- It’ s exciting
You. Your bag. Your passport.
2. You’ll become brave
The biggest bit of bravery you need is in booking that flight. Now you’ve booked it- just get on it.
I remember the first time I booked to go away alone- 21, freshly graduated and with a ticket to South East Asia, I suddenly wondered what the hell I was doing. I left the plane having shared life stories with a stranger for 7 hours (and slightly drunk….). Take the leap. And keep taking that leap when you get back. Take that bravery and apply it to jobs, relationships, friendships and life decisions.
3. You only have to answer to yourself…
Don’t fancy that temple? Don’t go. Want to eat breakfast for dinner? Do it. Want to sack off Thailand and get a last minute bus to Vietnam instead? Just do it (well, get a visa first as I found out…). From the small decisions to the big decisions, your path is your own. No arguments about who wants to go where. You’re free to drift as and where you choose…
4….. and you’ll learn a lot about yourself
There’s a reason people call it finding themselves…When you’re suddenly not forced to placate other people all the time, you find out what you truly enjoy and what you truly don’t. Free from the constraints of others judgement, people often unleash those hidden passions. Prefer reading on a beach to raving at full moon? No ones judging. And you may even find your tribe on that beach….
5. Dinner for one no longer seems ‘sad’
For some reason one of the most powerful things I feel you can do is learn to eat a meal alone. It’s often viewed as ‘sad’ or ‘strange’ for someone to visit a restaurant alone, but why shouldn’t you take yourself on a date when you find yourself having an evening alone? You’ll not only feel liberated, you won’t have to share….
6. You’ll meet more people when you’re alone
The paradox is true. As much as you may discover you love your own company, there’s no such thing as a beer pong game for one.
It’s easy when you’re with other people to sink into the comfort of the group and not bother to meet new people. But travelling alone forces you out of that comfort zone. And you never know the people you may meet, the adventures you may have, the lessons you’ll learn or the life long friendships you’ll build. I feel beyond blessed to have friends still living in all different corners of the world, who I met on my travels.
There’s also a beauty in those friendships that lasted an afternoon or a bus journey- short & sweet, without any false promises of staying in touch.
7. … and as a consequence you’ll never feel awkward again
When I entered into the world of work I never really got the whole ‘awkward networking’ thing. Okay, yes, in a forced environment, when everyone is trying to prove something, it can feel a little forced. But once you’ve flown yourself to the other side of the world and suddenly had to make friends with total strangers, a bit of networking feels like a walk in the park. Same goes for friends of friends, friends family and those slightly bitchy girls when you meet your new boyfriends group of mates…
8. You’ll get out of your comfort zone
Would I have ever jumped off that huge cliff into the lake in a national park in Sydney had I not been surrounded by my mates? No. Had I even considered fire breathing on a beach in Thailand before? Nah. Would I have eaten snake heart in Hanoi? Or taken a motorbike down the famous Hai Van Pass? Probably not… but surrounded by new friends and on crazy adventures, I did things I never thought I would have the balls to do.
9. You may never get this opportunity again
Okay, so this may not be strictly true- Eat Pray Love was all about one woman taking a break from life to go travel by herself, but we should appreciate the times in life when we can try travel alone, without the ties that can make it harder to go…
10. You’ll learn some common sense
Whoever said common sense can’t be learnt, hadn’t gone travelling alone. After navigating a train system in a language you don’t understand, defending your belongings on a sleeper bus and talking your way out of having all your cash taken in a dodgy Bangkok bar, you’ll certainly be more world wise. And you’ll never take Citymapper for granted again.
11. You’ll recognise human kindness
From a follower traveller offering to lend me money when all my cards got blocked abroad, to the Australian taxi driver who drove me around when I was (very temporarily) homeless, to the Japanese girl who took me by the hand and showed me the way when I was lost- you will be blown away by the acts of kindness of strangers. And maybe more inclined when you get home to not just ignore that tourist clearly lost, but pay that kindness forward.
12. You are not alone
The world is filled with incredible people, full of stories, love, adventures, laughter and fun to be had…. so get out there and meet them.