Like most people, I romanticized solo travel. I believed that cobble stone streets, charming cities and remarkable skyline views would set me free. I dreamed of how happy I would be while wandering through narrow alleys and stumbling upon beautiful sights I had never seen before.
Although my solo trips weren’t as romantic as I had dreamed, they have always left me with a sense of bewilderment at the beauty of the world, and with myself. The growth and transforming experiences I gained through travel have taught me more about myself than I could have imagined. Here are a few life lessons I’ve taken with me from my solo travels.
YOU ARE CAPABLE OF MORE THAN YOU THINK
When I traveled solo, I learned how capable I was of being independent when I had no other choice. Solo travel removes all of the familiarity, security and safety that we’re used to and forces us to rely on ourselves. You will learn how strong and capable you truly are through your solo travels.
When I arrived in Paris, I was absolutely shocked by how complicated the subway system was. There were lines going in each way and direction in a language I barely understood. I didn’t even know how to buy a ticket. A few days later, I was riding the subway like I’d lived there for years (I assure you – I definitely did not, but who’s to say?!)
NOT EVERY MOMENT IS MAGICAL
You’ve probably seen hundreds of travel photos that have inspired you to book that flight and explore a new corner of the globe. What you don’t see is the behind the scenes of every trip that doesn’t make it to the Instagram feed.
There are moments I’ve carefully chosen not to share about my solo travels that have been just as crucial to my self growth. I’ve had to lug an overly packed backpack bursting at the seams in the summer heat of Europe (completely my fault by the way – a girl needs her entire dress selection though, right?) I have lost train tickets, missed busses, and ended up with nowhere to sleep for the night.
With those experiences come the strengths gained from learning a new lesson. Beneath all of that struggle are the beautiful, serene moments, too. There is always beauty in the struggle, every time- which is why we inevitable keep coming back.
DEALING WITH LONELINESS
There are moments of solo travel that are lonely. Like, sitting in your hotel room devouring icecream while watching My Best Friend’s Wedding through sobs lonely. There are moments when I’m not traveling that I experience loneliness, so naturally, there are moments where I feel lonely when I travel too.
Feeling lonely during solo travel is kind of like a right of passage in a way. Everyone feels it at some point or another. The trick is to not let it discourage you from journeying on. It will pass, and once it does you will feel more independent than ever.
YOU BRING YOURSELF WITH YOU
No matter how far across the globe you venture off to, you will bring yourself with you. That means that all of your struggles, worries, and heartbreaks will be sitting right next to you in that passenger seat.
I don’t mean that if you’re going through a difficult period in your life you should just stay at home and forget about travel. By all means, if that’s what you truly want to do then I say, go for it and don’t look back! It’s important to understand that travel won’t fix you or rid you of your problems. It will give you the opportunity and platform you need to sit with them, acknowledge them, and focus on how you can solve them.
A NEWFOUND CONFIDENCE
When you come back from your solo trip, you’ll feel a new sense of self confidence you may have not felt before. Embrace it! There is something so powerful about knowing that you can make it on your own in the world. It’s never too late to embark on a solo journey that will push you outside of your comfort zone and towards something much greater. Through the painfully tough moments, the setbacks and the amazing experiences meddled in between- you’ll feel like you run the world!
Have you ever been on a solo trip? What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned while travelling solo? I’d love to hear your stories!