I recently read a lovely article at Thought Catalogue and found that I could relate to some of those reasons. But I wanted to share my own reasons on why I’ve been travelling alone, some of which are similar to Yara Coelho’s.
1. You can do what you want, when you want.
That sense of freedom. Where else can you find it? Not in your office, especially not in fast-paced Singapore. Why do you travel? You want to experience, to forget and to stop caring. It’s wonderful to be able travel with friends, but with them, you can’t let go. You have to worry about what they want to do, eat, where they want to shop, no matter how easy-going they are. Being alone means no compromise, no concessions. That is the freedom some of us need.
2. Learn how to be independent.
Travelling alone puts you in a position where you can’t afford not to be independent. Taking precautions, improvising, solving problems are essential to ensuring a safe and fulfilling trip. You have check the right directions, get the necessary information or just learn how to say the right words when you don’t know the language. It’s important to learn from mistakes made when travelling, like the time I left the key to my locked MUJI luggage at home. I had to learn how to temporarily break open my suitcase from YouTube videos, and got MUJI to make me a new key, just in time for the trip home. Never be afraid to trip up on trips. It’s how you recover that matters.
3. Meet cool people.
Meeting new people is probably the number one reason why I travel. When you are with people you know, you tend to stick to the familiar settings of your social group. When I’m alone, I force myself to go out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know. 99% of the people I’ve met on trips are good. Most of these people, I still meet when I return to Japan. Most of them offer their places for me to stay when I need. When you get nervous thinking about the worst that could happen, make sure you think of the best things as well.
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4. You get to be spontaneous.
I love to plan and be organized. I’m the most organized person I know. But sometimes, that just nullifies any potential adventures you would have. Travelling is for the adventures. I rarely say no when I travel, and I never regretted it so far. I would go to a random bar, meet a random group of people, follow them to the next bar, and continue the routine. It always turns out well, and you just end up with a larger social circle. Just take necessary precautions and exercise common sense, and an adventure will always be a good one.
5. Discover yourself.
I learnt more things about myself when I travel than any other time. You are continuously in unfamiliar situations in which the way you act tells you about yourself a bit more. Meeting new people, going new places, lets you experience the new, and lets you reevaluate your preferences. I never say no to something I’ve never given a decent try. And once I’ve decided if I like something or not, I would stick to it. That way, I learn more about myself each day I travel.