So why should you take a vacation at some point in your life completely by yourself? (And yes, you absolutely should). As opposed to with your family, your partner or friend(s) like people tend to generally do.
While I agree its wonderful, great fun, comfortable and very often preferable to travel with someone you are close with and to share the experience(s) of the trip with that person, there is also something very valuable and important about the experience of traveling alone.
I believe everyone should take at least one solo vacation in their lifetime, for at least 3-4 days (though 1 week is ideal. Not too long but not too short).
Here are the reasons I came up with:
1. Total personal freedom. Instead of having to plan and coordinate your travel itinerary/interests along with at least one another person's desires, when traveling alone it's 100% up to YOU! You can eat wherever you want to and whenever you feel like it, you can go and see whatever you would like to see. If you want to linger in that cafe for 3 hours, people-watching and reading a great book, go for it. If you want to take on that strenuous mountain hike, you can do so! If you feel like lounging on the beach or in a park for a few hours and just doing nothing, that works too. If you want to wile away the day shopping or in a museum, do it! You can literally do whatever your heart desires and tailor your activities to however your mood might strike you. No compromising or coordinating with anyone else required.
2. Confidence building. Big time. Many people are hesitant to do things alone. They may not be totally comfortable with their own company, feeling a need to surround themselves with others at all times. Maybe they feel anxious or insecure by the idea of doing things alone, or even just a bit bored by the thought of it. Well, you should enjoy your own company just as much as the company of others :-) this is an important life skill to acquire. It signals that one has a sense of inner peace, happiness and self confidence. Taking the plunge and traveling somewhere alone, even though it scares you, will sky-rocket your self esteem once you have done it. Sure, you may have moments of discomfort or loneliness on the trip, but this is normal. We have these moments throughout life in general anyway. But these will just be moments. The overall trip will be a wonderful thing. Once you return from your solo travels, you will feel strong and contented that you were able to do this on your own. AND have fun while doing it :-D
3. Meeting new people. When you travel as part of a pair or group, other people are less likely to approach you. However when you are alone, other fellow travels are much more inclined to approach and strike up conversation with you. If you enjoy meeting new and interesting people, this can be eye-opening and lots of fun. You will have the chance to meet fellow travelers like yourself and maybe even some locals! This can enrich your travel experience by volumes :-) depending on the people you meet and maybe even things you will experience with them!
4. Liberating. This basically falls into the same camp as confidence building. Throughout your trip as well as when you return, you will have many moments of feeling incredibly liberated by the fact that you had the confidence and courage to travel on your own. You will look back on the experience with awe and joy. You will find yourself telling friends and family tales from your solo travels frequently with a proud smile on your face (especially as most of them say "You're so brave to have done that alone, jeez, I would not have done that!"). What a great feeling!
5. Self Reliance. When one travels alone, there is no other person along for the ride that you can rely on. Therefore, it all comes down to you. You will need to figure out how to find your hotel within the winding, back cobblestoned streets. You will have to figure out how to navigate the city, communicate with locals, find out where things are, etc. If you find yourself in any temporary stressful situations (as fellow travelers know, this tends to happen at least once or twice per trip. Travel mishaps), you will need to manage and feel your way through it. Again, a great life skill to learn. Strength in the face of stressful moments. This results both in feeling liberated and self confident. And it always arms you with some entertaining stories to tell!
6. Great stories to tell others. Traveling alone will undoubtedly arm you with many wonderful tales to tell family and friends when you return. You will think back on these memories often with a mixture of pride and joy. And again, will feel awesome for having done it. Because many people do travel alone at some point, but many also do not. So that's a really neat thing to be able to say you have done! Boo yeah!
Speaking of traveling alone...stay tuned for my next post. I happen to be taking my own first solo trip in just 2 weeks. I am going to ITALY :-D
Next post will have details!!!!!!!!!!!!!!