aires and she backed out at the last minute. Well, I went by myself because I didn’t want to lose my money. People thought I was nuts. But, I had a great time and it was an experience that pushed me to travel even more. Traveling solo has some cons but I believe the pros are greater.
Agree times a million. It is not all sunshines and rainbows but it has been one of those cliche, life-altering epiphanies for me! ?
Good on ya! These are all great reasons to venture out and explore. I love travelling by myself, and I like travelling with others. I like to mix it up a bit. Especially because I find that when I travel by myself, I tend to “play it safe” although I try to branch out! Great list and happy travels!
I agree- I love traveling with others but I relish in the opportunities to forge my own trips. Especially if it means I don’t have to wait on anyone else to decide to go. I think if you get the courage to travel solo once, it makes everything else seem like a piece of cake. ❤️
Girl, preach! I love solo and group/couple travel, but you’re so right about why solo travel is great. I like knowing I can do what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it! And I actually sometimes enjoy having a meal alone with a nice book, even in public when others might be embarrassed or lonely. Keep on keeping on, Sami!
Oh thank you Kristin! ❤️
Totally agree! I have been asking all my girlfriends about traveling with me and they never have time. Although I am scared to travel alone, I might just bite the bullet and do it!
Definitely start out with a small trip somewhat local and go from there! I did a domestic trip across the US by myself before I did the big international one! ❤️
What a beautiful piece! Solo travel is truely amazing. I’d love for more ladies to try it out.
I so agree – I know that we as a female have so many valid reasons to be fearful; cat-calling and other forms of harassment is just the tip of the iceberg. But I like to be of the mindset that people are inherently good so I try to not let fear be a deciding factor sometimes. It is my hope other women start to live that way!!
Great post!! This is very encouraging. I definitely want to solo travel, but I have those same fears that I need to get over.
I always recommend that you start off small and somewhere local. It’s a great confidence booster before you venture into other countries. ❤️
🙂 That is definitely something I can do until I’m ready to venture out!
Solo travel is my jam! I freaking love it so much. Sure, it can get a little lonely at times, especially if you’re gone for a long stretch. But the freedom of doing whatever you want, when you want, is everything!
I live by that life mantra “I do what I want.” Glad we are of the same accord – I personally love being selfish every now and then! ?
Very heartwarming and insightful. Sometimes people/others dont share the same passion or love as you. So it is better to do it alone. Experience – good or bad is then also yours, which is liberating at the same time
Oh your comment is so brilliant and lovely! Thank you! ❤️
I love this. Thank you for bearing your true self in this post and opening up. I think we all have these same feelings. It is awesome that you are able to acknowledge and overcome these fears! Cheers to you and many safe travels.
Ah thank you Michelle! You are so kind. ❤️
All amazing and inspiring reasons to travel solo. Thank you for this honest post, Sami! Power to you!
Glad you loved it! Thank you!
Travelling solo is a lonely idea for me as I don’t like to eat or roam around all by myself. I feel I should have at-least a friend with me with whom I can make crazy memories. Sometimes travelling in groups can be bothersome as you have to listen to everybody catering to everyone’s needs and then you might feel that solo travelling would be so nic.
Just as much as I love solo traveling, I am inherently aware that it is not for everyone! There is just a certain level of comfort knowing that you have a friend with you and that you have someone to lean on if necessary so I completely understand. That is the beauty of travel though – we get to make it whatever we want! ❤️
This post is just PERFECT! The biggest struggle is finding someone to be able to travel with. So hard!! I’ve been dying to do a solo trip, and I’m actually going to (heading to Bermuda!) next month. So excited! Thank you so much for sharing <3
Oh I am so glad you enjoyed it. I am so jealous of your Bermuda jaunt but I do hope your trip is fantastic! ❤️
Good for you and facing your fears and traveling solo. You are inspirational…seizing the opportunity and creating your own adventures. While I travel with my partner, I truly celebrate the women who go on the road solo.
It was so daunting but I am glad I was able to do it as well! Couldn’t imagine ever not doing it. But I truly love that you have found comfort in traveling with your partner. That is the beauty of travel though – we get to make it whatever we want! ❤️
I cannot agree with you more, especially when you wrote that you travel solo because the world is good. I have travelled solo for more than 90% of my trips, and I have come across absolutely wonderful specimens of humankind. People who are kind, helpful, and want to do everything they can to make you feel welcomed in their town/city/country.
I think prejudice is such an easy action these days so I try to avoid it as much as possible and show kindness to everyone. I wish more people did and got to experience the innate goodness of people.
Love this post! I used to travel solo quite a bit because it meant I could see the stuff I wanted to and wasn’t waiting around for other people that may or may not want to come with me but haven’t traveled solo for a while! I really want to get back into it
I am of the belief that any travel is the best travel! I hope you get to take another solo trip, soon!