"Who you are when you travel alone, that's who you are as a person." - Hannah Elliot
Traveling solo was something that changed my life forever. Even to the point that I must go travel on my own every once in a while or I get a little stir crazy. Trust me there is nothing I love more than making memories with my husband when we travel, but there's just something unique when you go explore somewhere new by yourself. Over the years I have heard much feedback like:
"Why would you travel without your spouse?"
"It's not safe to travel by yourself."
"Why would you want to go by yourself?"
Let me address some of these comments. First off, my spouse and I travel together frequently — it's something we decided was important to us; we take many proactive steps in our finances to be able to travel (also means we make many sacrifices). We support each other in our dreams, passions, and goals. One of my passions has always been traveling, so when the opportunity comes to go discover somewhere new, he is all for it (thank you for the support T!) Don't worry, I'm not supporting dropping everything, leaving your family and booking a one way ticket - just saying it's okay to go on a trip by yourself.
Second, it is a large myth that it is unsafe to travel on your own even as a female. Sure there are certain countries you generally shouldn't go to, alleyways you shouldn't be caught dead in, and of course the aspect of general common sense. Many countries are very friendly when it comes to solo travel and people love meeting travelers. Travel and Leisure actually just released their top safest countries for solo travel if you're in need of some inspiration (here). When I travel by myself I do a few things to insure my safety: I don't wear gaudy jewelry, I am aware of my surroundings, I do research before I show up, and I never walk with headphones in.
Finally, what solo travel has done for me and why I love it: It has shown me a part of myself that loves to explore, find something new, discover a corner cafe and be completely emerged with my surroundings. When you are with other people you are being impacted by their thoughts and opinions which can affect how you experience a city, taste food, choose what restaurant to eat at, and much more. When I am by myself I can eat whenever and go wherever — and it is liberating. I get to truly submerge myself into a world where I can discover who I am without the noise of someone else.
I remember my first trip by myself after I got married. It was a 2-week trip to Manhattan to stay with family and take a transitional break between university and work. I remember there was a trendy cafe I wanted to eat at in the hip SOHO district and everyone was eating with their friends. I circled around the block 3 times until I got the nerve to sit down by myself and order. It took me a few minutes to get comfortable and it dawned on me that being myself meant I had to be comfortable with who I was and not lean on being with other people.
Let's just say today, I love the opportunity to dine alone.
Solo travel is an opportunity to try something new, discover yourself, and sets you free to experience a place on your own terms. Traveling on my own has been life changing for me and I encourage everyone to do it at least once. Break through the myths, book a ticket, and go!
Bon travels Xx