When in your life have you existed for the sole purpose of fulfilling your own agenda?
Not your professor’s, not your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s or spouse’s, not your manager’s, not your friend’s or family’s agenda. Your own agenda.
When was the last time that you didn’t have to consult or consider anyone at all when making your plans for the day?
When you’re traveling on your own, you will still have obligations and responsibilities but they are all curated by you. You are depending on yourself, for yourself. Every step you take during each day of solo travel is purely for your own self-interest, and it might even help you unleash your superpowers.
Here are the top 5 superpowers that are acquired through solo travel:
1. You’ll develop problem-solving skills so good you’ll have to put it on your resume.
Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I have bawled my eyes out in a train station or in front of a metro map because I was alone and tired and something went wrong and I thought I was doomed, which meant I’d never get to where I was supposed to go and I’d just have to lay down on the street with my 50 pound backpack to die.
Spoiler alert: none of that ever happened!
What happened instead was this – I had a quick cry session, went to a calm place to think, devised a plan, hoisted my backpack back on my shoulders, and got my butt in gear.
I got to a point near the end of my solo trip across Europe where problems would arise and solving them would be a minor inconvenience rather than a reason to have a full-on meltdown.
2. You’ll feel comfortable with less and grasp a sense of what you need.
Every time I return home from a trip I find myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed with how much STUFF I have that I end up donating garbage bags full of clothes because it feels so silly and suffocating.
Being able to leave your home for any period of time with just yourself and the bare necessities has a tendency to make you feel a little stupid for blowing paycheck after paycheck at target (I’m still working on this one) once you realize you’re doing totally fine and you don’t miss any of it.
And guess what that means! If you learn to be happy with less, maybe you won’t spend as much and you’ll have more money for travel!
3. You’re going to become your go-to person.
Most people have someone they call in a crisis, and while that’s a great thing to have, it’s a whole new level to be able to consult yourself first.
On solo adventures, sure you can phone your dad when your train was canceled for the third time and you’re about to piss your pants because there are no public restrooms that don’t cost money and you don’t have any euros on you – but they’re however many miles or oceans away, and you need to be your primary source of direction.
Before you know it, you’ll become your own hype-man from the constant pep talks and pats on the back that you’ll be giving yourself when you’re traveling alone.
4. You’ll learn that being alone isn’t too scary (once you run into the attics of your mind and find the right string to pull to light it all up).
Being alone – truly alone – is a fear that can take hold of people and strangle them should they ever come into it by chance. But when you make a conscious decision to travel on your own, you are embracing that fear and will hopefully realize that there is no place within yourself that wasn’t designed for you to discover.
5. Your confidence will inevitably bloom, and your sense of self will be unshakeable.
Traveling on your own will stir up self-love in ways that simply won’t take place with the security of another human by your side. You have to care for yourself, depend on yourself, and of course, have a blast by yourself. You will begin your journey home with a newfound appreciation for who you are and all that you are capable of.
Solo travel may not give you superpowers the first day of your trip, but I can guarantee you will learn things about yourself that you might not have uncovered otherwise. You will challenge yourself beyond belief, and when you think you’ve reached your limit, you may realize that you can push a little bit further.