Last week I went on a vacation to Iceland, alone. Yes you heard that right, all 5”2 of me went to a completely different country by myself. At first upon buying my ticket I was scared - the idea of being lonely crossed my mind more than once and thoughts of being kidnapped and living out the movie TAKEN kept me up several weeks before my flight. However, it wasn’t until a few days before I was actually leaving that I started to feel more comfortable with the idea. Since I’m normally a completely independent person, I figured my mind had grown to not be phased with the notion of wandering alone.
As the days dwindled down to my departure I started reaching out to people who had solo travelled before to pick up some tips and to hear experiences. I found that, hearing from other women and getting advice really helped me feel at ease with my trip. Travelling alone might seem scary at first but in hind site (if you pick a country on the safer side), it’s just like wandering your own city alone. The only difference is that you get to see and experience a whole other culture and landscape - one that maybe you wouldn’t appreciate as much if your time was occupied with a fellow traveller.
Although some people might protest to solo travelling and only focus on the negative I thought why not share some of the positives of a solo trip. Since, I made a ton of unforgettable memories and met some pretty amazing people along the way, I thought it would be fitting to talk about why travelling alone once in your life - is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Let’s begin.
You’ll Meet More People
When I travel I usually travel with friends or family - I love it, I get to occupy my time with them and we get to experience some really exciting things together. However, when you travel with friends or family, it’s just that. you occupy your time with only them because the whole purpose is to bond and experience things together. Although this is great for your relationship, if you’re looking to meet people - it can be difficult.
When you travel alone, you’re literally alone. In order to have that human interaction you’re forced to talk to people you normally wouldn’t if you were with family or friends. This was extremely evident in my recent trip. I’m reserved for no reason other than I have always been like that. After travelling alone for so long and looking for recommendations on where to go and what to see I found my self being the most extroverted version of myself that I have ever been. In doing so - I met so many amazing people and really connected with other travellers and experiences. Travelling alone will open you up to people in ways you wouldn’t expect - just remember to be careful about it!
You Don’t Have To Rely On Others
I’ve never had a problem with relying on others while on vacation - partially because I always choose who I travel with wisely. However, for those who are constantly waiting on relatives or friends to hurry up or to join you on expeditions that they don’t want to go in the first place, solo travelling is for you. With it you can carry out your trip on your own terms.
With solo travel you don’t have to rely on others - you can do what you want, when you want. You want to wake up at 5am and watch a sunset? Cool. You want to climb mount Everest in a bikini? why not. Going solo means you make the rules.
You’ll Really Experience The Country
Although some people may argue that travelling solo can be lonely and quite, sometimes it’s a good thing. I know when I went on my trip it was to escape the city life for a little bit - to explore my wilderness and explorer side (because I actually have one!). Climbing mountains by myself and hiking endless miles actually felt nice alone because I could take in the entire scenery at my own pace and really absorb what I was seeing.
I found that being alone gives you the time to really soak in your surroundings, without people telling you to hurry up or talking while you overlook a mountain.
I’ve never felt more empowered in my life than when I took this first trip alone. In my own head - and in a lot of peoples - travelling solo can seem impossible and extremely frightening, but it’s not. It’s actually very possible and liberating.
Travelling to another country for a period of time without knowing the culture or language is a HUGE accomplishment for ANYONE. So it’s something to be proud of. You stepped out of your comfort zone, you made the rules and you accomplished them. When you leave, you’ll feel more alive and empowered than ever.
Now don’t get me wrong, travelling solo isn’t all sunshines and rainbows all the time. You’ll have those few days where you’ll be staring at your map thinking “what am I doing” or you’ll be laying in your hostel bed feeling lonely and uncomfortable, but that’s all part of the experience. Each confused or scary day makes you stronger - and each morning you’ll wake up more free than the next. Nothing ever goes perfect and moments aren’t forever, so it’s important to be present and relish in the moment. Heck, I wouldn’t change any of those days sleeping my car and eating Cherrio’s and peanut butter for anything.