For my 25h birthday, I knew I wanted to do something that I had never done before. I wanted it to be an experience that would be life-changing, but most importantly, an experience that would further my personal growth. During the planning stages of my Birthday the embargo travel ban, which prevented Americans from traveling to Cuba, was let go. Ecstatic about the news, I thought it would be an experience of a lifetime to cast my eyes on the forbidden country, and to have a small group of my closest friends join me for the ride. Unfortunately, planning my Cuba trip was not as fun as the trip, it was actually a damn disaster.
I was so heavily focused on making sure all my friends could attend, and creating various accommodations for many of them as well, that I completely abandoned my own wants. Eventually, as it grew closer to the trip, a few friends expressed that they wouldn’t be able to make the trip, and I even lost a longtime friendship along the way. A trip of 6, now became a trip of 3, and in the aftermath of all the hectic planning, I realized that I wasn’t as excited for the Cuba trip, as I should have been. I spent so much time focusing on my friends being able to make it, and making sure the trip went as planned, that I robbed myself from my own excitement and anticipation. I still wanted to go to Cuba, but I had a strong urge to do something else that would 1) By myself and 2) on my actual birth date, since I wouldn’t be going to Cuba until a few days after due to ticket expenses.
The thought of traveling abroad frequently came to mind, but it was one of those things I knew I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure if possessed the courage to actually do it. Since college, I had a strong desire to visit London, and I even tried to study abroad there. Unfortunately, things did not work out, and I left college wishing that I got the opportunity to study abroad. The thought of a solo trip provoked my mind for weeks, to the point my imaginary mind started to envision myself physically there. Eventually, I was so enticed by my own imagination, I began to research solo traveling, experiences from others, and the city of London.
In less than a months span, I had booked my flight, and my Airbnb for London for 6 days and 5 nights. On my Birthday, which was my last official day in London, I remember I wrote a letter to myself, and as I was writing tears began to stream down my cheeks. I could not believe I really did it, and Inwas so proud of myself, all I could do was cry. I gained and learned, so much from that trip, that months later, I went on my second solo trip of that year to Minnesota for a resale fashion conference!
A solo trip is an experience of a lifetime, and it’s something that I honestly believe everyone should do at least once in their lives, and here are my reasons why:
You learn how to rely on yourself more
As a solo traveler, you have no one to tell you where you should go next, or what you should do. You have no one to support you in finding your way if you get lost, you essentially have absolutely no one that will have your back. In return this teaches you to rely on yourself, to wholeheartedly believe in yourself, and to trust your own judgement and decision making skills. We may all have friends, family members, colleagues, mentors, coaches, even acquaintances, but in reality in life, you are all you got, and as lonely as people make that seem, that notion is indeed a powerful one.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone
A comfort zone, can be a hard place to escape sometimes. We all have our own comfort zones, and our own reasons for trapping ourselves in them. Solo Traveling challenges individuals to take risks, and to step outside of their own personal boundaries. When you force yourself to step outside of the imaginary comfort zone, you allow yourself to grow. It’s once you step outside of your comfort zone, you begin to realize, how much you’ve been limiting yourself. A solo trip makes you aware of the fact that one’s comfort zone, is an imaginary place, a place that own minds have created, or a place own fears or self doubt have created. As cliche as the saying may be, it’s true when they say our mind plays tricks on us.
True Definition of Freedom
You realize as you solo travel that you are just an adventurer, living life curiously and free. Nothing or no one is holding you back, and there is something about that feeling, that is simply indescribable! You are free from your job, free from family and friends, free from negativity, free from your societal expectations, free from your own self-doubt, free from anything that has been holding you back, free to lose yourself, free to find yourself, and free to be happy, genuinely and unapologetically happy. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve never understood the true meaning of freedom, or actually felt it’s real presence until I solo traveled.
Forces you toget comfortable with being alone
Whether you see yourself as an introverted person, an extroverted person, or a combination of both, its important for people to be comfortable with being alone. When you’re alone, your faced with the realities, such as who you really are, not who others want you to be, or perhaps who you pretend to be. You get to learn more about who you are, and what exactly your about. You can even learn the things you need to work on, or change in your life, just by taking time alone. Prior to going on any solo trips, I remember I would read articles sharing reasons people should go on a solo trip, and several of the articles stated how “You will meet people or make many new friends along the way.” When I took my own solo trip, I remember the first day, I was so eager to meet people, because after all my extensive research convinced me that’s what happens. I essentially believed that it was “ the solo trip thing to do”. But then I had to ask myself, why call it a solo trip, if you’re actively trying to meet new people? How is someone really getting comfortable with being by themself, if they’re seeking out company to share this moment with? Once I stopped looking to meet people, I became so comfortable with being by myself, that when I did meet people, and was asked to hang out, I graciously declined each and every time. I had so much I wanted to see, so much I wanted to do, and I grew so obsessed with my newfound freedom, that I prefered to do things by myself. It was me, myself, and my music, roaming the streets of London, and as nerveracking as that might sound to some, it was the best feeling ever. Being comfortable with being alone, is important for your personal development. You must ask yourselves, how can you truly love yourself, if you can’t be alone with yourself?
You learn the power of Self-Doubt and how tochallenge it
Self-Doubt can be so toxic to a persons psyche and self esteem. It’s crazy how much power and influence negative doubts about our self, can have on the way we view ourselves, and the limits we put upon ourselves. Are there any readers, that want to solo travel, but have a list of self-doubts or fears in their mind, as to why they could never do it? Trust me, you are not alone, I felt the same exact way. I had my own fears, self- doubts, as well as anxious and paranoid filled scenarios that would plague my mind. By the end of my London trip, I was proud of myself, but I also couldn’t help but think back to how hard on myself I’ve had been in my past. My fears and anxiety created self-doubt that in the end proved how much of an illusion these mind fucks can be. The more we doubt ourselves, the more we show not necessarily the lack of confidence we have in ourselves, but the lack of patience we have for ourselves.
You learn that having a fear can actually be a good thing
Having a fear isn’t always a bad thing. Actually it’s not a bad thing at all, we all had, have, and will continue to have fears. Fear allows us as evolving beings to challenge ourselves, and to go beyond our mental limitations. We all have our own personal fears, that may differ from the next persons, but we all have shared the commonality, of feeling held back by the fears that we each possess. For many people, solo traveling is a huge fear. In my experience, I feared going to London, and as the days rolled closer to my trip, I became increasingly anxious. Taking that risk, and traveling to another part of the world by myself, revealed to me the deep rooted fearlessness, that I didn’t even know existed. Or perhaps I always subconsciously knew, but I allowed my fears, to hinder my fearlesness. Who doesn’t want to be fearless in this game called life? Who doesn’t want to feel like nothing, or no one can completely hold them back?
It’s empowering and uplifting
Anything in life that you may have feared, or have doubted yourself to accomplish, when you conquer those emotions it is by far the most empowering feeling EVER. As exaggerated as it may sound, after a solo trip you may feel like you are literally on top of the damn world, and that you can accomplish anything if you really put focus, courage and consistency towards it. You will still live life with doubts and fears, and that’s okay, but you will believe in yourself more after an experience like this, and that’s what matters. There is one thing for others to have a positive influence on you, but there is another thing for you to have a positive influence on yourself. There is nothing more empowering than the belief in the power of yourself. So if you ever have a thought to get up and go somewhere, get up and go! You will not regret it. I have been on several great trips thus far, but nothing will compare to my solo trip experiences!
So what do you think; can you see yourself going on a solo trip? Or have you been on one already? And if so, where didn’t you go? Let’s create a dialogue below!