It’s a new year, a new you, so why not try something you’ve never done before, like travelling solo?

“It seemed an advantage to be travelling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by whom we are with, we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others.” – Alain de Bottom

Wise words from the Swiss-born philosophical writer. But is travelling alone really such a valuable experience? I aim to argue yes, it really is. Travelling solo gives an insight into the world, people, food, culture, customs and traditions outside of your small social bubble, which will positively impact on you as a person.

It is true that some of us cannot imagine travelling alone, which is completely understandable as the thought can be quite scary at first. Nonetheless, travelling solo is rapidly becoming a more common activity, which can be a lot of fun and boasts numerous benefits. So my advice would be, don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.

 

1. Discover more about yourself

Though it may sound cliché, one of the greatest advantages to travelling alone is that you begin to understand yourself better. You start to discover the things you are capable of but never thought you could do, the things you’re afraid of but can overcome. There is no stress or pressure from your travel buddy who tries to force you into an activity you don’t want to do. You are alone, you’re in control and this is a really great feeling.

2. Friendships

When you’re travelling with a companion you tend you stick together for a sense of security. Travelling alone ensures that you make friends through sincerity instead, allowing you to get to know people you probably wouldn’t have spoken to if you travelled in a group. Often, when travelling alone you’re likely to make more effort to speak to the locals or team up with other travellers, which forces you to break out of your shell and make connections with people, forging new friendships and expanding your knowledge of traditional customs and cultures.

3. Loneliness? Never.

When travelling alone it’s unlikely that you’ll even have the time to dwell on being lonely. Once you reach your accommodation you will meet many other solo travellers like yourself – think of it as going to university for the first time, everyone wants to make friends because you’re all in the same boat; you all miss home sometimes, but you also want to experience something new. It’s likely that most of the travellers you meet will become your friends for life, people who you’ll be able to meet in places all over the world and reminisce your experiences together.

4. Flexibility and Freedom

Your time is your own when travelling alone, allowing you to be more flexible when making your decisions on when and how you get to your next destination. You have the freedom to change your travel plans, to sleep when you want for as long as you want, to change your destination at the last minute without any arguments, stress or compromises.

5. Gaining confidence

Most importantly, travelling solo can fill you with confidence. You will have the opportunity to make your own decisions, talk to strangers and sometimes even take some risks. All these scenarios combine to make you a braver person, more confident in your ability to rely on yourself.

6. Benefits for your CV

Lastly, solo travel can be a great advantage to your CV. It shows a high level of independence, organisation and other transferable skills for the work place including time management and decision making.

 

In a nutshell, travelling alone can be a truly character building experience- you will learn a diverse range of skills and meet some amazing people from all over the world who will introduce you to new languages and cultures. Travelling solo will shape your personality, challenging you while filling you with confidence as you begin to appreciate things you may never have noticed before. Yes, it may be a scary prospect at first, but this is a natural feeling that comes with any type of change. But once you’ve got over that first fearful hurdle, then the world is your oyster!

 

Sophie Demetriades

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