We’ve all done it at some stage, whether backpacking through India or Asia for months on end or on the Train Ride from Sydney Airport to meet a friend from back home. Travelling alone can be one of the scariest yet liberating experiences of our lives. Here’s why:
1. Destiny is Ours
We are free to CHOOSE. We can go where ever, when ever and with whom ever we please. We are free to follow our impulses, make crazy on the spot decisions, take each day as it comes and follow the heart. There is no second or third person to drown our desires with ifs or buts... we just go!
2. Wandering Paths Meet
When travelling with friends we are sometimes forced to make sacrifices, or in nicer terms... negotiations. Don’t get us wrong... for some the sacrifice is worth it! There’s nothing more spectacular than sharing an unforgettable overseas experience with a close friend. However when travelling alone, we all reach the realisation that in this world, we are never truly alone. We follow our desired paths and on these paths we meet travellers that share our dreams and desires.
3. Hello Senses
As soon as the plane hits the unknown land we transition into survival mode. Where Am I? I cannot remember the language! Where am I going to stay? I can’t read this sign! How do I get to my hostel? We suddenly become aware of our surroundings. The People. The Sights. The Sounds. The Signs. Our senses are awoken and yes, we are alive!
4. Bye Bye Ego
Whilst on our solo voyage, we become eager to surround ourselves with others... hear of their travel stories, find out what to do, where to go. We no longer judge the person sitting before us because as a solo traveller – sometimes annoying company is better than no company!
5. Present Tense
We have no ties to home and no friends to re call your embarrassing high school moments. We meet others and those people know only ‘present’ you. They get to know you for who you are in that exact present moment.
Things can sometimes go wrong. Cancelled flights. Missed buses. Late trains. Hostels booked. Soon we learn to forget the little things. Lost money, lost wallets and stolen shoes can always put a spanner in the works. But somehow it always seems to work out! The more we travel the more we better adapt to these situations. We take a deep breath, remind ourselves 'whatever happens... happens,' and move on.
Soon enough normal life becomes mundane. We want that adrenalin fix that comes with arriving in a new city. With this new appreciation for Fear we realise that life is short and that days spent numb and bored, are days wasted. We begin to live our lives to the very full. We begin to say YES.
8. Common Sense
Travelling alone gives us universal skills – common sense. By travelling solo we are in complete control of getting ourselves from A to B. We learn to double check documents, research cities before arrival, learn about local customs, read body language and stay safe. We have no one to tell us when to board, where to go and how to get there.
9. Love Thy Self
The above lessons soon lead us to #9 – loving ourselves. As we open ourselves to the people and the places around us, survive the unsurvivable, gain confidence in our ability to get around in unfamiliar countries & form relationships with shared path dwellers we find peace within ourselves. We find peace in being alone. We welcome the challenges thrown at us. We feel invincible.
10. We appreciate relationships
This is the final and most important reason we travel alone. Soon we come to realise that we, as humans, crave companionship. We’ve shared experiences, we’ve said hellos, we’ve said good byes. When we return home to our friends and family we appreciated the lasting relationships. The ones that overcome distance and borders. It's the essense of life.
Written by: Katie Tobias
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