Over the last 6 months, I have travelled over 3 continents, visited 8 new cities (and 3 for the 2nd or 3rd time!), and worked in 3 different countries. It’s been an incredible rollercoaster ride, but it has also been rich with new experiences and lessons about myself, and about the world. I wanted to share my findings with fellow/aspiring nomads and world travellers, to prepare you for what is to come, and to share some of the things solo travel taught me, and in turn, will teach you.
It will teach you…
1. That alone doesn’t mean lonely If I had a dollar for everytime I had to say “oh no, just dinner for one”, or answer “nope, single and building my empire”, I’d already have hit my million dollar goals! This is nothing new- being alone, especially as a woman has always been a societal taboo. But that is also why travelling solo is fantastic. It helps you to break societal norms. It will help you identify those areas of yourself that are not 100% healed… Maybe your codependency, or your people pleasing, or even your fear of being alone. It will allow you to find true inner self confidence, that can only come from a deep knowledge and respect of yourself. And as cheesy as it may sound… It will enable you to find the true you.
2. To be pro-active in searching for new experiences and meeting new people When I was working in Paris, I found that if I was to wait to have someone to do something with me, I would be waiting forever! If I wanted to explore this beautiful city, I had to go out there and do it… Alone! So I did. I visited museums. I went to Michelin starred restaurants. I watched the sun set over the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes with others, and sometimes on my own. And the experiences I was able to capture, the people I met and the friendships I made were worth the initial trepidation you feel about doing something alone in a new city!
3. To prioritise your relationships and those that you love As a professional workationer (as I coin it!) and digital nomad, being on the road most of the time means not having much time at home. I found that I was in London at the most one week a month, which meant I had 7 days to catch-up with my entire phonebook! It causes you to prioritise who is important, and make them a priority in your life. So I’d book my friends and family out weeks in advance, to ensure I saw them when I was in the country. Being intentional with our time together made it that much more special. It will definitely help you filter those friends that don’t make too much of an effort, because you will no longer have time to one handedly carry the friendship. And it will allow those friendships that serve neither you or the other party to dissipate on their own.
4. Think big Travelling, especially in entrepreneurial circles, allowed me to expand my thinking. I was amazed by how much wealth people were able to attract running their own businesses, and it helped me expand my thinking of what is possible. Even though I had already made the leap out of the 9-5 life, these people pushed me even further- to look beyond just making a living, and actually build a lasting empire!
5. Go against the flow Solo travel will push all you fellow codependents/ people-pleasers waaay out of your comfort zone! Even though it is socially acceptable to travel on your own, it is not the norm. So it will always bring with it a certain amount of negativity from others- even those that love you (sometimes simply out of fear for your safety!) My parents learnt a long time ago that there was no use trying to change my mind once it’s made up (that’s on them though, they did raise me that way!) but I know every time I go to a new destination on my own, they worry. So just get used to going against the grain- after a while it will start to feel natural, and spill into other areas of your life!
6. Learn about cultures Working over 3 countries taught me a lot about how different people interact. Paris, London, and Cameroon are wildly different both culturally and in the workplace, and having this 3 way insight was incredibly eye opening. Being able to live in different climates, with different people learning about different cultures will open your eyes to the beauty in variety we have all over this world.
7. Live life on your own terms I’ve saved the best for last! The best thing about solo travel is that YOU DO YOU! You don’t have to stick to anybody else’s routine, you don’t have to be dragged along to things you don’t want to do… You choose! It allows you to find what you truly like to do, and you’ll see that as you go and do those things you love to do, you meet other people who love to do that too! With my particular kind of lifestyle, I find group holidays draining. I don’t want to always explain why I’m not drinking, or why I don’t want to go out, or why I wake up so early (which is why there’s only a handful of people I would ever go away with!) I just want to be me. And solo travel allows you to do that in the extreme.
There you have it! The 7 reasons why you should grab your passport right now and book a solo trip! If you need any ideas on where to go check out my Instagram- I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!