When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Exactly a year ago, I challenged myself to go on a solo-trip in Europe. I consider it a brave move as I always depend my decision onto others. But I got tired of holding-back my plans because others just can’t come with me. It ain’t easy and I was hesitant at first until I realized that it is something that I have been wanting to do and I can no longer wait to make my dreams turn to reality. And I finally did it last year! Traveling alone is totally liberating and completely rewarding. Indeed a life-changing experience.
How did it help me?
1. It made me become a more organized person. When you travel solo, you have no choice but to arrange everything by yourself, with no one to rely on. From booking plane tickets, hotels, to creating your to-do list and even preparing all the required documents for your trip. You can’t afford to miss a thing. It also teaches you to stick on your schedule – waking up early for the first train ride, lunch at exactly 12 noon, making sure to go back to the hotel before the sun sets, and go to bed at 10pm. And soon you will realize that you have already applied it not just when you travel but also in your daily life.
2. It taught me that the best travel companion I can have is myself. I’m often used to hearing this before, but yes this is absolutely true. Traveling solo is not lonely at all and I realized that it is less stressful to go on a solo trip. Why? Because all the decisions are yours and you are free to do things you like. Getting lost is not a problem but rather an added experience (no one’s gonna blame you for a wrong decision anyways!). You can eat all you want, no need to ask for other’s choices. Planning for a solo trip is now easier for you than going with a group.
3. Traveling alone helped me reconnect to the world. It is something that all of us should do once in a while – to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect ourselves to the reality and appreciate the elements around you with no distractions. Traveling with no internet access forces you to enjoy your surroundings. Breathe fresh air, listen to the noise of children playing on the streets, walk your way to the park, to interact with new people and a lot more.
4. Make new connections, meet new friends. Of course, traveling solo does not mean you have to isolate yourself from everyone, it is also a good time to make and meet new friends. Exchanging ideas with others will help you gain new knowledge and could also help you on your trip. Making new friends is part of the adventure!
5. I learned how to better manage my budget. Money is something that all of us need to consider before traveling. When I was younger, it is something that always hinders me from planning a trip. I thought that I needed plenty of money to be able to go on a trip but I was wrong. Traveling does not need to be luxurious for you to enjoy. There are many ways on how to save money while traveling. Why would you need to book a 5-star hotel if majority of your time is spent outside? Why eat in a fine dining restaurant when you can enjoy the street food to have a taste of the authentic cuisine served by the locals in a cheaper price. These are just some examples on how I managed to travel within a low-budget. Actually, this also applies to my daily life.
6. It boosted my self-confidence. After I went for a solo-trip in Europe I never got scared of making an independent decision. I learned to trust and believe myself. It gave me the confidence to get out of my comfort zone. It is when I tend to forget the language barrier and talking to a local or foreigner became part of my everyday, riding trains all over the world, walking myself through the unfamiliar streets and a lot more things that I can do now confidently. Good thing is that whatever challenge life gives you, you will be reminded that you have handled your own conquering the world – it will be easier for you to put things in perspective.
7. It gave me total peace of mind. Being alone gives you the opportunity to reflect on life, on your future goals, to think of your decisions, your long-term plans, to escape and forget all the worries. It’s also important that you refresh your mind to help you keep things in perspective.
8. It made me become appreciative of the things I tend to ignore. While on a trip, there comes a point where you suddenly miss your usual routine. Waking up early to go to office, your daily cup of coffee with your colleagues talking about the same old thing, the smell of your bed, the convenience of having a car, the home-cooked meals, the heat of the middle east and all the stuff that sometimes sucks. You will soon appreciate them all and realize how convenient your life is back at home. That’s the time when you’ll just say “There’s no other place like home“.
9. When sharing my experience to others gives me joy and sense of fulfillment. This is the best part of it, when you got to share your stories and inspire others to go push on their dreams. It makes your adventures more meaningful and inspires you to never stop exploring.