11 Things I Found Out While Traveling Alone

A door to freedom, fulfillment, and mindfulness

Photo by Andrew Ly on Unsplash

The idea came from nowhere. Last year, I suddenly decided to plan a trip to Hong-Kong, alone.

It was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I booked my plane tickets in November 2017 and left for 8 days the next April. My goal was to take photos. As an outdoor photographer, I had a fascination with the architecture of this city. Spoiler alert: I was everything but disappointed.

But I am digressing! Here are the 11 things I discovered through traveling alone.

1. Freedom is one of the keys to (my) happiness

There is hardly anything more liberating than leaving alone for the other end of the world. It means having the freedom to plan your dream trip. Visiting what you, and only you, want to see. Eating wherever (and whenever) you want. It’s kind of selfish, but a bit of selfishness is sometimes healthy.

2. Alone doesn’t mean lonely

To reach fulfillment, you need to be happy enough with yourself, without relying on others to feel good. Loneliness is a feeling that differs for each individual. As far as I am concerned, I don’t feel lonely when alone. On the contrary, I often need it. Solo travel is a great way to find out your tolerance to it.

3. Home becomes wherever you are

Traveling alone teaches you to enjoy your own company. Home then becomes wherever you are.

4. Building self-confidence

When finding yourself alone thousand of miles away from your country, you rely only on yourself. It might be a bit scary at the beginning and requires being ready to face your fears, but it’s the best way to build self-confidence.

5. Getting to know yourself

There is no one to dictate what to do. It’s just you and yourself. You choose. You decide. Therefore, it brings you to discover your tastes and who you are. A solo trip is a privileged moment to spend some quality time with yourself.

6. Solo travel as a door to mindfulness

Wandering undisturbed in the streets of a foreign city, with no distraction other than what’s happening just before your eyes, is a great and “easy” door to mindfulness. Give it a try! Pay attention to the information given by your 5 senses. Be in the Now.

7. Experiences matter way more than material possessions

I went back home with a strong desire to spend more money on experiences and moments, and less on material possessions. Life happens in the moments. In what you live. Not on the screen of the latest TV model.

8. Learning to take time

There is no one around to speed you up because the next tourist attraction closes in one hour. You can spend some time sitting on a bench, watching people going to work. Paying attention to the specificities of the flow happening all around you. You have all the time that you want.

9. Quality over quantity

This one applies both to the trip and to the after. It is something we often hear but rarely experience. Traveling alone made me realize that quality matters way more than quantity. I prefer a thousand times more seeing half of what there is to see in a city, but taking my time and being in the moment, rather than rushing from one place to the other just to tick boxes off a list.

10. Stop caring about what others think of you

Eating alone at the restaurant? Fine. As long as the food tastes good!

11. You are whole

And you don’t need anyone to complete you. You can stand by yourself. How empowering!

Taking a trip alone is definitely something I would recommend you do. If a whole trip seems too much to begin with, give it a try through a weekend, not too far from the place you live.

You might feel a bit lonely at the beginning, but wait for the plane to take off. The feeling will disappear and leave the place to a sense of freedom you may never have experienced before!

Full-time traveler, trying to grasp and capture the essence of things in words — I write about life, fitness & food — auriane.alix.medium@gmail.com

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