Traveling through the world can be an awe-inspiring experience, giving you firsthand knowledge of how people from around the globe live their lives and go about their days. However, if you travel alone, you’re forced to focus your attention on just one person—yourself—and this type of self-reflection can be incredibly beneficial in helping you understand what makes up your worldview and how you view other people that may be different from you. As a solo traveler, here are my four major takeaways.
Perception Is Everything
Traveling is an exercise in perception. You learn so much about people and places when you experience them for yourself. It’s not just about eating gourmet food, seeing attractions, or checking things off your bucket list. That might be what gets you to travel, but it’s important to know that travel opens up doors of opportunity that are often closed due to your limited perspective.
Travel makes us more understanding of other cultures and how other people think.
Travel also gives us a chance to assess our priorities and deal with personal challenges in new ways. If there’s any one thing I have learned from traveling alone, it’s that it will open your eyes to how closed off you’ve been and how your perception has placed expectations on how you think the world should be.
Traveling alone is also an exercise in empathy and compassion. When we go out into unfamiliar territory, we’re forced to get to know people who are different from us because we may not have anyone else. In these circumstances, you get a see firsthand how your perception of the world has been shaped by things like race, religion, or socioeconomic demographic. And then realize how little those things even matter.
You Learn To Appreciate Yourself
When you spend time traveling alone, you develop a deeper appreciation for who you are and what you’ve accomplished . It also gives you an opportunity for introspection, which is something we don’t do enough of. If we’re constantly surrounded by people and always doing things, there isn’t much time left over for taking stock of who we are as individuals.
Spending time with yourself can be scary—you’ll be amazed at all the things that need to be addressed. But it’s important to recognize the parts within ourselves that need to be opened up to healing.
Self-reflection reminds us of our strengths and our weaknesses so that we can improve upon both. Robert Frost
Everyone Is on Their Own Journey
In general, those who spend time exploring new places on their own end up learning so much about who they are as people that they become more comfortable and confident with themselves than ever before.
We all walk different paths and make our own decisions. Traveling alone helped me realize two things: first, everyone is struggling through life in one way or another; second, I needed to stop judging other people’s journeys—everyone has their own story to tell. Being open to new perspectives taught me how to learn from others, and to always appreciate what you have at the moment because life can change quickly.
There’s no such thing as a perfect life. We’re all on a quest for happiness, whether we realize it or not. My favorite part is that it truly opened my eyes to how varied we are as humans—but also how much we’re the same.
Life Is Full of Surprises
Learning how to become comfortable with uncertainty is an important part of traveling solo. You can’t control anything or plan for everything. Whatever happens, you have to keep your mind open to new possibilities. In fact, if you can embrace unexpected obstacles that appear along your way, chances are you’ll grow as a person and enjoy the ride even more.
Sometimes the most uncomfortable situations that feel like misery at first can turn into incredible experiences. Accepting situations for what they are will help you enjoy the moment without letting negativity get in your way.
The world is full of beautiful and interesting things to see and do. Take advantage of them! It’s natural to be a little hesitant to travel alone, but you can learn a lot about yourself when there’s no one else around. You will be forced to confront your fears and gain independence in new situations. Although these challenges can feel uncomfortable at first, they help you grow as a person and become more open-minded in everything you do in life. The more often you face uncertainty and discomfort, the easier it gets to appreciate whatever experience comes your way.