To discover who you really are
Rebecca from She Roams Solo: Because, if I had never travelled solo, I never would have discovered who I really am. I would never have discovered what it was like to have to fend for myself completely and I never would have gained independence. I would never have realised how many different types of people I can get along with and chat to. I wouldn't have the confidence that I have now or the understanding of the cultures, history and world like I do now.
You can travel your style, not somebody elses
Deborah Ives from Solo In Style: For me, one of the joys of travelling solo later in life is that I can be utterly selfish when it comes to my holiday. It's all about choosing the trip that I really want to go on and making my own travel memories, one experience at a time. Two years ago I decided to volunteer for a programme in Rio where I mentored young social entrepreneurs and spent 2 months working with them on projects in the favelas. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and a fabulous way to explore Rio as a solo traveller. I would highly recommend looking at volunteering abroad as a great solo option. Deborah volunteered with socialstarters.org.
To get out of your comfort zone
Sarah from Travels of Sarah: When I was in college, I was nervous to travel alone and study abroad. I had one professor that pushed me out of my comfort zone and finally I made the leap to study abroad. Before school began that September at University of Edinburgh, I made a decision to truly travel alone and backpack Europe. Since then I have not been able to stop. In the past I waited for friends to travel, but I got tired of waiting to see the places on my bucket list and for other people.
So, I stopped caring what people may think about me traveling alone. I mustered up the confidence to do what I want, when I want feeling, while feeling 100 % comfortable in my own skin. Also, traveling solo I got to truly experience the city as a local by meeting locals through Couchsurfing my favorite travel app! You can connect with sarah on twitter. You can also try our female travel community She Roams Solo to meet locals and other travellers.
Stephanie from Big World Small Pockets: Travelling solo is an incredible way to get out of your comfort, push your boundaries and realise just how much you are capable of. It's a great way to meet new people and open yourself up to new experiences, without being encumbered by the pressures or expectations of the things and people that are familiar to you. It really is total freedom. Travelling solo will definitely allow to experience more during your time on the road, amplify your chance of meeting "your tribe" and enable you to see and do the things you want to without waiting for others to be ready to do them with you. It will teach you that you are braver, more self-reliant and resilient than you ever imagined. You'll learn to stand on your own two feet in a way you never have before and prove to yourself that the world really is your oyster!
So you that don't miss out on amazing opportunities
Solene from Be Beyond Borders: Travelling solo is an incredible experience! It allows you to be fully present, gives you both time and space to reflect and shows you how strong, resilient and independent you truly are.
If I hadn't travelled solo, I wouldn't have:
- Practised my mandarin with a stranger on an overnight train
- Eaten the best ever Korean BBQ in a shabby looking local restaurant in Seoul
- Walked around Hanoi until my feet hurt and absolutely loved it!
- Came up with new ideas, stories, and art pieces whilst soaking up other cultures
- Met French football legend turned actor Eric Cantona in the Chinese desert (OMG!!!)
- Made countless friends all over the world!
You can purchase Where to Next - Solenes memoirs and a great read here
So that you can meet local people and new people
Sophie from vujadeview: My favourite thing about travelling solo is that you learn so much about the places you visit. I think this is partly because it's easier to meet local people when you're on your own, and partly because when you're solo, you focus much more on your surroundings.
Instead of chatting with your travel companions, wondering aloud about parts of the local culture, architecture or history, you simply ask the locals and get real answers to your questions.
When I took my first solo trip to Sri Lanka, I made friends with my yoga teacher, restaurant owners and bartenders. I came home feeling like I’d really got to know the place and its people, even in a short time.
Tracey from ota-responsibletravel: Travelling solo forced me to talk to new people, something which I don't naturally do as I tend to be quite shy. It also allowed me to do what I wanted and not adhere to someone else's whims. I was completely free to go where I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. I could sleep an entire bus journey and not talk to a travelling companion if I wanted. When I needed a buddy, there are plenty of resources online these days to connect travellers and Couchsurfing has been a godsend. I love the opportunity to meet new people when I travel solo - when I have travelled with someone else I find we get quite insular and don't bother making new friends. You don't learn about places if you don't venture out and talk to people when travelling.
Because it is YOUR life, YOUR desires and YOUR time
Sarah from The Soul Prescription: When I was a little girl I used to visit my grandmothers house & she would show me a map filled with red stickers. Each one a place that she & my grandfather had visited & each with memories attached. I knew when I grew up that I would create my own sticker map & fill it with my own memories.
When I started University I knew that the first Summer that came around would be my opportunity to travel. I worked part-time as a cleaner, in a coffee shop and in a bar to save what I could. As the opportunity came closer I started to day-dream about locations after much debate I settled on Thailand.
I then found that none of my close friends were able to join me on this trip due to finances or other commitments. I was thrown a little, I hadn’t even thought this could be a potential issue. After much thought & using the internet to research how safe Thailand was as a solo female I finally took the plunge. I remember getting off the plane being absolutely terrified but also filled with absolute joy. It is still my favourite trip I’ve ever taken and I have never once regretted my decision to travel solo, I"m now about to visit my 30th country & it's all down to that first trip.
Develop your instincts, confidence and sense of empowerment
Samantha from Health and Fitness Travel: Solo travel truly gives you perks that outweigh all your worries—being in the travel business (and being a digital nomad myself), I’ve traveled enough to know. When travelling solo, you only have yourself and your own instincts to depend on. There’s nothing like it that gives you a feeling of confidence and a sense of empowerment. You call the shots, make all the decisions and rely on no one but yourself. It’s rarely easy, but it’s worth all the time, risks and effort. From planning your trip to keeping track of your schedule, budget, etc., it can prove to be a challenging undertaking, but utterly rewarding nonetheless.
What has travelling solo given you?
"gives you a feeling of confidence and a sense of empowerment"
Kirsty from Lost in Landmarks: Solo travel helped me see the world with no judgements from others impeding my view. I went with my heart and eyes open to explore and that has left me with a legacy of trust, faith and wonder at other people and cultures. It helped me figure out where I sat in the world and gave me the confidence to draw my own conclusions about what went on in the world because I had seen it. I travelled solo as a young adult and through my 20s and 30s my confidence in my place in the world has grown. I follow my own path in all ways and I’m not scared to branch out and try new things or even have my own opinion away from the norm. I’m sure travelling solo was the catalyst for this.
Stephanie, the travel editor at Finder: My first solo travel experience kind of snuck up on me. I'd originally planned to move to the UK for two years with two girlfriends, but they both bailed on me at the last minute. I could have bailed too, but with my visa in hand I figured I might as well give it a go.
Without those ladies to help me, I was forced to put my pride aside (I like to think I have a good sense of direction) and approach locals for directions, make friends in dorms where we would have booked a private ensuite and yes, eventually become comfortable with striking up a conversation with strangers on buses, planes and trains – some of whom I am still in contact with.
It also opened up my itinerary, allowing me to choose where, when and how long I'd travel. It took me as far north as Tromso for the Northern Lights, as far south as Granada for Moorish architecture and as far east as Adiyaman to climb Mount Nemrut.
Stephanie from The Pink Backpack: Solo travel is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. Overcoming the fears, challenges and obstacles that travel can present builds strength, confidence, independence and ultimately provides a sense of freedom that I haven’t experienced elsewhere. In the beginning, people warned me that it wasn’t safe or inferred that it wasn’t ‘normal’ or fun to travel on your own. Funny enough, they were usually individuals who had never even tried solo travel.
After traveling independently across 5 continents and through the places and spaces I was initially ‘warned about’ (most recently throughout the continent of Africa), I feel proud and accomplished to have challenged stereotypes around what women can or cannot do on their own. I am so happy I didn’t listen those who discouraged me because the experiences I’ve had while traveling solo are precious to me; they are mine, and mine alone.
Cindy from Travel Charm: Solo travel was not something I ever wanted to do. I had never even considered it. I’m not sure what changed. Age maybe. Wanting, or needing, time on my own. Whatever it was, at the age of 49, I finally found myself travelling solo, through Italy for three weeks.
There were times of loneliness, and my anxiety tried to rear its ugly head, but in the end, through a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of “let’s see where this takes me” attitude it was one of the most liberating, inspiring and self-esteem building experiences I have had.
My confidence has soared and the only issue I have now is finding the time and money to keep travelling solo.
To be in your own mind and soul, to become an independent person
Raksha from Solo Passport says: Solo travel for me means meditation. The true meaning of meditation is the act of focusing one’s mind in attaining relaxation. And this is exactly what solo travel gives me. Whenever I need to think, introspect, celebrate and sulk, I travel and I travel solo. This helps me in calming myself down.
Travelling solo also provides me a new perspective of how things must be handled and taken in life. I am responsible solely for my actions during my travel. This makes me an independent person.
I travelled solo for the first time when I was away from my family and friends in a new country. I wanted to explore the new place and I did not want to wait for anyone to travel. And I think this was the best thing that happened to me in my life. After this day, there is no looking back and I have enjoyed travelling alone.