How To Find Yourself When Solo Traveling

We have all heard the stories of people who were lost, confused, and disoriented in life, and so they go on a long journey around the world. After they return home, they appear to be a completely new person. They sometimes have more courage, more motivation, they’re more focused, but yet, they choose to live a much more simple, basic, and humble lifestyle. 

Most of us think that he/she ‘found themselves’. And well, you are quite correct. It is an interesting topic indeed. I believe that far too many people are overlooking what this means. Many people are looking for certain destinations rather than breaking down the actual process that happens. Today, I will share with you what actually helps you to ‘find yourself’.

To ‘find yourself’, you must either mentally block the societal pressures within your native country, or, go to a foreign country where your current cultural norms simply don’t exist. When you are completely free from the pressures of society, you can then start making decisions completely and solely on your own – without any outside influence. Once you start to make decisions without the pressures of society, you will have finally discovered who you really are – rather than being who society wanted you to be!

to Find Yourself While Solo Traveling, ignore social pressure
Definitely no social pressure at the top of this cliff in Udaipur, India…

You Are Currently Under Cultural Pressure

Without realizing it, everyone is bombarded with cultural pressures. In fact, these pressures are so strong that decisions are actually influenced by them. These societal pressures affect our lives in every way. Let’s look at a few examples. 

  • Vehicle – Imagine showing up to work in a 20 year old vehicle full of rust and engine problems. You get out of your car and everybody can see you. You become embarrassed because of the vehicle that you drive.
  • Clothing – The clothing that you choose to wear does not match the majority of society.  People often give you strange looks because of the clothing that you wear.
  • Religion – If you have a religion that is different from everyone around you, you feel shy to respond when someone asks you if you attend church or not.
  • Education – If you attend a local community college and learn math, you are viewed differently than people who attended a famous university in learned the same math. 2+2 in both schools still equals 4, but yet, it is embarrassing to tell people about the university that you attended.
  • Career – You work as a laborer, so it is embarrassing to tell people what job you have.
  • Marriage – People that are the same age as you have started to get married and have children. People often ask you why you haven’t had either. You feel pressured.
  • Body – Your body does not look like the men / women in the famous magazines. So you try to cover each part of your body that you feel isn’t perfect. 

The list goes on…

getting away from your cultural pressure will help you Find Yourself When Solo Traveling
Nobody here in Iceland expects me to be like them..

There’s a Good Possibility That You Haven’t Ever Found Yourself

That’s probably the craziest statement that you have heard all day. I know, it does sound a little bit crazy. But hear me out…

After reading above, hopefully you have been reminded of many pressures within society that exist today.

So many of our decisions are easily influenced by our cultural surroundings. I am quite confident that you have made decisions in your life based on what people expected you to do. Here are some examples of how this works in your native country:

  • You may have chosen to purchase a specific kind or color of car because you would have been embarrassed to purchase some of the others colors/types.
  • You may have behaved a certain way around a person who is of a specific faith, because you didn’t know how they would think of you if you didn’t behave in that certain way. 
  • You may have chosen to go to a different University because certain people would make you feel ashamed if you went to the College of your choice. 
  • Maybe you wanted to go down a specific career path in life, but you were influenced by friends and family to do something else. You never achieved your dream job. 
  • Maybe you hide certain tattoos on your body because you are scared of what people will think about you. 
  • Maybe you do your hair a certain way just to fit in because the style that you actually want would not be accepted by many people. 
  • Maybe you were attracted to a specific individual, but your peers told you that you should choose someone else. So you listened to them. 
  • Maybe you wanted to purchase a specific shirt but your friends laughed at you and told you it doesn’t suit you very well. So you didn’t buy it. 

I could give you examples all day long in which people around you have influenced your decisions on a day-to-day basis. Some of them have been simple decisions and some of them have been potentially life-altering decisions. If you have never realized this in the past, you have certainly started to realize it now.

getting away from your native culture help you Find Yourself When Solo Traveling
Definitely no western cultural pressure here in Jodhpur, India!

Understanding Different Perspectives Will Help You To Find Yourself

Within the first 24 hours of traveling in a foreign country, you will realize that the culture is different from your own. As a week goes by, you will really start to understand the minor, and even major differences between their culture and yours. You will start to notice that people make decisions and prioritize things in a completely different way than people in your home country.

As you start to walk around a foreign country, you’ll realize some of the following :

  • The style of your clothing is completely different from the style of the local people. Local people have absolutely no way of judging you by the clothing that you are wearing. They are clueless to your ‘rank’ in society based on what you are wearing. The only way they can judge you is based on the amount of respect that you give and the kindness that you show.
  • You visited a friend in a foreign country by using the public bus rather than a personal car. But they do not judge you for taking a public bus because. Taking a local bus is normal in their country. Nobody feels embarrassed by not owning their own personal car. That is not even a thing.
  • In the country that you’re visiting, just attending a University is a big deal. Going to a specific University is not important at all. Higher education of any kind is a privilege.
  • In the country that you’re visiting, rarely do people get to choose their own job. Their parents tell their children what to study and what job that they will have in the future. It is wrong to disobey your parents wishes.
  • When you are traveling abroad, people sometimes see your tattoos and ask you about them. They think that the tattoos are amazing and they ask you if you have more.
  • While traveling, you wear your hair in the exact way that you want. Nobody laughs at you. In fact, people have complimented you on your hairstyle.

Again, the list goes on…

It is an interesting feeling when we are not surrounded by the constant pressures of society that we are used to. 

to Find Yourself While Solo Traveling, get away from your native culture
These Vietnamese villagers were happy to greet me. No need to change…

When Little Things Don’t Matter Anymore, You Have Found Yourself

I think that everyone, to some degree, has tried to pretend to be someone that they are not…simply to fit into their own society a little bit better. It is only when these societal pressures disappear that we can finally feel what it’s like to act based on our own desires. This is the feeling of freedom. The feeling of you. You have now found yourself.

When we enter a new country, or a series of countries on a long traveling journey, we are deprived of our normal culture. We are exposed to entirely new methods of thinking. Therefore, the local people do not understand your cultural norms. 

Because of this, there is no pressure or expectation that you need to do any of those things that you did need to do in your home country. Many of you who are reading this right now have absolutely no idea what this feels like.  

I can tell you with 100% certainty, that it is a magical feeling. Is a feeling of no limitations. It is a feeling of complete freedom. It is absolutely wonderful. Not a single day goes by where people tell me that I should do something differently. 

People understand that I am a foreigner, and they have no idea what my culture is like. Everything that I do that is different from their current culture, so my decisions are simply accepted because they don’t know what the norm is in my culture.

to Find Yourself While Solo Traveling, be sure to surround yourself with a different culture
This group of Filipinos never told me to be different in any way..

Returning Home After Finding Yourself

I can guarantee that after you experience many of the things mentioned in the above paragraphs, your mindset will start to change. After you return home, people will notice that you have a slightly different personality. You have learned what it is like to simply ‘be you’. The person who is comfortable with who they are, with or without influence from anyone else. Congratulations, you have learned about who you actually are, rather than who society has always wanted you to be.

Surround yourself with a different cultural pressure will help you Find Yourself When Solo Traveling
The people in China did not expect me to be anything other than myself..

You Don’t Need To Travel To Find Yourself, But it Sure Does Help

Now, it is possible to ‘find yourself’ without even leaving your home country. All the person needs to do is simply ignore what society pushes upon them. Obviously this is easier said than done.

Just remember to simply be you and to be confident while being you. This is your life, not theirs. If anyone offers you advice, take it with a grain of salt because there is no need to follow anyone else’s demands other than your own. 

I must say, though, it is so much more fun to find yourself simply by traveling abroad. The societal pressures are instantly removed when you step off of the plane. 

When you are unable to travel and are stuck in your home country, you are still able to mentally block the societal pressures. This is more difficult. But it is completely possible. 

I sincerely hope this helped you understand the basics of finding yourself. Happy travels!


Hey - I'm Brock. I grew up in the USA, and I have been a full-time Solo Traveler since June of 2016. I am also a Travel Vlogger on YouTube where my primary focus is to simply hang out with local people around the world. My full story is here: About Me

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