Reflections of a Solo Traveller
When I first told people that I would be heading to the Americas for seven months of travelling, the first question I constantly got was: Who are you going with?
The truth was that I never really wanted to travel with anyone on this trip. This trip was going to be my first solo travelling experience. The idea of travelling solo to South America where I don’t speak the language was nerve wrecking at best. However, as soon as I landed in brazil and met some amazing people in the hostel, the nerves and the feeling of displacement started to dissipate and I started to feel at ease.
Travelling solo taught me some amazing things about myself, about the world and about other people. And I wanted to share with you these lessons, in the hope it will encourage some of you to travel as well.
1. You can make your own decisions
Your life is made up of choices and throughout life there are always people influencing your choices. Whether it is your parents, your friends or your family. Travelling solo taught me to make my own decisions. When travelling solo you do not have to compromise, you are not responsible to anyone else nor are you obligated to do things you don’t want to do.
You want to party all night and sleep all day? Do it!!
You want to climb the highest mountain and swim the deepest sea? Do it!!
Travelling taught me that my life is my own and I have the freedom to do what I want!
2. You are never really alone
My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone and I would be alone my entire trip. However, this was not the case. Being by yourself taught me that there are travellers everywhere (many of whom also travel solo). Whether you meet them on busses, trains, in hostels or bars. These people will be open to conversation and you never know some of them may be looking for a travel buddy to. The key is not to to be shy and make friends wherever you can.
3. Solo travelling can make you spontaneous
I have always been a spontaneous person, but travelling made me even more spontaneous. Before I left the UK. I only had two things planned. My flight into Rio and out of Toronto. I had seven months to get from South America to North America.
This idea of leaving things open was the best thing I could have done. And to be honest some of the best memories of my travels was things I had not planned. For example on the last day in Santiago (Chile) I decided to randomly travel to Valparaiso. This was never part of the plan, however in Valparaiso I met some amazing people from all over the world. People I know my travels would not be the same had I not met them.
Therefore embrace the spontaneous nature, and don’t stress, go with the flow and life will take you up paths that you never dreamed of walking.
4. Strangers could become amazing friends
Travelling alone forces you not to be shy. This is key to meeting new people. And some of these people I have met have since become amazing friends. I can happily say I have more adopted brothers and sisters than ever before.
The friends I made ensured I was never lonely, they looked out for me and they helped me. This is what travelling is all about; meeting people that will become your new best friends and making networks with people all over the world.
Halfway through this trip I started to realise how limiting it is travelling with another person. Now I realise the possibilities that life holds for us if you just drop everything and go away alone somewhere.
Solo travel has enabled me to be more independent, more confident, more extroverted and more friendly with strangers. Through this I have learnt things about the world that no one else could have taught me.