It’s apparent from my encounters that it’s not only women who fear travelling solo, there are also guys out there who fear this to. It’s extremely important for us to always challenge ourselves; push to be better versions of ourselves each and every day. Now, I am no expert in solo travel and I certainly don’t have all the answers but after learning so much from 12 months of being on the road solo I would love to share with you and hopefully be some kind moral support if you’re thinking of doing the same, no matter what gender you are.
Just like everything else, practice makes perfect. I do believe that learning is endless but at least you’re certain that you get better at it, whatever ‘it’ is. For solo travel, the act pushes your boundaries. It will make you, at times break you, test you and change you – all in a good way. Instead of letting your decisions in life be lead by fear you learn to face them and go in the direction of your dreams confidently. Growth happens. You evolve and become more confident in standing strong on our own, being vulnerable and knowing; accepting and loving, who you truly are.
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
The comfort zone. It’s warm, fuzzy, feels good and oh so secure… Why would you want to leave? But you know there’s also more right? Some of us attend to the curiosity and have the courage to step out whilst others stay in this bubble for the majority of their lives. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be absolutely terrifying, but once you do it you will surely think to yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. This is where the magic happens, trust me. I’m not talking about magic in the mystical sense but the kind of magic that exists and can happen to any one of us if we are open to it.
I learned from a really young age that when you throw yourself in the deep end you have two options: you either sink or swim. You will have no one else to depend on except for yourself when you travel solo, from the little things like carrying heavy bags and booking all transport/ accommodation, and the more challenging aspects like navigating through a new place and adapting to certain situations that don’t go in your favour. You also identify what you really want to do, no sacrificing for anyone else, you make your own decisions, learn on your own accord and figure out everything on your own. To sum it up: it’s liberating and it’s empowering.
Please don’t travel and ignore the culture, be completely unresponsive to the language, or choose to do what you can do at home. Overflow your experience with everything unique that the country has to offer. Nothing is a waste of time if we learn to take experience as growth. All the things you will experience teach you something if you open yourself up. If we have never felt sadness then we would never know what happiness feels like. If we never felt how sleeping on a bad mattress was like then we would never appreciate what sleeping on an amazing mattress feels like. These little things that we tend to overlook. These experiences that we never stop to think about the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. This is what shapes us and where we learn, ultimately making it the best teacher.
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” –C. S. Lewis
There are so many things in this world to be discovered and inspiration is everywhere. You may find it in vibrant colonial architecture, the energy and rhythm of life in a particular city, the style of costumes in a traditional dance, or the distinct scent from a ceremony. You will be left to take all your experiences in and truly be inspired by what you are personally drawn to. The beauty of travel is that we all see things differently, but will sure to be inspired in some way, shape or form.
TO LOVE & LEARN
When you travel solo there are so many things that will happen unexpectedly – both good and bad. You become more patient and understanding when something goes wrong. You appreciate the simple things that bring joy. You attract the same wave of energy from people that you produce internally. You learn to love others with an open heart. You learn to look at every situation with an open mind, seeing the true beauty of life. Most importantly, you learn to love yourself; flaws and all.
YOU CREATE YOURSELF
There is that popular cliché of people ‘finding themselves’ when they travel solo out there in the world. Honestly though, I completely disagree. I think when you set out on your own you instead, create yourself. You show yourself who you really are, or who you can be in all the different scenarios you will find yourself in. Your true character will show in how you treat those who can do nothing for you. On the road you can be anyone you want to be… but it’s a beautiful thing when you choose to be yourself – to create yourself – to know who you really are.
Aubrey is the creative and curious mind behind The Love Assembly, a digital destination where she travels and captures the world through photography and words.