There are an endless number of quotes about taking the road less traveled, and they all surmount to one thing - the end destination is a lot better than you could ever imagine. Traveling to new places with friends and family has become common amongst young people, but we often forget that some of the best experiences from travel come from setting out on our own. While traveling with friends and family can be an incredibly joyous experience, there are benefits that come from traveling alone that you just don’t get from being with others. Here are five things that happen when you travel alone.
You learn how to be alone
There are few life lessons more important than learning how to be alone. While human interaction is both important and necessary, there are times in life when being alone is apart of the present journey. Being by yourself can be a satisfying - and growing- experience. You learn things about yourself that aren’t as apparent when others are around, and you realize things about yourself that you really love.
You can do what you want to do
When you’re traveling with others, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to change your schedule to accommodate for others. You wanted to stay in that famous Bicycle Museum, but you’re friend just had to get to that lake (that you’re not that impressed with) earlier than necessary. Traveling alone eliminates the sacrifice of your desires for the likes of others. Running into an incredible museum or a beautiful landmark may lend itself to some extra hours of exploration, and that’s ok. Being alone gives you the chance to let those unexpected adventures evolve, without the wants of others looming over your head.
You realize just how smart you are
Traveling in new places can be daunting at times. While we live for the idea of getting lost and finding uncovered paths, being in a new place with a new language can also be a hotbed of accidents. Valuable items get stolen, wrong trains are used for transport, and natives can try taking advantage of you when they see you’re alone. When mishaps happen on the road, it’s important to keep your cool and figure out reasonable solutions, and these difficult responses are even harder to do when you’re alone. Challenges breed improvement, though, and solo travelers find themselves being more resourceful in those times of uncertainty. Learning how to navigate difficult situations and trusting yourself with hard decisions are some of the most important things you can do in life, and traveling alone makes these learning experiences inevitable.
You meet really awesome people
Sitting at a coffee shop alone or sightseeing without a companion by your side makes for some interesting experiences. You notice people you may not have paid any attention to, and others are more susceptible to come up and talk to you. People that you meet while traveling can lead to new experiences for your trip and life-long friendships. When you aren’t only focusing on the friends around you, you’re more open to following up on the conversation you had with your barista, or joining new people you met on your day-trip tour group for aperitivo.
You grow as a person
Traveling alone brings it’s own set of adventures and unforeseen experiences that change you for the better. You see the world from a different standpoint when you aren’t surrounded by the opinions of others, and you learn more about your own values and understanding of the world. Traveling alone brings about a multitude of qualities, like discipline, patience, and acceptance. While you can certainly develop these with others, traveling alone offers the unique experience of doing it without the influence of other people, making things much clearer than ever before.
Kayla Stewart is a Texas native that’s currently trying to obtain her world citizenship. A lover of all things culture and travel related, she started Pathos Magazine with her best friend, and is trying to make the world a better place through every venture she set out on. When she’s not being incredibly cheesy, you can find her writing, reading, running, or planning her next trip.