Solo traveling is for all ages: It’s never too early or too late
The world has become too noisy. Give your ears a break.
My first solo travel was in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was awkward. Or so I thought because I talked to myself all the time and wished I have someone to tell all the things I got excited about.
And that’s the problem when we travel all the time with company or in a group. You’ll talk. You’ll need to consider other people’s preferences or schedules. You need to think of someone else’s concerns, from food to needs, even their restrictions.
You can’t be selfish and think of what you want. Right?
Yes, right. But once in a while you also need to be alone and enjoy peace with yourself. While we need to enjoy friendships and sometimes the rowdiness of our own huge families, there is a lot of pluses in being just with yourself.
Introspection. I love how the dictionary defines it as “the act of looking within one’s self”. In Vietnam, I did it worse as I began the journey being on my own. I kept telling myself I was foolish and selfish. I was also scared most of the time that I will be taken advantaged of. Looking back, I guess it was fine for someone learning the ropes. Seeking for company to fill that void, I began reaching out.
That takes us to my next point.
Extroversion. You seek out new company and explore new acquaintances to break the ice. In Turkey, I sparked a conversation with Stephanie, my seat mate in the tour bus going to Troy. I learned she was from Cape Town in South Africa and worked in Kuwait as a teacher. As we laughed together at our guide’s funny antics and browsed through the archaeological artifacts, we also shared interesting lessons working in the Middle East (I was based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq at that time).
I just shared myself to someone who has time to listen.
Consciousness. You can get negligent of situations around you because there’s someone who can help you out. On family trips, I stop being observant of directions because I know someone is taking care of it. Chances are, I won’t remember places and streets when I go back. For my first time in Germany, I paid attention taking trains and getting off to my destination. It was stressful at first but having done it made the succeeding ones more comfortable. I learned the art of looking for available seats when I did not pay extra for it.
That took me to new ways of living life.
Appreciation. I discovered the beauty of being in a state of peace and quiet. I saw many details in things around me: birds, trees, newly-mowed grass, even the sand on my feet. It is good for a bookworm. You get to linger at words and reflect on the ideas. Traveling in Siquijor, one of the Philippines’s smallest islands, I nature from the simplest (a motorcycle-ride) to the most awesome (watching tourists swing and do an awkward drop in Cambugahay Falls).
Solo traveling does not make you feel alone at all.
It makes you aware that there is a bigger world other than the one you are used to or the one you created for yourself. It is self-limiting as you stay in your own comfort zone. It challenges you to open yourself up and spread your wings.
It helps you conquer your (often unfounded) fears.
It sets you free from yourself. You break that shell!
It makes you love yourself more. Who will if you don’t start with yourself?
It makes you value silence. The world has become too noisy. Give your ears a break.
It leads you to a life that’s lived in full. You can’t live for others without starting it with yourself first.
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, speed, dreams, the sea, the sky — all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” — Cesare Pavese
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