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 toย 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 generallyย 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?

30 Comments

  1. This is such a great post, Emily. I was thinking the other day how I wish I had travelled more on my own. Now that I’m married, I want to have those experiences with my husband and therefore tend to opt to do things together. I feel like I missed out a bit on more extensive travel in my late 20s!

    Reply
    1. I totally understand! I definitely enjoy making experiences with my boyfriend, and that’s probably the hardest part about traveling alone sometimes, that I don’t have him around to laugh with or make memories with. BUT I do need to be out on my own every so often for personal growth!

      Author Reply
  2. Loved all of these SO much. I think you learn similar lessons whether you’re traveling solo or not! I really like #1 because it’s so true. You just have to embrace being somewhere new while simply being aware of your surroundings. And #4 made me laugh because that’s constantly our lives while Ben is filming everywhere haha. And I think there’s serious benefit to being alone at times. To me, being solo recharges me and energizes me. It’s NICE to just go out to a meal or explore by yourself. That’s why Ben and I always try to carve out alone time on trips. It’s a whole different experience!
    Definitely one of my favorite posts from you Emily!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    Reply
    1. Yes I totally agree! Sometimes I just want to discover a new city alone, as crazy as that sounds. I just need my space. Plus, it helps me to grow personally. But how embarrassing is taking selfies and talking to the camera in public alone though?? HAHA.

      Author Reply
    1. Haha yes! I can definitely get behind that. It also taught me to speak up for myself more, since no one else is there to do it for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I’ve never traveled alone before for the exact reasons you mentioned in #3 The idea of it always gave me anxiety, but so do a lot of things, and in the end they always end up better expected. I can definitely see why people like traveling solo though, and I really admire them for it!

    Jenny | Geeky Posh

    Reply
  4. That sounds so inspiring Emily! You really have my full respect for traveling alone. Once I was in London all by myself for just one week and I found myself in your experiences sometimes โ€“ย but it was only a week so I don’t know if this really counts as “traveling alone”. But anyway, you definitely encouraged me to enjoy the time for myself more.
    Have a wonderful day!
    xx, Carmen – http://carmitive.com

    Reply
    1. Haha a week totallyyy counts! Most people have never traveled alone for even a few days let alone a week! Congrats! And glad to have encouraged you a little. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. What perfect timing! i just booked my solo trip for this summer yesterday =o) Ever since I went to costa rica solo I’ve craved to go somewhere again by myself. I’ve decided to make it an annual thing where I go on a trip by myself. This year I chose to stay in the US and visit Scottsdale, Arizona for a relaxing spa weekend =o) I know you are from the area and I’ve seen some of your posts so I’m excited to check out this part of the US =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    Reply
    1. Ugh I LOVE traveling alone. It’s so amazing inst it?! You’re gonna love it here! The spa scene is pretty incredible. Let me know if you need any suggestions too!

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  6. Yes I have and I loved it. I think at times I prefer it but mostly because I don’t really have likeminded friends to or who I can travel with. I’m more daunted with the unwanted attention (not saying this as a broad term but for me and others I know) a single females garners. I’ve heard the advice to wear a ring on that finger but at the same time I think it’s ridiculous that we’d have to go to such lengths but then again, this is the world we live in

    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

    Reply
    1. I definitely agree with the daunted part. I always just keep to myself though and try and blend into the city as much as possible! Instead of acting/looking like a tourist. Usually, I don’t have any trouble then.

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  7. I agree with these life lessons about traveling alone! There are some sketchy people out there but there are a lot of genuinely nice and helpful people. Going solo is great because you gain a sense of independence :). I especially agree with #4. We only see what people want to share on social media. Not like there’s a live cam following 24/7. I’ve traveled alone before and my biggest thing is to pack what you can actually carry or lug around XD.

    exquisitely.me

    Reply
    1. Thanks Nancy! I’ve found so many genuinely nice and helpful people on my travels. And I’ve definitely judged other people that I shouldn’t have. I totally agree with packing what you can actually carry haha. That’s always a good thing! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Author Reply
  8. I agree that the fear of being alone is totally in your own head. I used to feel really weird doing thing alone but now I’m fine with it. When I think about it, I really couldn’t get a crap if people are eating or doing things alone either.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome Kim! It’s definitely a growth moment haha. Traveling alone pushes you and shows you what you’re capable of!

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