Over the past five years, I’ve taken lots of solo trips. I spent three months in Peru, a month in Costa Rica, a month in Bali and a long weekend in the Faroe Islands, all on my lonesome. Even though this sounds a little rude to say, I’ve kinda grown to prefer solo travel. At first, it was a little scary. Especially since my first trip was to South America by myself for months. I like to go big or go home. But I think that experience made me realize how amazing traveling by yourself can be.
It really pushes you out of your comfort zone, especially in a foreign country. I’ve gone to restaurants alone, done tours by myself, and literally spent weeks just with my own company. And honestly, it’s super peaceful. I’m really happy I did it and I find myself craving more solo travel adventures.
Here’s why I like to travel by myself:
Making my own schedule (or having no schedule at all!)
I really enjoy traveling by myself because I can do what I want when I want. When you’re investing time and money into a trip, you should be able to enjoy it in the way you want to and not on someone else’s agenda. Finding a good travel buddy is always a perk if you’re both into the same things and like to move at the same pace. For me, some days I like to walk all over and do a million things, and other days, I want to relax, soak in the scenery and do nothing. And when I’m by myself, I can do that without worrying if anyone else wants to do that too…because I’m alone. I’ve also had so much fun traveling with my friends and family, but those kinda trips are just different. When I am by myself, the biggest perk is being able to do whatever I want with the day ahead.
Meeting new people
I feel like when I’ve traveled by myself, I’ve met so many awesome, nice people. I think when you’re alone, you’re more approachable and it’s easier to start a conversation with other people than when you’re with your group of people. I’ve met people from all over the world in places all over the world. When you’re alone, you have the time and the freedom to make new connections with people. And it can get lonely, so you’re more likely to try to meet others. I really love this part of solo travel and it’s why I’ll never delete my Facebook account because I’d lose the connection with all these friends I’ve made along the way.
Peace and quiet
Seriously there is nothing more peaceful to me than waking up in a hotel room by myself. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to really clean it and it’s always comfortable and I feel safe. Spending quality time alone is when I’ve felt the most peaceful in my life. When I was in Bali, I barely had phone service and the WiFi was spotty – so I was pretty disconnected from the world. I spent days on days sitting by myself at the pool, reading a book or staring at a rice field. It was so calm and so peaceful. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed with real life, I think about that time and instantly feel relaxed again. It was so chill and very zen.
Pushes me out of my comfort zone
When I’m at home, it’s so easy to fall into a routine. I go to the same places, see the same people, do the same things, and eat the same things. It gets super comfy (especially working from home!) I love going places by myself because it forces me out of my comfort zone. In Peru, I hiked in Colca Canyon and did the Inca Trail. If I had known what I was signing up for, I never would have done it. I’m terrified of heights. But I was naive and wanted to see those things – so I signed up and went and found myself on the edge of a canyon and a mountain for days straight. And it was amazing! I had to get over my fear unless I wanted to pay thousands of dollars for a helicopter to airlift me out. I don’t think I constantly need to be living life on the edge, but I do think it’s good to try new things, especially things you’re afraid of.
Forces me to figure things out
I know I’m making solo travel sound very glamorous and peaceful, but it can also be super stressful and a little scary at times. I’ve gotten lost in random neighborhoods in South America and thought: Well, this has been nice. And I can never have falafel again after some super food poisoning I got to enjoy on a solo trip. Those are the moments I wanted to click my heels and teleport home asap. But I was forced to suck it up and figure it out.
Living in the moment
When you’re with other people, you spend most of your time talking to them and listening (unless you’re a total jerk). But when you’re on your lonesome, there’s nothing to distract you from the present moment. Some of my favorite memories in life are riding alone on a bus looking at the scenery for hours. I’ve been to so many Incan ruins alone (including Machu Picchu) and to volcanoes and temples and waterfalls. And I feel like I really got to soak them all in because I was just there, not talking, just being. And taking a million pictures.
Feeling of accomplishment
Honestly, after traveling by myself to places for extended periods of time, I feel like my confidence in myself has increased exponentially. As weird as it might sound, I know I can rely on myself and I don’t necessarily need anyone else to take care of things for me (although it definitely can be nice, not gonna lie!) But after each trip, it feels good to know I did that all by myself. Like I got on a plane by myself and flew to Lima and safely managed three months of volunteering and bus rides and canyons and hiking and exploring cities on my own. (And almost becoming a South American godmother – my favorite story!) Surviving that food poisoning felt like a huge achievement. If other people had been there, I would have had a different attitude (and probably complained a lot more). It feels really good to know that I’m an independent modern lady who can travel the globe on her own.