Two months ago, I decided that it was time to go away again and the trip planning began. I started with the usual flight search and ended up choosing Porto, Portugal because I scored round trip tickets for 57 euros and I had never been before. I also made the decision that this trip, I would go alone. Although, I’m an extremely independent person, I had realized that this would be my first real “solo trip” (moving abroad alone doesn’t count) and I couldn’t have been more excited.
Being in Porto for five days, on my own, was one of the most rejuvenating feelings, allowing me to fall in love with myself all over again and teaching me lessons I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
We long to see different places and experience new things to grow as individuals and there is nothing more beautiful than continuing to grow in your excellence on your own. Solo travel will make you fall in love with yourself and here are some reasons why.
You get to do what you truly want to do.
Point blank. When you travel solo, you don’t need to stress out trying to please everyone and considering what others want to be doing. While exploring a new place, you have the opportunity to participate in things that truly interest you. When traveling, people search for different things and enjoy different parts of culture. For example, I feel like I best know a culture when I spend time in the cafés, restaurants, and small locales. During the trip, I was able to actively search out the things that I wanted.
I spent my mornings in hotels or outdoor cafes, working and writing. I chose to explore during the afternoons, by going to wine tastings and food tours. During the evenings, I treated myself, either with a chill night in with wine or dancing at live shows. There was no pressure or guilt when planning my days because the only person I had to please was myself.
You realize that sometimes your “weaknesses” are just a part of your imagination.
We all have certain things that we think that we’re “bad” at. So, what do we do? We don’t trust ourselves to try and improve but sometimes, instead, we rely on others that we think might be better at the task. Little do we know, we’re more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
I often proclaim that I am the worst at directions…literally, the worst. I usually am sure I know where I’m going but then second-guess myself and then rely on handy dandy Google maps to lead me the rest of the way.
Well, on my first day in Porto, I walked 30 minutes throughout the entire town with no cell phone and a (paper) map, taking my time and figuring out where I wanted to go. When it was time to head back, I stored my map in my bag and challenged myself to find it on my own.
Guess what? It worked. I walked my way home from pure memory, at times questioning myself but sticking to my intuition and I arrived flawlessly and without anyone’s help.
You realize that you can enjoy your own company.
At the end of the day, all that we truly have is ourselves. Although we can be surrounded with others who love us, we also need to be understanding and loving with ourselves. Taking a solo trip can really help you understand who you are. No matter the circumstances, you’ll understand how you thrive and survive in certain situations.
While away, spending the time with myself, it helped me remember how much I love my quirks. The little thing that I do that bring me happiness, whether its laughing at a joke that no one else would think is funny or turning up music and dancing on my own without a care. We often censor ourselves or hesitate to do certain things because we’re with other but when we’re on our own, there is a sentiment of freedom, because… who is there to judge?
Solo travel can often teach you so many things about both yourself and how you interact with the world around you. More importantly, it can remind you that there is so much more to your complex beautiful self than what meets the eye. When you allow for an opportunity to be authentically yourself, it comes with the realization that deep within, there’s greatness.
What are some lessons you’ve learned through solo travel? What has it taught you about yourself?
Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.