The Best Time To Solo Travel: During Your Most Vulnerable And Emotional Times
Back when the world was normal, which feels like a world away. Travelling was something that we all took for granted, we saw it as something that was going to be as easy as packing up our stuff and booking that next flight out of town.
Whilst we can’t do that right now, there are a number of ways we can still escape. Drive to your favourite village or town outside of your city, or visa versa if you live in the small towns. Sometimes an escape will break us out of the mundane realities that we live in. (Not everybody but for the majority of us who live normal lives — which is the majority of us, no matter how much people on the internet try to portray otherwise!).
Now I’ve got that spiel out of the way — I want to tell you why travelling solo is something we should all consider and why travelling at your most vulnerable will benefit you in more ways than I can even describe in a short post!
When I was 18, I was very much the scared, almost lonely and definitely not the most outspoken person — as you may know from my previous posts, if not here’s my post on me growing up shy, and how I broke out of that https://medium.com/@julieehe/why-you-should-never-be-afraid-to-speak-39fd2fe1a866. At 18, it was like most people my first time living out of the house. I pulled up all my not so mighty courage to speak to whomever I could, when I tell you I picked up hobbies (such as badminton) just to make new friends, I did it all. It was an exhilarating time of my life, going to University really sent waves through my entire life. However during these wonderfully tumultuous years in University, I realised that I was lacking something. I didn’t know what but I was never fully happy. I never quite felt like I understood where I stood in relationships/friendships and even in my own university career. This was for a number of reasons, but in my third and final year, during the most emotionally and physically draining year, in the middle of it I could just sense a breakdown coming on. I was vulnerable, sad and extremely out of my depth.
I sat in the library, and I booked the next flight out of my small University town.
A 20 year old who was supposed to be writing her dissertation, this was the most ridiculous thing I should be doing, however I still went ahead with it.
At University, you realise you have very little personal space, living with your friends means you and they want to be with each other 24/7, and as an introvert this was really effecting me. On top of that, with the dating scene being so narrow and fast paced, emotions are high. I couldn’t see that, being in that environment for 3 years was really taking a toll on me, and leaving during my most emotionally vulnerable stage in my life was the best thing I could do for myself.
You can finally decide what you want to do with your day
You realise at busy points during your life, that your time is dedicated to everybody else but yourself. Your friends are around you 24/7, or your family, and if not it’s the other way around. As you grow older, this turns into work, colleagues, and other people you care for/and about. Taking a few days to sit down with yourself, and decide whether to do something — or nothing at all, really gives you an invigorating feeling of a chance to speak to yourself. Ask yourself all the questions you haven’t yet had the chance to ask, or had a chance in a while to ask.
You have the chance to recalibrate all the things you have done or haven’t done
You don’t realise that when you don’t spend the time to look back at the past, you forget how much you have done, what you’ve achieved, who you’ve met and how far you’ve come! When you keep pushing through everyday, surrounding by people, or being busy.
When you’re in a new environment, you get the chance to make comparisons (good comparisons) about how this environment is different to your everyday. Picking out all the good parts of your day and life at home, all the good and bad things about travelling, and incorporate the good parts, and hopefully remove the bad from your daily habits.
Being vulnerable will inevitably throw extra bad points that you might normally have if you were to do this — but this is great! Evaluating all the bad, allows you to think about how and whether they are important, and if so what you need to change in order for it to be better.
Realise what you’re actually missing at home
A big thing about travelling solo is that you leave everybody at home, and you mostly leave your possessions at home. Have you seen all these nomads (pre-covid) telling us that travelling around the world has made them realise how little they need? Well that’s how I felt. Except it made me, and I guess others that the people you have in your life can also be seen that way.
That person you’ve been speaking to that throws snarky comments at you all dinner time? Yep. Don’t need them.
That man you send messages to and he responds 2 days later with no apology? Yep. Don’t need them.
That relationship you were mourning back at home? The one where he couldn’t decide who he wanted to be with — you or her? The one where he couldn’t even pick up the courage to ask you out? Yep. Don’t need them.
Going through these emotionally vulnerable times away from your daily routine gives you a sense of clarity nowhere else can.
Trust that solo travel is both an exploration of a new place, but a chance to discover your future needs at home, and a chance to drop all that baggage you’ve been carrying at home, to take it with you, and dump it. Leave it right there.