Travelling alone is something I’ve always wanted to do. I have lots of friends who’ve done it and told me how amazing it is, but up until recently I had never really found myself in a position to travel solo. Honestly, I loved travelling with a partner or friend and found the idea of going it alone a bit anxiety inducing. When I decided to do a seven week trip of Mexico alone, part of me was still resistant and I found myself putting off booking my flights for some time. Needless to say I bit the bullet and booked them, and having just completed my trip I can say I don’t regret it! I learnt a great deal about myself and grew as a person massively. I want to share the ups and downs and things I learnt by travelling solo, so maybe it will inspire others to do the same.
How to be comfortable alone
While I have always been pretty comfortable in my own company, travelling alone really took this to the next level. It was difficult at first, but after some time I began enjoying doing things like eating out, going to the beach or having a beer alone. I am now far more comfortable doing my own thing and enjoying my own company. If I did feel like socialising, travelling alone meant it was very easy for me to meet and hang out with other travellers.
To care less what others think
A lot of the time on my trip I didn’t feel like going out and really wasn’t up for drinking or partying. I wanted to get up super early and make the most of the days, so I was generally going to bed early. Staying in hostels means you are in dorm rooms with lots of other people and at first, I was self-conscious about what other travellers would think. Why is she so boring? You’re travelling - live a little! Honestly, I learnt not to give a second thought to what other people think. You spend very little time with these people and are unlikely to see them again. I told myself: it’s my trip, my experience and I’ll do what feels right for me.
That I’m stronger than I thought and time heals all
During my time away an unexpected and painful personal situation arose. Experiencing something like this while thousands of kilometres from home was extremely difficult, but it also made me stronger. Travelling alone means you do not have someone to support you and you must rely on yourself to be strong. I learnt how much strength I really have and that ultimately, I will be fine. Time heals all.
Quiet time and reflection does wonders
I had so much time to be quiet, meditate and reflect on my thoughts. This is the aspect of travelling alone I enjoyed the most - I was able to really get to know myself and think about what I want to get out of life. Especially combined with spending less time on my phone, a laptop or online - this really reduced my anxiety and brought back my creative energy.
That it can be lonely, and it’s nice to share the experience with someone
There were times on my trip where I definitely felt lonely. It’s a very special thing to experience a new country, culture and cuisine with people you love and you miss out on that by travelling solo. I think overall I do prefer travelling with someone for this reason - I like to share the experience and bond over it.
There’s usually no reason to be anxious
Another big learning for me. At the start of the trip I was very anxious - I spoke no Spanish, didn’t yet understand the bus system and was still under the impression Mexico was a super dangerous country. Many situations arose in this time where because of my anxiety, I felt like i was in danger or something bad was going to happen. There was never any need and I was always perfectly safe (as far as I know!). I learnt that most of the time, things work out and there’s no need to worry.
Would I travel alone again? Definitely. I think spending time alone (and enjoying it) is an important aspect of life and self-development. If you want to boost your confidence and get to know yourself a little better then I recommend taking a solo trip.