There are certain decisions you make that influence the course of your life. Maybe not a 180% directional change, but it might’ve become significant turning points.
Travelling solo was one of them for me.
I took my first solo trip back in 2016. I was SO scared y’all. But I wanted to step out of my comfort zone so backing out of the idea wasn’t an option. I decided to strike a balance between being so scared that I’d pee my pants but also uncomfortable enough that I’d experience something new. Eventually I’ve settled on Vancouver. It is right beside Toronto, and I have relatives there. If anything goes south, it wouldn’t be the end of the world (…I think).
And oh my. What a decision. I’ve never expected to enjoy it as much as I did, let alone having it change my perspectives on things. Now I’m addicted.
Ever since, I tried to go on a solo trip once every year. I first went back to Vancouver a few times (cause I loved it so much!); then in the last 2 years, I’ve “levelled up” and went to Peru and Taiwan alone.
*All photos in this blog are from my Peru trip. I’ll be writing about my trips in the future. Keep an eye out!*
Here’s how travelling solo has changed me:
1. How I See Myself
I’ve always thought I know myself pretty well…until I went on a solo trip. You don’t truly know who you are or what you are capable of until you allow yourself the opportunity to do so. Sometimes you think you are this way, but that might only be half the picture. You may know how you act during your day-to-day, but do you know how different you may be when you are in a different environment? Here’s how I see myself now:
DependentIndependent A scaredy catCourageous (ish) AnxiousCalm Not street-smartResourceful Don’t like travellingOpen-minded
I “was” dependent and more of a book-smart kinda gal than street-smart. But I was only all these because I’ve been living with my family and have gotten used to relying on others. But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable, it just means I need to give myself the chance to reach my full potential.
2. How I Approach Self-Growth
I had a limited view of self-growth. Back then, I focused a lot on knowledge and skills development through taking classes, reading articles, doing side projects, and talking to people. I still do all these. But I forgot about my growth in beliefs and characteristics. When you travel alone, it grooms you 3x faster.
Now I make more time for new experiences. As typical as it sounds, stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the keys to huge self-growth.
3. How I Spend My Time
I have a new appreciation for alone time. When I’m by myself, I can reflect and relax without distractions. It’s calming. I also see more little nuggets of greatness when I’m alone. Like the time when I was in Vancouver, I noticed everyone would literally scream “thank you!!!” to the driver from the back of the bus when they get off. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. That got me smiling for a good 5 mins on the bus (quite creepy, but you can’t fight the happiness).
FOMO (fear of missing out) isn’t much of an issue for me anymore, because I know I can still have a good time by myself.
4. How I See the World Around Me
Everything seems so much smaller as you see the world more, especially after visiting countries that are different from the city life I’m used to. I used to think having bad days at work is the end of the world (I’m silly I know), but when I reflect on how diverse the world is, and all the different things people in the world are dealing with, my problems feel minuscule.
I now worry less and enjoy the little things more. My problems in the grand scheme of things happening in the world, are often not as big of a deal as I perceive.
5. How I Travel
I always thought travelling with others and visiting popular landmarks are what make vacations fun. Yes that could be parts of it. But I realize I have the most fun when I do whatever I feel like doing at the moment. I’d have a great time spontaneously exploring a nearby neighbourhood instead of going to a place on Expedia’s “must visit” list. I’d feel awesome when I end up eating random street foods for dinner instead of dining in at a well-known restaurant.
Travelling solo gave me the flexibility to do that. I don’t have to compromise or stick to the plan if I don’t feel like to. I don’t have to talk to keep people company if I want to stay quiet. And if I want to take a nap, then I sure will be taking that sweet nap.
Everyone has a different travel style. Knowing what it is, helps me prevent conflicts when travelling with friends. My friends and I now share how we travel ahead of time so there won’t be unpleasant surprises.
6. How I View Challenges
Bring it on baby! …Really though, this sums it up.
Knowing that I am more capable and courageous than I thought, I’m now less scared to take on challenges. I believe I can overcome them as long as I try my best. Things will work itself out. And if it doesn’t…then oh well it is what it is LOL.
My Final Thoughts
I highly encourage everyone to travel alone at least once in their life. It may not impact you the same way it did for me, but that’s the beauty of it. You don’t know what you will get out of it, until you go for that solo trip. Everyone’s experience will be unique and will grow you in ways you might not have expected.
Have you travelled alone before? Or have considered doing it? I’d love to know what your thoughts are on solo travelling in the comments below!