Who says traveling can’t teach you things? Through the good and the bad, traveling solo taught me these 5 major life lessons:
1. Most of the time, people aren’t out to get you
As a solo traveler, it can feel a little paralyzing to be out and about in a new city. We tend to be overly cautious and judge situations involving strangers, thinking of the worst possible outcome every time. It’s important to remember that most people that cross our paths are just regular people living life. Of course it’s always safe to use caution if something looks suspicious, but also be mindful that there are loads of good people in this world simply getting from point A to point B. No everyone is out to get you.
2. A bump in your plans is either the end of the road or the beginning of a new road
Have you ever heard that it’s not the situation, but how you choose to react to the situation that matters? Nothing taught me more about this than traveling solo. There are so many little bumps in the road. The worst is when something you planned on seeing for the day is closed for construction (which happens quite often actually) and it totally spoils your plans. I learned that you have two options: You can view it as the end of the road, or you can start a new road and move on.
3. The fear of doing things alone is actually dumb
We are a generation that hates to be alone. While I am a little more okay with it than most (mostly due to solo traveling (go figure)), I also understand the anxious feeling of being alone. But honestly? It’s a totally irrational fear. Once I started walking around on my own and going to dinners on my own, I realized that the fear of being alone is actually kind of stupid. No one gives a crap about seeing you eat alone. In fact, I now notice lots of people dining alone that I had never noticed before. The embarrassment of doing things alone is completely made up in our heads.
4. Nothing happens as perfectly as it does on Instagram
Now that so much of Instagram is curated content, it’s safe to say that nothing happens perfectly. Behind every shot is the embarrassment of having to ask a total stranger to take your photo in a ‘certain way’, or the embarrassment of just being that person taking a photo of their food. It also takes so long to get the perfect shot with a camera strap constantly flinging into your view. What you see on Instagram is the perfect product of hours of work, alone, trying to get the perfect shot, and feeling a little embarrassed while doing so.
5. It’s okay to be selfish
Traveling solo taught me that it’s okay to be selfish and want things for yourself. It’s okay to book a trip alone if you need it. Solo traveling is a beautiful time to be alone with your thoughts and learn more about yourself. There’s nothing quite like a different city in a foreign country to shake up your soul! Being selfish is something that’s generally frowned upon, but traveling solo taught me that it’s okay to take a life ‘time out’.
Have you traveled solo before? What’s one major life lesson you learned?