I was a 20-year-old college student with an intense desire to see and experience the world. I was incredibly ambitions when planning my first solo trip around Europe before beginning my study abroad course in York, England.
I chose my university in the states because of the extensive study abroad programs offered. I also made the active decision to NOT invite anyone along on my ventures. I believed in myself, I knew I was capable of handling what a few weeks of backpacking life could throw my way. Did I know what I would gain from this experience? Not at all. I dove in head first without expectations. I planned, booked, and prepared all of the details myself; my first time doing so. It was my first time living out of a backpack. It was also my first time traveling alone.
What leads me to do it alone? I learned from an early age that if I wait on others, I will never fully realize my dreams. So, I travel on my own terms. Don’t get me wrong, I was a bit nervous, but my excitement trumped all of my nerves. Whether you are experienced or heading out on your first solo adventure, traveling alone can be scary. But, leaving this planet without experiencing everything this vast and diverse world has to offer is even scarier.
Want to know true freedom? Solo travel is one definite way to experience it. Every day it’s just you; you can do what you want, go where you want, and leave when you want. In that freedom, you begin to see your true self and touch your limits, both positive and negative. These self-discoveries are often difficult to attain with others by your side.
Lesson 1: Don’t wait on others, just GO! You may venture out alone, but you will make many friends along the way. I would never have made it through were it not for the help of the many wonderful souls I met along my journey. I am incredibly thankful for everyone I encountered and all that I have experienced. You are never truly alone, you will always find people who are willing to help.
Lesson 2: You are where you need to be. Take each experience as it comes and learn to stay present. Flow with life instead of fighting it. Venture without expectation.
Lesson 3: You learn how to survive…really survive. You meet your raw self. You gain faith and confidence in your gut reactions. You learn your way around a new place and how to make friends. Personal growth is the best reward solo travel has to offer. Every time you make the conscious decision to be with yourself in this way, you become more independent and confident and learn to tune in and gain control over your emotions. To this day, solo travel is my favorite way to see the world.