When I announced my plans to travel solo to Goa, I encountered a lot of raised eyebrows from my friends. Some of the questions were “Travelling solo in Goa? Why?” “Why are you not taking Sai (my husband)?” I realized that people still have reservations about travelling solo, and that it is supposed to be the last resort when you have nobody to accompany you. It nagged me that we are still not comfortable with the idea of being alone when travelling and that it is not out of concern for safety. It sometimes borders on snide judgement about not taking our partners if we are married.
I love travelling with Sai and my friends. But, I also indulge in occasional solo travelling as its my Soul therapy. It heals me as an individual and adds a dash of panache to my life.
Here are my six reasons why I choose to travel alone.
1. I get my dose of ‘self confidence’
I travel solo to infuse self-confidence into me when I am low. Every time I travel solo, I feel powerful and independent. The feeling that I can go to a new place and get my way around new roads and transport system, communicate with people who don’t understand my language and keep myself safe and happy is equivalent to shots of self-confidence vitamins. I return to the workplace more in charge of my situation after my ‘solo’cations.
2. My individuality is nurtured
We are influenced by many people each day, be it at home or workplace. They have a strong bearing on how we perceive the truth. Somewhere in between monotone of our daily life, we lose a sense of our individuality. We forget our own opinions and beliefs, and embrace some of the strong opinions coming from our friends or co-workers. Solo travel offers me a healthy distance from external biases and I return home a stronger individual.
3. I can travel according to my pace and interests
It comes with acknowledging the fact that every one wants to travel in a certain way. Sometimes we are ready to meet at common grounds for companionship. And, I am absolutely okay doing that. But, at times I want to travel the way I want, without the guilt of boring others or getting bored myself. When I visited Vienna on my own, I spent days studying palaces, museums and operas (which Sai might not have liked a lot).
4. I am more open to making new friends
When we travel with others, we hardly look out to meet new people. We might engage with strangers purely for information or courtesy. But, we are more likely to meet new people and seek out interesting conversations when alone. Be it the waiter at a restaurant I am eating, who also part-times as a martial arts performer or a fellow female-solo traveler who ends up inviting me to her home in California – I have a pocketful of interesting stories and people I have met on my solo trips.
5. I have a healthier relationship with myself and everyone else
There are times when we are at a different place compared to our spouse or friends, and it’s important to embrace these differences and make time for ourselves. Travelling solo has freed me from expectations from others and better manage my relationships. I understand the importance of personal space for everyone else. I feel responsible for my own happiness and have fewer expectations from others.
6. I get my “me” time
A’ solo’cation gives me substantial “me’ time. I can choose to introspect or observe people around me or silently look at the sun setting over the horizon. I can pamper myself with loads of great food all to myself or go on a shopping spree or just cozy up in bed with a book. It is all my way.
Travelling solo is my Soul Therapy. I am sure it will work wonders for you as well, just give it a try!
P.S. I would love to know why you choose to travel solo and your trysts with solo travel. Post your comments below.