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March 5, 2019

10 reasons to travel solo

Taking off alone to parts unknown. The idea is both intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. Discover why you should throw caution to the wind and jump on the adventure bandwagon.

1. Hello world!

Are you dreaming of Eastern Europe, but your friends are not on the same page? Don’t let that stop you! Pack your bag, plot your itinerary and prepare to launch.

Solo travel means you alone get to pick the destination, the type of trip, the length of your stay and every other step in between. No compromise or negotiation required (except with your travel agent). Do you want to change your itinerary mid-route? Not a problem. Just rearrange your plans as you like.

2.  Fertile ground to meet new friends

Fans of travelling alone will tell you: it is much easier to meet people when you are riding solo. There is a greater tendency for people to start up a conversation with you, curious to hear about your travels.

You are also more likely to ask for directions, want to share your observations, accept an appealing invitation, cross paths with other travellers. Wonderful friendships are sometimes born while in transit or wandering out and about!

3. Supercharge your senses

When trekking alone, you naturally look outward to observe what is going on around you. You pay more attention to the little details, the faces, landscapes and architecture.  

Whether you’re sitting on a terrace in the middle of a bustling square or sipping a drink on the beach, let your senses wander. You will be surprised by everything you can absorb.

4. Magic happens outside your comfort zone

Depending on your personality, traveling without a partner can be a little nerve-wracking. Finding the strength to move past this mild discomfort leaves you more open to new discoveries.

That notorious synchronicity referred to by experienced travellers (and psychoanalyst Carl Jung), i.e. the sense that events are intimately connected to our state of mind, is harder to recognize in the course of our everyday lives.

However, far from home, events have such a habit of naturally coming together that you start to believe in the magic of travel.

5. The path to self-awareness

You quickly figure out your strengths and weaknesses when you only have yourself to rely on. Reactions can sometimes be surprising when faced with something unexpected, for better or worse.

Solo travellers are able to embark on a voyage of self-discovery and often identify abilities they didn’t know they had. Such experiences have the power to profoundly change your perception of yourself. 

6. A cup of can-do and courage

Finding yourself in an unknown town where you don’t speak the language and you have to book a train ticket: an ordinary travel situation, but one that forces you to draw on all your courage, especially if the ticket agent appears to be a bit impatient. Appreciate every small victory when travelling solo: you are learning how to do everything by yourself while overcoming your fears. And that gives you wings.  

7. Pump up your self-esteem

All these little daily challenges you face, will give you so much confidence in your intuition and your abilities.

You will be surprised by how natural it can become to approach strangers, order a meal using hand signals, or head out alone on a country bike tour.

8. Get your creative juices flowing

A solo traveller’s ideal companion? A travel journal! Jot down observations or try your hand at drawing (if you do not like your sketches, you can always just keep them to yourself.)

When it comes to writing, you’re no Shakespeare? Take photos using a different angle or lighting instead or start a collection of dried pressed flowers. When you get home, pick your favourite photos or transfer your best poem onto canvas so you can display your beloved travel treasures.

9. Discover your natural rhythm

You can march to the beat of your own drum when you never have to wait for someone and know that nobody is waiting for you. This means you eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired and walk until you can walk no more.

The same holds true for your time management and itinerary: do you turn left or right? Do what you want to do in the moment… it’s never too late to change your mind.

10. Want to learn a new language? Dive in!

There’s always someone around to talk to when you travel with a friend. Sure, it’s practical, but this is not the best way to learn a new language. On the other hand, solo travellers are left with no choice. You are forced to try to communicate in another language.  

Your comprehension will quickly improve and your vocabulary will expand. You might even pick up some slang that will impress the locals!

Safety first and foremost

Despite all the advantages of solo travel, stay safe and never expose yourself to unnecessary risk when travelling abroad.

Before leaving, visit the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories website.

Bon voyage and have fun exploring all that the world has to offer!