Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once
When most people think of a vacation or a time to recharge they are not doing it right. It’s so important in this day and age to stop, put your phone down, don’t think about if you look cute, or if you’re food is placed perfectly on the table to the Instagram picture you’re designing in your head. Let things be for at least 24 hours. Great things can come from a little time to yourself.
In 2012, I was visiting family abroad. My husband and I were having some issues for some time, for years to be exact. I had been away from him for six weeks. We talked every day and messaged each other on Blackberry Messenger. But I didn’t miss him. I was with family and preoccupied with other things. I quickly realized that my life made no difference, with him or without him.
The time to fly back home came and I had a scheduled 24-hour layover in Zurich. I had never been to Europe before and the situation was a little weird for me. I got off the plane, changed money, and headed to the train. My first language is English but I knew enough words in German and French to understand directions. I made my way to Lake Zurich and watched the bustle of activity. It was a Sunday and the promenade was full of vendors and street artists. Human statues, jugglers, and sweet-smelling foods. I sat myself down on a bench near the water and watched the people go by. They were unlike anybody I had ever seen before. I was definitely not in America anymore. The people here spoke multiple languages, were dressed in the latest fashions, and the people all looked healthy and happy.
I sat there on the water until the sun set behind the mountains. I thought about the little villages and the snow-covered alps that weren’t so far away physically but I had only seen in books in movies. I lost track of time and it didn’t bother me, not even a little bit. I saw the vendors pack up and the people dissipate. I was lost in my thoughts. There was a whole world here. A world that I wanted to become intimately acquainted with. Before I set off towards my hotel for the night I made a promise, to myself. I would be back in this place of history and grandeur. I would be back and meet new people. I would fall in love and I would enjoy my life.
My married life of six years was a trap. And I was going to escape.
A little time to yourself to think can be life changing.
Here are six reasons to travel by yourself:
1. Itineraries are set to what you want to do
Traveling with others is never really a vacation. If there is somewhere you have to be at a set time with someone else that is called responsibility, not a vacation.
2. Me Time
As the story above says— time alone for introspection is invaluable.
3. You’ll meet new people
If you are alone people are easier to approach and you don’t need to worry about a friend or family members feelings. You can talk late into the night with a new friend about common interests or expand your network.
4. Your confidence is boosted
Stranded at an airport at night? You will have no other choice but to be ok. You’ll find your way even if the language is foreign.
5. It will make you a better traveler
You will become a better observer of the people and places around you which in turn will make you a better, more empathetic person.
6. You’ll feel more satisfied in the end
It’s your trip and if you want to spend all day sitting in a café on the banks of the Seine then that is your choice. Keep things Drama free and never experience disappointment knowing you spent your time exactly the way you wanted to.