Solo Travel: The Psychological Benefits Of A Journey Of Exploration
Become a more interesting and dynamic person!
Traveling can be a huge opportunity for personal growth. When you visit a different place, you have the chance to be exposed to a totally new way of life—new culture, new sights, new people. You broaden your horizons in terms of the many types of lifestyles one can lead.
Many people travel with loved ones—a romantic partner, friends, family, kids—and while these trips are worthwhile in their own ways for bonding with these special individuals in your life, there’s a strong case to be made about the benefits of traveling by yourself. Solo travel turns a vacation into a true exploration, both of the place you visit and of the inner workings of your own self.
While there are a number of psychological benefits of taking a solo trip, these are the top reasons you should book a trip for one ASAP.
You’ll get quality time with yourself.
Many people don’t get a lot of downtime to just be with themselves. When you embark on a solo trip, you get the chance to clear your mind, de-stress and enjoy new experiences—and then just sit with yourself. While the prospect of this can be a little unnerving, the practice of traveling alone is highly worthwhile.
Being by yourself in a different place gives you the chance to tap into your inner knowing and anything you’ve been putting off actually thinking about. If you have a big decision to make or feel like you’re at a crossroads in your life, taking a solo trip can help you find the clarity you need to move forward.
You get the opportunity to focus on your needs and wants.
When you travel with other people, you often have to defer to that group when it comes to planning the itinerary. Even if you’re just taking a vacation with your partner, you’re going to have to compromise at least some things since you’re not the only person on the trip. When you’re traveling by yourself, you get to call all of the shots.
But this perk isn’t just limited to doing what you want, when you want. (Although, that is a really big upside to solo travel). When you travel alone, you get to really check in with what you need and want—not only during this trip but in your life. Each decision you make for yourself puts you one step closer to really understanding what excites you, makes you happy and helps you feel true to you.
You’ll practice being outside of your comfort zone.
One of the best parts about traveling in general is how being in a new place forces you to shake up your everyday routine. You may need to try new foods or read a new language in order to get by when you reach your destination.
Navigating a new place completely on your own can feel daunting at first, however, getting outside of your comfort zone on a vacation is good practice for rolling with the unexpected events of life when you’re back home.
You’ll work your mental muscles.
Traveling is good exercise for your brain. Reading maps, public transport schedules and menus, especially when they’re not in your native language, provides your mind with lots of stimulation. In many cases, you’ll also get a chance to practice your problem solving skills when you travel, as even the most meticulously planned trips always come with a curveball or two.
Finally, you’ll be able to work on your decision making skills since you’re the only one there to make the calls about where to go, what to do, when and how. When you’re doing all of these things on your own, your brain really gets a workout and you get to take pride in your ability to figure it all out by yourself.
You’ll become more self-sufficient.
When you travel by yourself, you’re the only person you can really rely on to get you from place to place and figure out your next moves. If you’re used to deferring to your partner or friends when it comes to making decisions or solving problems in your day to day life, traveling by yourself can really shake things up.
As you travel alone, you learn that you really can be a leader and do things on your own. This will help you become more self-sufficient in your normal life and allow you to take a more commanding role in various relationships and situations, if you so choose.
You’ll make new friends.
It’s easy to get lonely when you travel alone. You may feel compelled to chat with strangers more than you normally would, allowing you to connect with new people and make some friends, or at least acquaintances, along the way. Connecting with locals and fellow travelers will further expand your horizons by giving you the chance to get to know people you typically wouldn’t have.
This could lead you to becoming more open minded, and less judgemental, of people in general. Plus, when you see how easy it is for you to connect with new people, you’ll soon be reminded that you’re a pretty awesome person yourself.
You’ll improve your self esteem.
Solo travel helps boost your confidence. Getting the chance to tap into your wants and needs, really listening to your inner voice and guiding yourself through a new place are all great for your self esteem. Traveling alone builds your relationship with yourself, allowing you to not only trust yourself more but perhaps love yourself more as well.
As you spend each day doing what you truly want to do and being the one to steer the course of your journey, you’ll realize how incredible you really are.
You’ll feel the effects of your journey long after your trip is over.
Finally, it’s important to know that the psychological benefits of solo travel don’t end once you’ve arrived home and unpacked your suitcase. You’ve laid a foundation of confidence, self reliance and trust in yourself and this will continue to build as you take what you’ve learned from your travels into your own life. You can apply your stronger problem solving skills to situations at work and at home and you can better handle those times when you’re out of your comfort zone by reflecting on how you weathered that feeling when you were traveling.
Going to new places and experiencing new things can make anyone a more dynamic, interesting person. But doing these things by yourself can have even farther reaching mental effects to help shape who you are for the better.