For those of us who dare to pack a bag and head off into the unknown of a new country on our own, travel gives us so many gifts in return. Aside from the obvious picturesque moments, lifelong memories and fun experiences, travel has a wonderful way of boosting our resilience so we are better equipped to handle the struggles of life.
Solo travel teaches you to face challenges head on
Challenges are an unavoidable part of solo travel. While galavanting around a brand new country, you'll find yourself being challenged both physically and mentally, and with no familiar faces around to help you through, you quickly realise that the only way to overcome them is to roll up your sleeves and tackle them yourself.
With each challenge that you face, you'll start to develop a willingness to step up to challenges rather than to run away from them. This will become second nature to you and a quality that remains with you long after your trip is over.
Solo travel helps you realise what's important
Travelling alone takes you away from all that you know. It strips you bare of all familiarity and comfort, and places you in an unknown environment. You have wonderful life changing experiences and there are also times when you struggle. It's during these moments that you develop a greater understanding of what's important to you. You learn more about your relationships with people when you're on your own halfway around the world than you do when you're sitting right next to them and you only figure out what you really want from your life when you take yourself completely away from it.
Solo travel gives you a clearer perspective
Travelling solo doesn't just give you the chance to be immersed in a brand new culture, environment and community, it also gives you a lot more opportunities for reflection. It can be difficult to gain perspective when you're in your every day life, doing every day things, surrounded by the same people you see every day. But when you're away from all that is familiar, you're inspired by what's around you and you have more time to ponder life's big questions.
Solo travel teaches you to not sweat the small stuff
Perhaps the most valuable lesson one can learn while travelling solo is that there's no point worrying about every little thing. When you take that leap of faith into solo travel, you immediately gain a sense of freedom that's unlike any other. Without realising it, you find that you're too busy living life to worry about the things that you used to. You're more focused on trying new things for the first time and the worries of yesterday have simply just disappeared.
You see how other cultures handle life's burdens and it impacts your subconsciousness. You realise that not everyone worries incessantly about mundane things and soon enough your perspective shifts, you're no longer sweating the small stuff like you used to.
Solo travel teaches you the art of independence
When you're traipsing around a foreign country alone, you have no choice but to fend for yourself. There's no one there to tell you want to do our how to do it, every decision rests entirely on your shoulders. There's no one there to help you decide, only you can figure it out.
At first, this type of independence can be daunting, particularly if you're used to being dependent on others or have others depend on you, but with each passing moment, you realise you've got no other choice but to embrace it. And when you do, it's exhilarating. You're able to make decisions based purely on your own wants and needs, there's no one else in the equation to consider and it feels truly liberating.
Solo travel forces you to step out of your comfort zone
Those of us who travel solo do so in large because of this. We crave the challenge of stepping into the unknown, of challenging ourself, of chasing new experiences and leaving our comfort zone behind. The thirst for adventure and the yearning for life changing journeys is what draws a lot of us into solo travel in the first place.
With each trip you find yourself wanting to push yourself more, wanting to step further outside familiar ground. The thrill you feel when doing something you never imagined you would is like no other and you simply want more of it.
For each of us, the comfort zone is a very different place. Some may find that mingling with strangers is a giant step out of what's comfortable for them, others may consider parachuting off a roof top more of a challenge. Whatever your zone looks like, solo travel will always supply you with an endless amount of opportunities for you to redesign the parameters of your comfort zone.
If you want to push your limits and build your resilience, you'd be hard pressed to find a more fun, more challenging or more exciting way to do it than heading off on a solo adventure abroad. So what are you waiting for?