“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” — Henry David Thoreau, author and poet
As I scour travel pages in the media recently, I notice an increase in the number of solo holiday advertisements. However, judging by the reaction I get to a planned solo trip, for many it is still seen as an intimidating, venture. Top concerns, I suppose, are language, getting lost, falling ill (especially as one gets older!) and safety. And yet the benefits of solo travel are extensive.
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” — Danny Kaye, actor
“Independence” (which I value so much) is enhanced by solo travelling and, without the support of a fellow traveler, I find I’m more likely to push myself and further my resilience. Although I live alone (most of the time), travelling alone forces me to step outside my comfort zone. Tailoring trips to cater entirely to my own level of mobility allows me to be less of conscious of what I can’t do and pushes me to greater levels of independence. Naturally I miss the support of friends and family and often suffer some panic before departure, However, the boost to confidence is immense.
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” — Rumi, poet and scholar
Traveling solo also requires me to challenge my need for others and experience and value just how helpful others can be. It’s amazing how far out of their way people will go when you request help — from simply “turning the map the right way round” to recommending places to visit and eat: looking for help makes it far more likely to develop friendships with locals or other tourists.
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” — Robin S. Sharma, author and inspirational speaker