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The Benefits Of Travelling Solo

Often times organising trips and holidays can feel like more work than it’s worth. Having to consider every person’s schedule, budget and individual interests can be a hard balance to strike, and plans inevitably get put off. If there is a place that strikes your interest, I would say don’t wait, just go. There is no need to rely on other people to pursue the things you want to in life, and often the best adventures can happen solo.

Travelling alone can seem daunting for a myriad of reasons, especially as a woman. Though in my experience travelling solo across Europe, I learnt that the opposite can also be true. I took a train route starting in the picturesque city of Bruges, before travelling to Amsterdam and finally ending up in Berlin, with each city offering me a new experience.

As a Londoner, coming from a city with a prevalent culture of minding one’s own business, the concept of being approached by strangers was rather new to me. In many of the cities I travelled to conversing with random strangers on modes of transport and in cafes and other community spaces was standard practice, and ending up injecting a little more spontaneity into my trip. How else would I have found a hidden salsa dancing party, or been able to spend my Sunday being taught to walk a tightrope by a local German couple, or explore the techno clubs of Berlin with friends I made at Mauerpark flea market. Some experiences are more fun with other people. Yet, they can be even more fun with new people.

Solo travelling allows you to be so much more receptive to meeting new people and engaging in new experiences. You will often be left open to attracting unexpected encounters that you wouldn’t necessarily be in search of if travelling with company. Even if you are an introvert like myself, travelling extracts you from your ordinary routine and forces you into participating in the act of spontaneity. You will never be subjected to a standard list of ‘the best places to visit’ because travelling solo almost always ensures that a curveball will be thrown your way. Many of your best moments and memories will form when you are outside of your comfort zone.

An interesting part of solo travelling is picking up on the cultural differences of where you are and trusting your instincts enough to gage whether a situation is safe. It is important to perhaps not overshare or be too trusting in giving away personal information or putting yourself in situations that have the potential to be dangerous. I was always cautious enough to tell people that I had friends and family living nearby for example. Of course, it is also important to be prepared by knowing your travel routes, making sure you have extra data, cash and the ever-necessary portable charger. Yet, with the multitude of travel apps that help with language, currency, and even travel and activities, there has never been a better time than now to travel alone.

It is not just the experience of meeting new people or trying new things that makes solo travelling so exciting, it is also the freedom that comes from being alone. You are not at the behest of anyone else, with complete control over where you go and more importantly where you don’t go. It is a trip you are sure to enjoy because you are curating it for yourself, and can do as you please. Learning to be content in your own company and rely on your own decisions, as well as trusting your instincts and surviving on your own is not only exciting but important. Learning more about yourself and achieving more independence will only ever benefit you.

Even if you do not have any burgeoning desire to travel abroad, a cheap weekend in a new environment really does have the ability to change your perspective. Simple time to yourself, to relax, explore or discover an interest of yours, is often underappreciated in its value. Solo travelling offers all this and more, so if the thought has occurred to you be sure to pursue it.

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