So your friends bailed and you don’t know if you should continue to go on this trip alone or not. Here’s the answer. DO IT. While it is super wonderful to be able to travel with a close group of friends, there is so much to learn about exploring something for the first time all on your own. Now I can’t begin to say I am a “traveling alone expert”, but I have gone on a few small trips by myself and let me tell you, it is a truly life-enriching experience.
Let’s start by explaining my personality. ENFP to be exact. But the Brooke that my friends and family know and the Brooke who is traveling by herself are sometimes two different people. Before you get to know the true Brooke, you’ll see that I don’t open up right away. And you’ll almost never catch me talking to someone I don’t know unless they initiate the conversation first. But once you’ve cracked the barrier and I feel comfortable around you and my situation, I won’t STFU. I’ll tell you the stupidest jokes, go on and on about how much I love the Backstreet Boys and sing Spanish music to you. When I am traveling by myself I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone, and that’s when I learn the most about who I am.
1. You get to make all of your own decisions.
Feel like eating gelato three times per day? Nobody is stopping you. Really excited about a museum you read on TripAdvisor? Guess what? Go! Spend all day there! Nobody will be dragging by your side asking when they can leave. It’s your time, you get to spend it how you want. Take advantage of being able to make all the decisions!
2. You’ll get lost… in more ways than one.
If you want to have an experience that will test your navigational skills… travel alone. I can’t tell you how many times I have aimlessly wandered in circles, trying to find my way back to my hostel. It can suck, especially if it’s raining… but the more you travel alone the more you learn to pay attention to your surroundings. You have absolutely nobody to rely on to find your way back. Which is frightening but cool at the same time!
You’ll not only get physically lost though, you’ll get emotionally lost too. In a good way! I don’t know what it is about trains, but whenever I’m on a long train ride by myself I stare out the window and forget where I am in the world and get lost in the passing scenery. My thoughts go to weird and deep places that I didn’t even know existed, and a travel buddy making conversation does not interrupt it. *Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traveling with the right people too. Just sometimes it’s nice to have those quiet, alone moments! :)*
3. You’ll master the selfie.
Obviously not everyone is the same, but if you are anything like me you can’t go somewhere without taking a shameless selfie. Now it seems more “socially acceptable” to take selfies while you are with a group of people, but why can’t you take one of just you? Well, you can. Who cares. That brings us back to point #1, you make all your decisions! Take that selfie. Take as many as you want! Let people photobomb you because it’s hilarious. If someone offers, let them take a photo for you. Pay a dollar to take silly tourist photos… you are only in that moment of time once, so make it worth it!
4. You’ll make life-changing experiences that you will want to share with everyone!
What’s fun about going somewhere by yourself is that when you come back you get to explain your experiences with everyone. You’ve created unique memories for yourself, and with yourself! Some people will think it is amazing that you were brave enough to go wherever you went alone. Whether it is to another country, or just a state away, it is impressive. You will feel empowered while telling your story! And that is one of the best feelings to have.
5. You are forced to step outside your normal comfort zone.
I mentioned it earlier, but I really don’t talk to strangers. And not just because my parents told me not to when I was a little one. When I am alone, I prefer to stay to myself, and enjoy the little quiet moments passing by. But sometimes I am forced to ask questions if I ever want to find my way, and it’s horrifying. Just a deep breath and I’m ready to take on the world!! One small question at a time. 😉
Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a traveling partner stop you from going somewhere. Get out there. Travel. Explore. See new things. Get lost. Eat ice cream. It WILL be scary and intimidating at first. But the only way to overcome that fear is to face it head on! I promise it will be worth it.
❤ lil b