WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM TRAVELLING SOLO

  • I’ve learned to be alone – What may seem like a simple concept is actually quite complex and difficult for some people to deal with. Some people don’t even realize that it is until they’re forced to actually consider being alone for a period of time – that’s when they realize how much they truly rely on those around them. I feel like I’ve almost been conditioned to need people. Although it’s nice having others around you who you know you can turn to in your time of need, there’s something liberating about being able to be content, hell – even happy, when you’re completely alone. It’s a kind of independence that I’ve never experienced before.
  • I’ve learned to be myself – Until this year, I have never felt like I’ve been able to be my true self. There was always a kind of pressure to fit in, whether this was a societal contribution or just in my own head, I became extremely unsure of who I really am. I felt like a fraud version of myself for far too long. I hid my quirks, kept quiet about my passions, and muted my personality. This didn’t necessarily make me fit in but at least I made myself invisible. I faded into the background because I was ashamed of who I was. Yet, this genial plan I made in my early teens became much more emotionally exhausting than I had anticipated and eventually became the exact opposite of what was good for me. After years of living in this silenced version of myself, I travelled alone for the first time, and decided to seize the opportunity. I was going to be in a country where no one knows anything about me. I decided not to give a shit about who thought what of me. I decided to finally let my real personality out, and be proud of it. I decided to be my genuine self and work on loving and accepting myself like I had never done before. And that’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.
  • I’ve learned not to get attached – Getting emotionally attached to the people and places around you is an easy thing to do. I used to be the most emotionally vulnerable female in the world. I’ve cried over countless boys. I’ve cried on airplanes leaving a week long vacation in Cuba. I’ve cried over friends who wouldn’t flinch if my world turned upside down. I endured enough heartache for a lifetime due to my emotional vulnerability in the past and it’s seriously been a blessing that I’m able to enjoy people and places, and not feel torn up inside when having to leave them. Knowing you have a limited amount of time in a place with certain people helps you develop this skill. I can not appreciate the time and memories that I have made with those around me rather than feel agony when having to leave.
  • I’ve learned to stop living in fear – Fear of foreign cities. Fear of airplanes. Fear of being alone at night. Fear of hostels. Fear of eating at a restaurant alone. Fear of having a pint at a pub by myself. There are so many damn things to be afraid of. Back at home these things almost seem unimaginable to do. I’d rather coop up at home than “put myself out there”. Being on your own in a new city instills you with this new sense of courage. You’re not going to lay in your bed all day and night, so essentially you’re forced to face these fears. Initially, most things that you do are out of your comfort zone. Until your comfort zone expands and you can continue pushing your boundaries. I’ve always heard the term “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, and I only realized the validity of it after travelling solo.

 

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