9 Things I Learned While Traveling Solo
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9 Great Things I Learned While Traveling Solo

For once, let go of the reins you've trapped so tightly around your heart. I know you are scared. Who could blame you? - Lang Leav

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9 Great Things I Learned While Traveling Solo
Rachita Saxena

I will be honest here I have never been a big fan of solo traveling. I have never wanted to go off alone to discover myself or run away from my past. And frankly, I never understood people who loved solo travel too. Until the day I embarked on my own solo trip.

And, what a jubilant feeling it was. I have never felt so free and independent in my life and things that I learned on my way. There are absolutely no words to describe how much I have changed in the last 1 year, especially since I started traveling solo. Yes, I still go on group trips or family trips but I always like to solo travel, every once in a while. And boy, do I learn a lot on the way.

Here are a few things which I learned on my way which have helped me greatly in the past 1 year.

1. You are Never Truly Alone

While it does feel lonely and like you don't have anyone to talk to in a foreign country, it is not actually true. And that is what I realized when I first started traveling solo. I traveled from Munnar to Kovalam and then stumbled upon a fellow traveler who was traveling through entire Kerala. And guess what?

I joined her for the next two weeks. My trip to Munnar was an impromptu trip for me but truly, one of my most memorable ones. And I had a beautiful person to share it with me. So, frankly, you are never alone. All you need is to be willing to look around you and stop being so afraid of giving everyone a chance.

2. Smile at Strangers, They will Respond Back

I am not the most trusting person in the world. I am ever so cautious and vigilant which is why I often perceive anyone as a potential threat to me. But, when I started traveling alone, I realized that I can't always have a scary face on. I need to relax and let myself go loose a little.

And so, I started smiling and greeting strangers on the way. I did this in Cambodia and that made a huge difference in my experience. Because I made so many friends and met so many beautiful strangers who always had the loveliest stories to tell. And all I had to do was smile at them to actually strike a conversation. To think I was so scared of doing this before!

3. You Can Overcome Your Fears, Give Yourself a Chance

There are several things which terrify me a lot but only after I started traveling alone that I could face them. I overcame my fear of fishes and underwater life when I first tried Scuba diving on my solo trip to Sri Lanka.

In Seychelles, I realized that I can't keep following a path because I am scared of the outcome. And so, I decided to be brave and do things which make me happy. Even if it means that once in a while I would have to pursue things which are scary and could break my heart.

But that moment, when I was looking at the ocean and I realized this thought. It was the most intense experience ever.

4. Traveling is Not About Ticking Off Places From Your Bucket List

For a long time, I was always in a hurry to visit all the amazing places that a new city or country had to offer. As a result, I didn't really spend time and enjoy a place properly. And I would always be stressed on how to pack all places in my itinerary.

So, when I went to Cambodia for my birthday alone, I realized that it is okay to miss a few places. That there is always gonna be spots that I wouldn't have time to visit. But it doesn't matter because I would have a lot of amazing memories with me. That's when I realized that I need to stop ticking places off my list.

I need to sit down and enjoy the view around me instead of running the entire time. And that little lesson made all the difference.

5. Travel For Experience and Culture

Yes, initially I traveled to click pictures of myself in an exotic location and to show off. I think a lot of us do that. But, it is when I traveled solo and had no one to click my pictures that I realized traveling is more than that. I paused to speak and learn more about the Sri Lankan culture.

And when I was in Mauritius, I actually didn't click pictures for the first 5 days because I was busy absorbing the view and the stories. It was truly a beautiful feeling and now, I have so many experiences and stories to share with others too.

6. You Can Make Friends Anywhere and Everywhere

Yes, yes, yes. If you are a nice and positive person who believes in meeting and talking to people, then you can easily make friends anywhere. And this important lesson I only learned after I started traveling solo. Previously, I thought myself to be a little uptight but when I traveled alone, I realized I am not.

I can be quite fun and entertaining and people could actually be interested in knowing more about it. This was proven to me time and again, when I traveled to Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, etc.

7. Don't Be Scared to Ask for Help, People will Generally Suprise You

Like I said before, I was not the most trusting person out there but once I started traveling solo, I had no option. I even tried Couchsurfing and while it was scary at first, I realized I was panicking unnecessarily. In fact, the first time I tried Couchsurfing in Sri Lanka, people were super nice and helpful towards me.

They went above and beyond to help me. There was an uncle in Sri Lanka who I met on the train who was really sweet and kind. He told me a lot about the Sri Lankan culture and even invited me to stay with his family so that he could show me around. And all I had done was ask him when my station will come and how to travel from there.

A simple question resulted in such a beautiful conversation.

8. It is Okay to Let Yourself Go Loose, Every Once in a While

When you are traveling solo, you have to be careful because no one is watching over you anymore. But this doesn't mean that you don't give yourself the freedom to actually enjoy and loosen up a little. Till Seychelles, I was uptight and avoided staying out late at night or partying.

But, in Seychelles, I stayed out late and rode my cycle after having a few sips of the local Cocoa Rum. And guess what? I was perfectly fine. In fact, I was more than fine because I cycled at night, near the coast. It was a truly invigorating experience and I am so glad I decided to loosen up a bit.

9. Life is Too Short for Any Regrets

Lastly, I realized that this life is too short to be afraid of everything. So, I made a pact with myself that slowly and steadily, I will overcome all my fears. I overcame my fear of underwater life, trying different food cuisines, and even of heights (at least a little). But mostly, I realized I can't be scared of letting people in.

I also understood that I can't be scared of missing out places and not being able to travel the whole world. Because this way I am just unnecessarily stressing myself and not enjoying the moment. And so, I decided that it is time to stop being afraid. Of every damn thing in my life. Because if I don't do stupid, crazy shit then I am going to regret not doing it for the rest of my life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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