At the time of writing this post I have been traveling the world, solo, for just shy of 4 solid years. I have had some of the most authentic experiences imaginable. I can tell you with 100% certainty that traveling the world is good for the soul.
9 Reasons Why Solo Travel is Good for the Soul:
- Relax, Unwind, & Recharge
- Feeling of Freedom
- Meet New People / Make Friends
- Understand Different Cultures/Perspectives
- Forces You to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Boost Your Self Confidence
- Improve Your Problem Solving Skills
- Learn About Yourself
- Feeling of Accomplishment
1) Relax, Unwind, & Recharge
Almost anybody can agree that non-stop work is extremely stressful. Deadlines, meetings, angry bosses, angry customers, annoying coworkers, high traffic commuting, required continuing education, overtime…shall I go on? No. I’ll stop there lol. You get the idea. Just like a traditional vacation, solo traveling is no different. It always feels amazing to simply get away from our current life and unwind with a drink in our hand with our feet up in the air – without doing anything at all.
One of the best feelings is simply a lack of responsibility. Not only does it feel good to relax it is also good for our health. Relaxing can reduce stress significantly. And we all know stress is related to countless ailments within the body, both physical and mental. Be sure to check out the signs from work that you need to go on a solo trip.
2) Feeling of Freedom
What does it feel like to not have deadlines? What does it feel like to not have a boss breathing down your neck? What does it feel like to not have to deal with angry customers? What does it feel like to not have to go into work when you just want to sleep? What does it feel like to completely avoid the judgment of society in your native country?
If you don’t know what it feels like to be without these things, then you need solo travel in your life! To be away from these negativities for weeks or even months here and there, is a massive release of stress. Learn more about signs that indicate that you need to go on a solo trip and take a break from work.
Modern-day stress is no joke. We all need time to unwind and relax a bit. When we begin to travel alone we begin to let go of all of these negativities and we will feel unbelievably free during our travel. The feeling of freedom is almost unsurpassable.
3) Meet New People / Make Friends
Meeting local people while traveling is probably my favorite part about traveling the world solo. As you travel the world – you will realize that people behave differently, think differently, and have completely different personalities when compared to your home country.
Yet with all of these differences, we are still able to connect and build a friendship with each other. I can honestly say that I have a massive amount of friends from all over the world. I can pick up the phone and call many of them and they would offer me a place to stay at the drop of a hat. I feel very fortunate.
Some people I have met on the internet, and then we coordinated a time to meet together in person. Other people I met while walking alone on the streets of their country. They approached me, started to talk with me, and the friendship grew from there. Meeting new people is the best way to learn about foreign cultures.
4) Understand Different Cultures/Perspectives
Along with meeting new people, understanding and being a part of new culture is my other favorite part about being a Solo Traveler. These are both major factors on my list of Pros & Cons while Traveling Alone. Because I am alone, it is very easy for me to meet new people (being alone makes solo travelers approachable).
When I meet new people I ask a lot of questions. When I ask a lot of questions I get a lot of answers that help me understand the thinking-process of people within a country as well as the culture that runs through the veins of the people.
There are many countries in which I still do not fully understand the culture, but it is still quite interesting to walk around and explore. Sometimes I have experienced cultures in which I thought people were rude. But it turns out that these actions were just normal to the locals – even though, as an American, we would interpret these actions as being rude.
As a person starts to travel solo to different countries, they will soon realize how drastically different people are throughout the world. These differences are what I live for! – they are so interesting to me! Hopefully you also find them interesting.
5) Forces You to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable. No joke. I have grown numb to this feeling. I cannot tell you how many times I have traveled to another country where I cannot speak the language, and simply started walking down the street. Within the first few hours or days of visiting a new country, it can be quite overwhelming and confusing. New laws, new rules, new regulations, new culture, new language, new customs, new food, the list goes on and on…
And if you do something wrong you may offend someone, embarrass yourself, draw attention to yourself, or end up in jail. Luckily the last one has never happened to me.
The reality is that I can continue to live in fear of everything that I have just mentioned, or, I can step out of my comfort zone and hit everything head-on. Sure, I have definitely embarrassed myself multiple times, and drawn a lot of tension to myself multiple times, and even offended a few people entirely by accident – but that is all part of the journey! The more times you step out of your comfort zone, the more confident you become with yourself.
6) Boost Your Self Confidence
After traveling to many countries and having countless experiences within those countries, I can tell you that my confidence level has increased dramatically. As a solo traveler, I must plan everything. I am responsible for almost 100% of everything that does or does not happen during my travels.
After traveling for weeks, months, or even years at a time, I have started to become more confident because of the constant requirement to plan ahead, coordinate, and execute everything with little error. These plans could involve getting from point A to point B on a bus, train, taxi, motorbike, boat, plane, or even a rickshaw.
This may sound simple, but when you are thrown in a foreign country where no one understands your native language, things can become complicated extremely fast! The same thing goes for purchasing food at a restaurant or grocery store. Or maybe meeting local people and hanging out. Or even exploring a tourist area while all alone.
After doing these things so many times in so many different countries with so many different language barriers, I have become significantly more confident in my ability to handle almost any situation.
7) Improve Your Problem Solving Skills
Traveling alone in a foreign country can be one of the most difficult challenges. Some see this as frustrating and some see this as incredibly interesting. I usually find it quite interesting.
Imagine being in a foreign country where almost nobody speaks your native language. English, for example. You just arrived via airplane and you are about ready to exit the airport. Taxi drivers approach you and start speaking to you in their native language. You ask them if they speak English and they shake their head no. You immediately become nervous and wonder how you are going to communicate basic things to the local people. This is where problem solving skills come in.
During my travels I have learned that body language is always the first language. I can usually communicate massive amounts of information to another person without even speaking more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – which usually everybody understands.
In this particular situation, it is good to have a local SIM card for internet data and Google Translate downloaded onto your phone. This will allow you to speak into your phone and it will translate immediately into the local language which they can then understand. The local person can speak into your phone and the app will translate it back into English. Most languages around the world are built into this app.
But, language is not the only problem to solve. Sometimes you may want to go and explore an area, or visit a temple, or go do something unique. You will have many questions and all of this requires research either via the Internet or by asking local people. Local rules, laws, and regulations are sometimes quite different in each country. And let’s not even get started on the culture.
There’s a lot of information that we must be aware of during our travels and this all requires problem solving skills and your ability to adapt, constantly.
8) Learn More About Yourself
While traveling alone, I have gotten to know myself quite a bit. You may think you know yourself quite well. And you do, to a certain extent. However I can promise you that you will start to learn more about yourself on a deeper level when you start to travel the world solo.
You will start to make day-to-day choices that start to expose more of your habits. You will consistently make choices about fun travel plans which will tell you more about your subconscious interests. You may or may not start to set goals while you are traveling on the road which will then give you more information about yourself.
Whether you know it or not, you are in control of your own happiness. Every situation that you come in contact with can be interpreted as positive or negative. The amount of times that you choose to focus on the positive side of things will have an impact on your overall happiness level.
How happy you are, or how happy you choose to be, also tells you about yourself. The longer you are on the road the more you will get to learn about yourself – which eventually leads to finding yourself. I promise.
9) Feeling of Accomplishment
After returning home, and eventually we all will, we will have a feeling of accomplishment that so many others we’ll never have.
It is a feeling that reminds us about the endless planning it took to make this all happen. It’s a feeling that reminds us that we were able to break the language barrier. It will also remind us that we were able to immerse ourselves into another society and culture that is completely foreign to us. It will also remind us that we were able to build friendships with people on the other side of Earth who were from a completely different background and culture.
The list goes on… The longer the person stays on the road, then the greater the sense of accomplishment.
Final Thoughts about Solo Traveling
In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t a whole lot of people who would enjoy traveling solo. Many people don’t want to do all of the planning and coordination, and also, many people want to travel with a close friend. To be honest, it does take a special kind of person to be a solo traveler.
After two months on the road, I decided to quit my job and never look back. If you have never tried solo traveling, I highly recommend that you try it. You definitely don’t have to do something extreme like me, but I do definitely recommend giving solo travel a try at least once, even if it’s for a week or two and as a Guided Solo Traveler. I promise you, your soul will definitely thank you.