eWhen people first heard that I was traveling to Taipei, the same question always pops up: who are you going with? Each time when I told them it will be on my own, their reactions were similar: “Are you serious!? Why? Aren’t you scared? You are so brave!”
Yes, I am serious and of course, I am scared but there are worse things to be afraid of. In Asia, people are reserved and less adventurous, therefore doubting my decision of traveling alone. Especially, since when I am a female.
However, fear should not be the reason to cause your disbelief and hesitation. It’s foolish to allow bad situations (that might never even happen) to stop you from your dream vacation or missing out on the experiences. What solo travelling is able to give, is very much different from a group vacation.
Here are 10 different reasons why going solo is the best!
#1 – Cross Out Your Bucket List
Whoever you are, whatever it is, there’s definitely a bucket list somewhere: in your head or you’ve written down. As you grow older, the list gets longer but the enthusiasm dies down as well. Before you know it, age catches up and you no longer have the energy to fulfill the list.
So why wait and regret later? If you have the opportunity, go for it! Don’t wait till it’s too late to accomplish anything.
#2- Itinerary Planning Made Easy
From setting a date to deciding on a location, to booking the plane ticket and finding an accommodation, all of which require tedious planning. Imagining traveling with a big group and planning way too early in advance might not even work. Coming up with the best plan seem impossible when there’s a need to accommodate to everyone’s schedule.
So instead of going back and forth with the questions, why not drop everything (and everyone)? Book a flight, pack your bag and leave! Avoid the troublesome conversation that never seems to end and embark on a fuss-free trip.
#3 – Own Time Own Target (OTOT)
OTOT. The music to my ears. These were my favourite letters to hear during camps because it means I am free to do whatever I want instead of sticking to a schedule or people’s needs.
I often stopped halfway through walking just to capture images of my surroundings. On the other hand, my friends don’t seem too keen on it. Of course, they would stop to accommodate me, but I can’t help feeling guilty. Worst case scenario, they continue walking while I catch up with them afterwards.
Going solo means you are entitled to being selfish, your wants and needs are of the highest priority! You want to eat ramen? Go ahead. Sleeping in until the afternoon? Go ahead. Not keen on trying new food? Then don’t. There will be no compromise, simply travelling on your own terms.
#4 – Getting In-depth with the Culture and People
Generally, people tend to be more helpful when there’s only one person requires their assistance because a single woman is more approachable. A big group simply overwhelms them. Sure, they might still lend you a hand and give you the directions, but that’s it. Seeing you alone, they are willing to personally bring you to the location, offering insider’s advice and sharing the hidden places that most locals hangout.
Furthermore, they will be more open and direct to talk about their life, their people, and their culture. Sometimes, shop’s owners might even throw in discounts or complimentary items. Thus, you gain more new experiences that you can’t achieve when travelling with a big group. Why say no?
#5 – Expand Your Social Circle (Globally)
Somehow being with a group of friends keeps you restricted within your comfort zone. Meeting new people and getting to know them always don’t seem to be in-depth or fulfilling enough.
Generally, being alone on the road causees you to reach out more. Not because you can, but also you want to. All the hours and days on your own make you crave socialization. Therefore, you definitely will be more eager to chat with locals, approach new people, and stop being shy about interacting with strangers.
#6- Challenges Your Fears and Insecurities
Travelling enables you to step out of your comfort zone by holding on to the “you only live once” motto. A “now or never” attitude sets you on a journey of challenges, face your insecurities and overcome your fears.
Perhaps you always wanted to go bungee jumping or try out bizarre food but never seem to be able to find someone to do it with. Don’t let this be the reason stopping you from doing it. Take some risks. Gain new experiences and brag it to your friends when you return home.
As a solo traveller, you are more vulnerable but certainly not useless. Building self-confident is only a small fraction of the benefits of solo travelling. You get to be inspired by all things, learning to be more assertive, observant and independent. Additionally, you rely on instincts and start to trust strangers.
On one occasion, I was at the airport (waiting for departure) with the urge of using the washroom but my luggage was with me. So the moment I meet a group of Singaporeans, I instantly knew I could trust them with my belongings. And I am glad I did, not only for my bladder, but it taught me to trust my instincts and to believe in others more. The world can be as simple and innocent; it’s just a matter of how we view the world.
#8- Power Of Solitude
Once in a while, everyone should have a downtime – away from people. Solo travelling gives you ample time to do so. Solitude allows you to reach the mediation stage and to relieve stress. Spend hours sitting by the beach, enjoying the view from high up in the mountains, or staying in the room just lying across the bed. Soak it all in and allow your mind to wander and reflect on life, friends, family, basically everything. Using the time alone to think, self-reflect, rediscover and learn more about yourself. Along the way, you stop being ignorant and learn to become a better listener in life.
#9 – Shit happens! But that’s ok.
Are you an obsessive-compulsive planner who needs to stick to the schedule at all costs? Well, don’t. We can never be in full control of a situation or always expect things to go our way. When things get haywire, don’t fret. Be flexible and adapt to the changes. Switch up your plans. You will know what you will miss but you will never know what you will not miss- a new place, new food, new friends, or a new experience.
Bad situations happen for a reason. Refrain from allowing yourself to get fed-up and frustrated by these hiccups, instead turn them into a good learning experience which you can apply later in life.
#10 – A Brand New You
At the end of the trip, you changed. The undeniable sense of freedom from travelling alone, without help or guidelines has shaped your personality through the challenges, and the different situations you put yourself in. You become more spontaneous, brave, open-minded and so much more.
Life has a brand new perspective. The word ‘lonely’, doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Solo expedition might feel weird for the first few days, but what comes after is something you won’t regret.
Have you ever travelled alone? Or do you want to but never had the courage to do so? Why not take a leap of faith and book an impromptu trip right this moment. #YOLO