One of the best parts of solo travel is that you have to really get to know yourself. Like, when I travel with others, I'm very much a "whatever you wanna do" person, but when I'm on my own I actually have to think, "ok, what is it that I actually want to do?" and I feel like that's led to so much self-realization on the road.
I definitely have discovered that though I can appreciate a city, I will take a small village over a city any day. And that I will always choose local food, unless I pass a particularly amazing-smelling Indian or Italian restaurant in a place that is not India or Italy 😂 And most importantly, I've discovered that I can keep calm under pressure when things go wrong and actually have a lot of problem-solving skills when I don't have anyone else to rely on!
What have you figured out about yourself on your solo travels?
Totally identify with all the comments about confidence, problem-solving and understanding yourself better.
I think my experience of solo travel has been shaped by the fact that my partner and I have been together since we were 16 (I’m now 27 so that’s over a decade!). We grew into adulthood together and while I love him very much sometimes it’s hard to untangle my own identity from our identity as a couple.
In 2018 I took a few months out to do the classic SE Asia loop alone and learnt that I’m incredibly resourceful when I’m on my own - before, when my partner was around I would lean on him way too much which actually diminished my confidence. It’s something I’ve been working on since I got back. Plus, I actually prefer travelling alone. I love not having a plan, which is way less stressful when you only have yourself to please. He’s a little fussy and precious about having his comforts, but I’m happy to strip all of that back and just focus on connecting with other people and discovering new experiences. It recharges me. Since 2018 I’ve taken a few smaller solo trips and once travel restrictions lift I’m planning another long trip to Colombia 🙃
I learned, besides being confident and loving (myself), that i actually have a good orientation. When I walk or drive around I can remember a lot of small things on houses or streets, which makes it easier to navigate trough cities. I met a bunch of people who were not able to memorize the way home etc. which was crazy for me. These people must feel lost the whole time :D
I discovered that I'm actually a decent problem solver! Before travelling, I usually planned things in so much detail that nothing would go massively wrong. That didn't work while travelling, so I learned to embrace chaos and spontaneous solutions.
That's a good one!
I loved how I was able to define and embrace my personality. Before traveling solo I was ashamed of being an introvert (as in, requiring time to do things by myself and to recharge - I do appreciate spending time with people but I also need to do things alone once in a while). Now I embrace my introvert side on a daily basis, without a single care in the world!
I also realized how amazing it is to be so in touch with yourself to the point where you are not afraid of being who you truly are anymore. ❤️
ive discovered that im stronger mentally then i thought i was and that im able to cope under stressful circumstances which i could never do before travelling and ive also learned to be content with my own company, now i dont care what people think about me and i dont care about being alone. funny story actually was when i went to France with school and me and my friend got lost (because we were slow paying for souvenirs so they had moved on to the next sight without us) we were left on our own wondering around France trying to find our group (we were 12) ive never been so scared in my life......luckily they teacher found us an hour later as we were on our way back to the last place we saw them and i thought that id hate travelling solo but now i crave it.
thanks for listening to me ramble
I discovered that I need an hour or two to myself a day. I love meeting other people when travelling but I need alone time and the best thing about solo travel is I can say no to hanging out with people and there are no hard feelings.
Also, I can be a bit of a shopaholic when there is no one to stop me, hahaha!
Ohh what an interesting topic! I definitely am the same as you with the keeping calm under pressure thing. I think that's such an important skill to have when you travel solo as well!
It brings out an inner confidence that I often forget I have when I'm at home. I think it is having to be completely independent that brings it out of me!
And I have discovered that I'm actually quite introverted in the sense that even though I love socialising and being around people, it quite quickly tires me out and I need my own space in order to recharge my batteries.