Before my first ever solo trip, I was nervous. I mean, being in a foreign country, by myself, let alone being a female. A solo female traveler somewhere I've never been to. Sounds scary. Yeah, I thought so too. But actually, it's not scary at all! It's actually the best thing ever. Let me explain.
Have you ever loved the beauty of a place so much you wanted to spend hours capturing moments by taking a ton of pictures? Or were you the one who liked to live in the moment and continue exploring without having to stop every ten feet for a photoshoot. Have you ever planned a vacay with some friends but you want to climb the tallest mountain while others are more of an eat/drink/chill at the pool all day type? Do you want to eat at local hole in the wall places but your group wants to wine and dine? Well guess what. You don't have to deal with any of that conflict when you travel solo! Here are some reasons I love traveling solo:
You are more likely to go out of your comfort zone.
If I wasn't traveling solo, I would probably stay in a hotel or AirBNB simply bc it's more comfortable and splitting the cost with friends makes it more economically friendly. However, I like staying at hostels during my solo trip for a few reasons. 1. It's cheap! Staying in hostels saves a lot more money than if you stay at a hotel or airBNB alone. 2. There is usually a community area where travelers have opportunity to meet and chat. I've met so many cool people from around the world; most are also traveling solo. Talking to random strangers was definitely out of my comfort zone. If I don't know you, I wouldn't usually start talking to you out of nowhere. Being alone in the community area with others that are alone as well almost sets you up for success (given that the other travelers are friendly as well, which is usually the case). It's an easy, "Hey where are you from? How long are you in The Philippines? Where have you traveled already? Where are you going next?" Easy! Pretty much 100% of the time, each person I've talked to has an amazing story of their background. Which leads me to my next point:
You meet so many cool people!
When you're with friends or family, you tend to stick to the group during your whole trip. But when you're solo, it almost forces you to chat with others for that human connection. I absolutely love hearing other peoples stories! It amazes me how much there is of the world and all the tips and advice people share. If they have been to a country that I am planning to go to, I always make sure to ask, "What was your favorite part and why?" I love personal recommendations. Whether its the best accommodations to stay at, favorite city and why, or the absolute best place to eat. To see their face stare into space as they try to remember the last three months in Vietnam then their smile light up when they are able to pin point their exact favorite moment of all time and share the story as if they were sharing their past with their future grandkids.
More about you, less about others.
Whether this is your first solo trip or 10th solo trip, it's a trip for you to spend quality time with yourself. Self-reflect, self-growth, self-confidence. It's all about you! Sure, you're out there to explore the world like a lost child on their first day of kindergarden; but it's so much more than just cruising around town. Take this time to learn about your limits and your fears. Take opportunities to evolve humility, gain confidence, and build character. This leads me to my next point:
You learn so much about yourself.
Imagine getting out of a five year relationship, having less than a month to reconnect with yourself, then jumping into another five year relationship, then another then another. You're almost 30 and your entire adult life was always putting in time, love, and effort into another person or relationship that didn't work out only to find out that you don't even know who you are. What your own likes and dislikes are. Stop, and think about that for sec. Like, for real. Do you even have your own identity? Have you ever had time to yourself doing exactly what you want without having to think if someone else is going to like it or if someone else wouldn't want to do it so you don't do it? Stop living for another person for once, and live for yourself. Do what truly makes you happy. If you don't know what that is, you sure as hell will find out during your solo trip.
Annoyed? Then dip out!
When you travel with others, you're basically stuck with them. I've been on vacay with people who really just annoy tf out of me. You're stuck with them, eat with them, sleep with them, ride roller coasters with them, blah blah blah. But when you're solo, you don't have to feel trapped. At all! Imagine that. Like I said above, you will meet some really cool people; Some of which you might spend some quality time with. But the moment you are over them, PEACE OUT BRO! Easy as pie. Just dip out whenever you feel like it. No need to feel stuck and annoyed.
You don't have to compromise your time and money.
You want to stay in a lavish ass resort villa without having to worry about your cheap ass friend who can only afford a shared room at a hostel? Go right ahead! You want to have a jam-packed itinerary down to the minute to explore every possible thing there is to squeeze in one week in Vietnam? All you boo boo. Or do you want to simply unwind and relax by the pool with a mai tai in hand at all times? Yeah you! Nothing is worse than having to compromise your time and money on a trip that you've been looking forward to for almost a year. It can be super stressful and annoying during the planning process when you have to act like you're whatever about the plan when you know damn well you have an opinion on where you stay, what you do, how much money you spend, etc. Imagine being able to do EXACTLY everything you wanted. I met a guy who wanted to check out a hike in Maui but he was with a friend who "didn't want to get his shoes dirty" so he said he didn't get to check out the hike. WHAT?! FUCK THAT. Which brings me to my #1 reason I love traveling solo:
You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however long you want!
This is absolute best thing ever, I swear. You want to do spend all day at the beach with no intention to leave until after the sun sets? Do it. You want to devour your meal as soon as the waiter sets it in front of you without having to politely wait for the other person to get their food? Go for it. You want to drive endlessly without having a backseat driver ask you how much longer? Yes yes yes. I was always so used to compromising. I never really knew what it was like to get my way 100% of the time. Freedom, pure FREEDOM. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love spending quality time with friends and family on a much needed tropical getaway every now and then, I just think going solo is definitely something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
I challenge you to embark on your own journey of self-love. self-reflection. self-growth. If it scares you, even more the reason to do it. It is so liberating to do something that scares you, only to question why tf haven’t you haven't do this sooner in life?! Go. Do it. If not now, when?
DISCLAIMER: To every good thing, there are not so good things too. So tune in for a future post; I'll talk about the dark side of traveling solo. ohhhh, sounds scary. HA! Well, you'll see what I mean. XOXO Mel