By Regina Kaza
Honestly, why do we even call it solo travel? We don't call travel "group travel." So why does exploring a destination on your own get such a bad rep?
I travel at least once a month for work and while some of those trips are made with co-workers, most of them are made alone. And while 9-5 is spent in meetings, 5p.m. onward is spent enjoying a nice dinner and exploring a new city during sunset.
Still, I get lots of questions like "Oh my god aren't you lonely?" or "Don't you get bored?" The answer is no and no because traveling alone has some really great advantages that "group travel" doesn't.
1. You do what you want, when you want
Ever traveled with friends or a SO and been dragged to a bar when you really wanted to go to a museum or spent all day by the pool when you actually wanted to go zip-lining? Guess what, when you're traveling on your own, you can do whatever your little adventurous heart desires. Your days are yours. No judgements, no itineraries, you decide how you want to explore the city and the possibilities are endless.
2. You learn a lot about yourself
By doing things you love to do, you get to know yourself in a completely new way. You get to try things without anyone is judging you or handing you a plan. What are your weaknesses? What do you pretend to enjoy with your friends instead of doing what actually like? Who are you when you're alone? I won't lie to you, solo travel makes you get deep. These are all questions you get to explore when you're outside your comfort zone and they will make you better, stronger and love yourself that much more.
3. You learn to enjoy your own company
There will come points in your life when you will be alone but it's up to you whether you become lonely in those moments or not. The most important relationship you'll have in your life is the one with yourself. You can love your friends and family, but your happiness, health and personal growth always need to come first. You need to put yourself first because no one else will, I promise you this. Once you learn how to spend time alone and find happiness enjoying your own company, you'll never be lonely. In fact, you'll be fearless to try new things without wondering who's going to do them with you. And that's the most valuable gift solo travel can give you.
"Learn to enjoy your own company. You are the one
person you can count on living with for the rest of your life."
-- Ann Richards
4. You eat like no one is watching
I repeat: You. Can. Eat. What. Ever. You. Want.
How many times have you been shy to eat that third cookie or compromised going to a restaurant you liked because your friends didn't? No more compromise! Eat that last cookie, eat tacos at 3 different restaurants in one night. You want a second dessert? Do it. Grab a seat at the bar, order the mac and cheese and the brownie sundae and when the server asks you say "yes, it's all for me." Say it proudly.
5. You grow
Outside of the fun, travel requires you to get your shit together. You have to navigate directions, maybe communicate in a foreign language and handle the little things that come your way. Just like you have to in life. You become more independent when you realize there's no one to do this for you. You are responsible for your trip and your life. And that's something you can apply to your everyday life and adventure ahead.