I used to look at solo travel supporters, those who said you must travel alone at some point as a little extreme.
No one should feel they have to travel a certain way or with a certain amount of people or lack there of.
However, after a week of traveling solo in Ireland, I am starting to see why so many advocate for travelers to take a trip alone.
Perhaps you only want to go away for the weekend alone to test it out, but here are a few benefits of traveling solo that I have found.
Conquering Confidence—Those who say traveling alone is easy are lying. I think it is hard to make the initial step, but once you do, a newfound confidence comes over. As you are in control, you must ask for things and reach out to people constantly. You have to find the way. With all of those activities alone, you are conquering little milestones. A new confidence is brewing, one you really can only obtain from being in a land not your own and just that, on your own.
Mastering the art of eavesdropping—Perhaps this is not so noble of solo travel, but you become much more aware of people and places merely by listening to them. So often we travel with others and are in a constant state of chatter and noise back and forth with one another. If you travel solo you may sit in restaurants alone and over-hear conversations or notice aspects you would never see if you were dining with someone. Solo travel in essence helps you become more aware of people and in turn, improves those listening skills.
Finding Freedom—Perhaps the most obvious trait to come out of traveling solo is a new sense of freedom. If you want to go see a butter museum, you can and you will have no one to drag along or judge you for going. The world is your oyster. I think with that freedom, you are more likely to develop a better outlook on life. Being able to make your own decisions and set your own schedule can increase a positive view on your life. The newfound independence and freedom can be good for a traveler who has been trapped following someone else’s travel agenda.
Socializing with strangers—You don’t have to talk to everyone you meet and have deep conversations, but solo travel is like wearing a target on your back for being better at interpersonal communication. Strangers may be more inclined to talk to you and you to them, as you are alone. Being open to different viewpoints and types of people can help when you return to that day-to-day world of home. It is always good to get out and see the world, exercise those social skills, even if you have to go by yourself to do it.
Flickr: Photography King
What are some of the benefits you find to traveling solo?