How a traveling alone experience can change you
Honestly, it can be challenging, lonely, and even scary, so why you should take a solo trip?
Simple, because traveling alone experiences can change your life.
I must admit I have never been a keen solo traveller as I’ve mainly travelled with my partner or friends but when life confronts you the best thing you can do is to take a solo trip and face your inner fears.
That’s what happened to me, more than once, and it turned out that traveling alone experiences have helped me to find my way.
My first experience traveling alone
My first solo trip ever happened when I was living in Australia with my boyfriend and suddenly we broke up just before the Christmas holidays.
I was devastated. Being on the other side of the world from my family and friends made me feel even more lonely and powerless. Plus, the idea of spending Christmas on my own was frightening.
I spent literally days crying out rivers until I realized I needed to do something.
I was confused, didn’t know if I still wanted to stay in Australia or if I should come back to Italy, and Christmas was only a month away.
I decided it was time for me to take my first solo trip.
I still remember the day I stepped into a travel agency during my lunch break and asked any group tour for solo travellers departing on Christmas day.
Traveling alone for the first time can be scary, that’s why I chose to join a solo travel group tour with Intrepid Travel, one of the best responsible travel companies worldwide.
Destination: Thailand! I joined other 11 solo travellers, mainly women of all ages, with whom I shared a fantastic 8-day itinerary from Bangkok to Chiangmai (Read about my traveling alone experience in Thailand).
On this solo trip I visited incredible sites, discovered off-the-beaten-path destinations and got in contact with the locals, but most importantly I learnt how to spend time on my own without feeling lonely, got the chance to open with other travel mates and share my life experiences, sorrows and doubts, feeling comforted and supported by the group.
I came back with a clearer view of what I wanted to do and immediately took action and control of my life again.
A few months later I was ready to leave Australia forever and come back to Italy but before that, I took another solo trip, this time to New Zealand, where I joined a 9-day discovery tour of the Southern Island.
I must say I am kind of a reserved person and this trip allowed me to feel more at ease travelling with strangers and to step outside my comfort zone, living extraordinary experiences such as canyoning and heli-hike in a glacier, that are still today one of the best off-limits experiences I have lived while travelling.
Traveling alone as a transformative experience
Since I came back to Italy I have been into a relationship so I’ve naturally travelled with my partner until a couple of years ago, when I booked myself on a solo trip to Bali.
I actually booked a week of yoga and dance retreat with one of my favourite teachers and decided to add a few extra days before to travel on my own.
This was myfirst real traveling alone experience without joining any tour and it was one of the most transformative experiences in my life.
I had booked the retreat months in advance but not really worried about planning the days I would have spent on my own until a few weeks before my departure.
What I couldn’t expect was that this trip would have happened in a very particular time of my life when I was feeling the urge to break free and evolve myself both professionally and personally.
Bali was my opportunity for a transformation. (Learn more about transformational travel).
I had already been to Bali 10 years earlier and always wished to come back. Despite being usually an over-organized person who plans everything, especially when it comes down to holidays, this time I “forced” myself to leave some blank spaces so I only booked my accommodation and airport transfer.
Each day I could wake up and be the master of my life. This simply made me feel FREE.
I used to wake up at dawn with the roosters chanting, sit on my balcony overlooking the rice paddles being inundated by the morning lights before heading for a walk through the fields meeting only farmers at work.
Slowly my doubts and worries started to dissolve to leave space to a new consciousness of who I was and what I wanted from life.
I will never forget the morning I spent hiking across the Jatiluwih rice fields surrounded by nothing else than a lush green, the sound of the flowing water of the irrigation canals, and the comforting sound of bells carried by the wind.
I stopped, closed my eyes and soaked everything in. That’s when I had my revelation and took my resolution.
That’s where I left all my disruptive thoughts and started a new path towards the awareness that I could truly achieve anything I wanted.
Travelling alone experiences like this made me understand that it is fine to feel fragile sometimes and even scared, but when you believe enough in yourself and step out of your comfort zone, you pass from surviving to thriving because in the end:
Freedom is about being yourself without judgment, fear nor limitations!
Since then I have promised myself that now and again I am going to take a solo trip somewhere just to remind me of that feeling.
Read more about my Travelling alone experience in Bali.
How to organize your first traveling alone experience
If you are traveling alone for the first time and do not feel confident enough to be completely on your own, I highly recommend you to join a group tour because it makes everything so much easier!
You don’t have to worry about organizing every detail and you can concentrate on meeting new friends and enjoying it.
Intrepid Travel features fantastic itineraries for solo travellers, including women-only tours, plus they give back supporting sustainable projects in the destinations they work with that foster local communities and conservation.
Also, no matter the destination or type of trip you choose, make sure you have good travel insurance.
Travelling can be a wonderful experience but you want to be sure that if something goes wrong you have someone taking care of you.
My best choice is World Nomad because they not only provide excellent travel insurance for intrepid travellers but they also give back through sustainable projects.