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Embracing Solo Travel

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Waking up some mornings, or every morning, I check the prices of flights. It’s like reading the newspaper for me; almost therapeutic. The thought of working towards going somewhere, all of a sudden without any given notice and just leaving, is invigorating.

I make it a priority to travel somewhere new at least once a year, internationally of course. As someone who’s been single her whole life, I do this on my own and love it – have almost mastered the art of ‘solo travel’. But I’ve always wondered: why do I love it so much? What urges me to get on a long flight and go somewhere I barely know anyone or anything about the country or culture?

There is something incredible about solo travel, and it isn’t the fact that you can do what you want, when you please:

1 | Gratitude

When travelling, sometimes a mattress to sleep on is a luxury. The fact that you don’t have to carry buckets of boiled water to have a shower is a luxury, and the fact that you can drink tap water is also a luxury. Travel indirectly bestows gratitude upon you; it may even just be gratitude for the people you are missing back home.

2 | Self-gain
You don’t have to be a Yogi who repeatedly announces ‘Ommmm’ to find yourself.  Finding yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost something, it just means you are adding to the person you were created to be. Although it would be easier to buy a ‘Finding Yourself For Dummies’ guide, it’s much more personal than that. Throughout your journey you will learn things about yourself without meaningfully or forcefully doing so, like teaching yourself to guard your passport with your life.

In many moments of travel we often say to ourselves, “Can’t believe I am doing this, I would never do this back home!” But that’s all part of the experience!

3 | Killen’ yo vibe
When travelling with someone there is always another person to do things with. However thinking about things twice eliminates the sense of excitement and spontaneity of it all. Being alone forces you to leave your comfort zone. It gives you the opportunity to indulge in those curly fries and that salted caramel thickshake, then later regret it that night while you are trying to fall asleep due to jetlag. Solo travel is a great way to thoroughly do the things you like, on your own time.

So go on, beautiful humans! Tick off those things you’ve been dying to take a selfie with, eat your first and last genuine cronut, finally inhale the unadulterated leather of a European goodie – go buy that Prada handbag!

4 | Exceeds your expectations
More often than not you will fall in love with the cities and find yourself eagerly waiting to go home and tell everyone how a place that stunning could even exist. It gives you a reason to visit again without the opinion of anyone swaying or persuading.

5 | Prospects of friendship and romance
When you’re stuck in a plane for 14 hours straight, the chances of falling asleep on the person next to you is quite substantial. After the awkwardness of apologizing multiple times over and pretending it never happened by watching a movie, there is a chance that you’ll be asked to move so they can stretch their legs. Once the ice is broken, you begin to talk and realise all the things you have in common, making the next 13 remaining of the flight much quicker.

You do meet a lot of interesting people while travelling, and sometimes they tend to stick around in your life. So the prospect of meeting a Spanish musician on the streets of Barcelona, who is stupidly good looking and knows how to cook piquant paella, is definitely on the cards.

Solo travel is flexible. It gives you the opportunity to pursue and tick off some of your bucket list items. It motivates you to live on the edge and more importantly it teaches you to value all the things you took for granted.

There are definitely stages in life for places to travel and people to travel with. But if and while you’re single, embrace, own and love it. Travel is not limited to an experience but it is outstretched into fulfilling a mission.

Recommended safe places to travel [by yourself]:
Canada // New Zealand // Fiji // Hamilton Island

– image credit: Tanisha Daniel

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