If the only thing that is stopping you from going travelling and exploring the world is that you are afraid to do it alone, then let this article completely convince you otherwise! The thought of it is scary, but just the thought. Once you are out here living it, you’ll be so thankful that it wasn’t just a thought that held you back.
Besides, just because you have set out on this journey alone, doesn’t mean you have to be alone. There are so many people like you who have made the brave step to travel to the other side of the world, and they are just as eager to meet people. That makes approaching people and being approached so much more common than what you may usually experience at home.
Being on your own opens up many opportunities and very often leads to the best way to experience gap year travel. Plus, there’s many more reasons why travelling solo is awesome, so check them out below!
1. Travel at your own pace
Travelling with a friend often means that you will have to move when they want to move and you’ll have to get them to move when you want to move. This often results in a lot of compromise (a very common theme in this article) that can lead to frustrations. Travelling alone allows you to decide when to change city, whether it’s in a day or in a month. Nobody else is involved and you do not have to worry about respecting your friend’s planning as well as your own.
2. Take everything in
When travelling in a herd or simply with a friend, you will spend most of your time interacting with them. This is great, up to the point when you will realise that your entire trip was all about your friendship and you just missed most of of the country. Not being distracted by friends means that you will be able to take more in, see it all, and talk to more people. New Zealand will have your full attention.
3. Become more independent
Because you’ll be on your own, you will have to do it all. You’re in charge of the decision-making, the laundry, the job-hunting and whatever else your gap year entails. In turn, you become the independent adult that you promised your parents you would be when coming back from a gap year.
4. Do only what you want to do
Two people travelling together often means a longer bucket list. One awesome person, that you are, travelling alone means you get to pick and choose only what you want to do. A random guy asks you to come party with but you just don’t feel like it tonight? Just say: “Nah, bro,” rather than having your childhood bestie dragging you there.
5. Do EVERYTHING you want to do
Having to compromise is a big theme here. Being on the the other end of the point mentioned above, travelling with someone means cutting down on things that you want to do because it is not really your friend’s “thing”. In short, travelling alone means: TREAT YO SELF!
6. Learn about yourself
Bringing people from home during your travel is a great way to keep home close by. It also means that you will be acting the same as you do back home. In contrast, travelling alone means that you will have to behave differently to adapt to the massive amount of people that you meet. You also face situations alone that you may have never encountered before and learn what you are capable of.
7. Grow confidence
Backpacking is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. For that reason, almost every solo traveller reports a tremendous growth in self confidence. Taking a gap year to the other side of the world scares most people; it is “impossible” to them. After all, you have stepped away from everything you know and started this adventure on a blank canvas. How amazing are you?! You can achieve anything now since you did the “impossible” all on your own! Plus, chuck that on your CV/resume after your gap year.
8. Embrace “me” time
Getting some “me” time is hard enough back home, but don’t think that you get any when travelling with a mate or loved one. You are on top of each other 24/7. Although it can be the most amazing experience ever, it can also be quite challenging to manage emotions. Travelling alone provides you with plenty of me time to focus on you and you alone. Enjoy!
9. Meet more people
This is a well-know fact in the backpacking world: solo travellers meet loads more people than group travellers. People can find it pretty intimidating approaching that “cute couple” or this “bunch of friends”, while a solo girl or guy relaxing in the lounge is much less threatening. For yourself, travelling alone will force you to approach other travellers yourself. Show off that new found confidence!
10. Get to love yourself
Travelling changes people. A few months into your trip you have that day when you self reflect on where you are at now compared to before your trip. You will love yourself for ticking all the boxes above and finally be that premium version of yourself. You did it!
Another article about being a female solo traveller
You may have heard this crazy idea that it’s not safe for women to travel alone, otherwise known as the definition of insanity. Don’t believe it? Well, we wrote some literature on that too. Take a look at Can a Girl Travel Alone in New Zealand?