The train started moving.
I remember exactly how it felt at that moment. My mind was clear. My heart was free. An unknown adventure lies ahead of me as I head out for the first time to a foreign country, alone. For the first time ever, the feeling of freedom engulfs my heart. It’s not exactly happiness. It’s a mixture of excitement, fear, happiness, curiosity, adventure and many more emotions thrown into a ball. Ask anyone about their first-time experience when they travelled alone and most probably they will tell you the same thing. It’s not easy to describe how it feels but I can tell you that it feels wonderful.
How does it feel to travel alone?
I’ll try to put it in words for you.
1. You are the master of your time
Feel like stopping for a cup of coffee? Yes, you can, when you travel alone. Feel like visiting that shop that triggers your interest? Yes, please. The best part is, you do not have to ask anyone’s permission or have someone waiting for you while you immerse yourself in something that you love to do. You just, do it. Travelling alone gives you the freedom to plan YOUR trip according to the way you like it. No more people telling you where to go, no more waking up and rushing out of the door. It’s just you and whatever that you fancy.
2. Meet the Locals
Being on your own brings with it the great opportunity of mixing up with the locals. By getting to know these locals, you will get to find hidden travel locations that are only known to locals or some really good eating spots that offer really good food at a local price. I met a taxi driver once who recommended me to one of the best boat noodles in Bangkok! Until today, the taste of that boat noodle still lingers in my mind. Even if you don’t understand their language, figuring out the whole conversation itself will keep you amused.
3. You learn that being alone is not bad at all
There will be moments where you do not talk to a single soul for hours when you travel alone. You are just lost in your own thoughts and surprisingly, you find it calming. You would like just thinking all by yourself, wondering about your own life and the life of those that surround you. It’s meditative. You just spend time, watching life go by. Just imagine it now and you can feel that weird pang in your heart.
4. You meet new friends along the way
When you are travelling with a group of daily friends, it’s kinda hard for you to get to meet other travellers. But if you are travelling alone, the chances are more than open. A simple “hi” could earn you a new temporary travel partner or some stories for the road. When you are alone, you seem more approachable and don’t be afraid, there are many others who are travelling alone like you. They might feel just as lonely as you at times and are more than happy to share a drink with a fellow traveller.
5. Tripling your confidence
Navigating the map. Bartering with the taxi driver. Getting better rates for your room. Asking for directions. All these will be things that you will be doing, by yourself when you travel alone. Eventually, it gets easier and you will grow more confident in yourself. You will notice that things are much smoother and you start to see a different side of yourself. You start believing that YOU can do it yourself.
6. A mind enrichment
As you step outside your comfort zone to tread off the beaten track, you have some really intriguing stories to tell. Whether it’s about spending a night under the stars all by yourself, playing football at the beach with a bunch of foreign nationals or getting lost in a village in the middle of nowhere, these stories will follow you for a lifetime. When you travel alone, you become more courteous, generous and respectful. You realize that more often than not, a genial smile goes a long way. A simple smile could get you many favours done.
For those of you who are still considering travelling alone, let me leave you with one final quote:
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