I think solo travel gets a scary reputation that it doesn't deserve. It might be slightly intimidating to think about setting off on your own adventure in a foreign land but isn't life about challenges? About pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and learning more about yourself and others? I once heard someone say, "If you wait for people to travel with you will never go." I think that's the best reason to travel solo you can find. Here are 5 reasons why you should travel this year and why it's even better by yourself.
1) “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” -Bill Bryson
Traveling drops you into an unfamiliar land. You don't know where the best food is, where to get a morning coffee, or how to navigate the streets. Nothing is the same as where you live and nothing is the same as how you live. You may not understand the language, be hesitant to try the food, and scared to get lost. It's a huge challenge to overcome but when you make it through it's incredibly rewarding. Traveling solo adds an extra challenge. Not only is everything new but you have no one to rely on. It's just you, taking on a new challenge, all alone. This however is not a bad thing. When you travel alone you give yourself the luxury of getting lost, of missing the bus, ending up in a cafe, taking a last minute tour, or deciding to add another country to your trip without having to run it by another person. You make your own trip and overcome the challenges by yourself. Overcoming the unfamiliar is how we grow. We have done it our whole lives. Travel allows you to do it all over again, all at once, and the reward and growth is unmeasurable.
2) “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
This one piggybacks off of my first point a little. Leaving the familiarity of home takes a little courage, especially Leaving by yourself, however nothing was discovered by doing the same thing over and over again. Columbus got to America by traveling a different direction than people had always traveled. The pilgrims left everything they ever knew in order to pursue something better. Life is about more than staying in our comfort zone. It is meant to be lived to the fullest. We are called to challenge ourselves and grow. “A ship in a harbor is safe, but it not what ships are build for.” -John A. Shedd
3) “At its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding.” –Arthur Frommer
Travel forces us to change how we see other people and places. When we travel we can no longer make assumptions about how other countries and cultures function. It forces us to see the truth. It challenges our beliefs. One of the most shaking things as americans is to visit people with no money and see how rich they are. Travel forces us to open our eyes to things that matter. To see our way of life as just a different way of living. No culture is superior to others just because they have more money or technological advancement. It's important to know that your way of living isn't the only way.
4) “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar
This is something that I have thought for a long time. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. None of us are guaranteed we will be in a condition that allows us to travel. If we put off what we can do today for tomorrow there is no guarantee we will be able to do it. What good is a bucket list if you put everything off until a time you can no longer check items off the list? Don't gamble on later, go on an adventure today.
5) “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”
Travel may cost money but you get rich on memories and experience. Travel is an investment in your personal growth. Like our first 3 points explained travel forces you to overcome challenges and see yourself and the world in new ways. That is something that not many other investments can buy. As Henry Miller says, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." Travel is not about simply checking a new place off a list. It is challenging yourself to see the world in a new light, to grow, to change your preconceptions, and to experience life. If traveling has taught me anything so far it is this, being rich is not about the money you have it's the adventures you take, memories you make, and people you love.