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I was always scared to take trips by myself, but now I prefer to travel alone - here's why

Business Insider US
I prefer to travel alone.
Frank Olito/ Insider
  • After travelling solo for work for a few years, I've realised I love to explore new cities by myself.
  • Solo travel feels more freeing, and surprisingly, I never actually feel alone.
  • When I travel by myself, I feel more confident and more introspective, which is rewarding.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

For years, I feared travelling alone. The thought of exploring a new place by myself felt intimidating and nerve-racking.

But after taking several work trips on my own over the past few years, I've realised travelling alone is not only great but it's also much easier and more rewarding. Here's why.

When travelling by myself, I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it

Over the years, I've realised travelling with someone is all about compromise. You have to agree on which museums to visit, which excursion you want to spend money on, where you want to eat dinner, and what time you want to start the day. With each of these decisions, you have to make small sacrifices.

When I travel alone, I don't have to give up anything. If I want to wake up at 11am, I can. If I realise I need a nap in the middle of the day, I don't need to explain myself to anyone. If I want to drop R1,400 on an excursion, I don't need to ask someone else if they can afford it too. In short, I don't need to run an itinerary by anyone.

You can do what you want to do when traveling alone.
Pexels

I found the freedom to do whatever I want on a trip without someone else's approval is the best part of travelling alone.

I get to have introspective moments

Before travelling alone, I thought I'd hate not being able to share experiences with someone else, but I learned the opposite is true for me.

When I'm exploring a new city by myself, I get to stay in my own head and experience something without someone else's thoughts influencing mine - just think of the times you've travelled with someone who didn't enjoy a museum or restaurant and how their opinion affected yours.

Additionally, I get to listen to podcasts, find small areas of cities to read a book, and find spots where I can just sit and think. In these moments, I can reflect on the journey itself or ponder the current state of my life. When I travel with another person or a group, these moments - which I find extremely rewarding - are few and far between.

To my surprise, I never actually feel alone when travelling by myself

Although I rarely feel lonely on solo trips, I sometimes turn to social media to keep me connected with people. I found that taking a photo or a video and posting it to Instagram can spark a conversation with friends back home and help me feel less alone. If that fails, I can also use an app on my phone to meet new people in the strange city.

Navigating cities alone help builds confidence.
Frank Olito/ Insider

But I learned through my solo travels that I value connecting with the new location more than connecting with a companion.

After travelling alone, I feel a new sense of confidence

When travelling with someone, you have a person to lean on to get through the stress of travel. When I first travelled alone, I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle those situations. But quickly, I learned I can navigate an airport myself, I can handle a delayed flight alone, and I can learn a strange city's subway system on my own.

Realising I can do these things without the help of someone else is incredibly rewarding. Not only has it helped me build confidence while travelling, but it also helped my overall mental health.

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