For my high school graduation present, my mother used her savings and put me on a plane to London to stay with an uncle I’d never met before. At first, I was scared to death of the prospect of traveling alone. I’d never traveled anywhere by myself and I felt that London was a giant first leap. But I followed through with it and now, here I am, writing to you about the benefits of traveling on your own.
1. You learn independence and self-sufficiency.
As an eighteen-year-old who’d never lived away from home, learning to get around in an unknown city was definitely a challenging task. However, I learned how to navigate the Tube in London and the streets of Mambajao, Camiguin without any help. I learned how to budget my money and how to be vigilant about pickpockets. Ultimately, I learned where my limits were, how much I could trust others, and how to fend for myself in a foreign country.
2. You can do whatever you want.
By traveling alone, you’re not tied down to anyone or anything. You can make your own agenda, plan your own itinerary, and take your own detours. As a lone traveler, you make your own rules and break them too. This makes exploration so much more fun!
3. You’re less distracted.
When you’re not surrounded by people, it’s easier to really take in what’s going on around you. It’s so easy to miss out on something because you were busy chatting with your friend or texting someone you know. But when you travel alone, you really get the eye-opening effects of a new place.
4. You’re required to interact more with your surroundings.
It’s easy to get lost in your friend world or in a group, but when you’re traveling alone, you don’t have this option. If you’re lost, you have to find a way to ask for directions. This could require learning some of the language or approaching a local inhabitant. Traveling alone forces you to interact with the locals and your environment in order to find your way around and stay safe.
5. You realize you’re never really alone.
In each of my trips in the past two years, I have met people. Especially my solo trips. When you’re alone, you’re much more approachable to other solo travelers who are in the same boat as you. Be alert, but also don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the people around you. Chances are, while traveling solo, you’ll meet a lot of really cool people along the way.