I will never get bored of elaborating and explaining and re-iterating that travel teaches. All the quotes are true and yet so limiting. For no matter how much we read the stories and facts or see the high definition pictures, for me; travel makes me. I can clearly recall how certain traits of me have changed with marked experiences through my solo travels.
You can and will read the stories in my blogs but here are the top 5 reasons why I travel solo and recommend it so wholeheartedly.
Instinct: Just plain Instinct. Not what your heart says, not what your mind thinks. Just Instinct. I have been stuck in some rather scary situations and also in some extremely tempting ones. I’ve made bad decisions and faced the consequences and more importantly; learnt my lessons. And this is the biggest one!
You know the first reaction of your body…? To any situation? The very first one, the withdrawing of the hand when we touch something hot, or how animals defend their young, or how simply our eyes shut to self protect. That is instinct. I’ve learnt to hear it, value it and be in tune with it for self preservation. Our anatomy is built to protect itself and our minds are yet to understand how it happens… well I am to..
When you travel solo and are responsible for yourself, you will face a million moments where you will need to take decisions. I have learnt, to simply trust my instinct. The slightest hesitation in my body language and I stop myself, the moment I feel I can trust and my mind is not crowded with what it has been conditioned to think, I’ve let go and discovered amazing places and wonderful people.
Impulse: When I’m travelling on my own, I need to keep reminding myself of my safety and budget. Yes, I’m mostly on a tight budget and as many of us, I have my vices. Travelling Solo teaches you to control your impulses and plan better. I have a weakness for shoes andwell anything unique I see in my travels. For various reasons, from luggage allowance to money to better plans, I’ve learnt how to control my wants for my needs.
For example, I found out that I could go White Shark diving in South Africa but had a limited budget, so I gave up on some much needed coffees and sandwiches and luxurious dining options for this once in a lifetime experience.
It’s now so easy for me not to splurge on shoes cause I’m looking at them and thinking that this pair may give me some .. some feel good moments but saving this money and spending it on my travel will give me memories I’ll share with my grandchildren .. hahah!
So my solo travel teaches me self control, planning and being wise with money.
Independence: I can only talk about the society I’ve been brought up in, where most decisions taken by us are… ummm… well communal. Many of us are Financially Independent, but rarely do we really understand the concept of Independence. Here is my concept of Independence. I have a mind of my own and I’ve learnt to express myself and my ideologies with my own logic. Not by what I was told, but by what I experience. Yes, I can take care of myself and choose not to seek permissions to live my own life.
Sounds easy right? Well, it is! It however does not mean that I don’t need anyone. I need my family, my husband, my friends. To love me, support me and suggest me, but Travel taught me to be ok .. rather happy on my own too. When I started travelling solo, we didn’t have whatsapp on our mobile phones where I could go into a cafe ask for the wifi code and tell my parents I was ok or see videos on youtube or FB. With days and weeks at hand in a foreign country and no internet, you have no choice but to connect with yourself. And in that connection I found my Inner Peace, my Self-Recognition, my Self-Acceptance and my being comfortable in my own skin for real. And that is my definition of Independence.
Interests: When any of my friends come to me with their guy troubles, I have often used a standard line… “It’s ok.. you are learning what you don’t want.” I feel everything that has happened in my life so far has happened for a reason, good or bad. And that we are supposedto learn from it. Had it not been the series of unfortunate events that had happened in my life, I wouldn’t be here. Here, with the man I love, in the home I live in, with the friends I’ve earned and travelling and being able to express my thoughts and feelings by writing. Each incident teaches us a little more about ourselves. What we like, what we don’t, what triggers us, what calms us down.
For example; I went to LA and hated it cause I felt it had no character or history, well.. turned out that even though I hated history as a subject in school I am actually a history buff. The names I crammed only to pass my tests are now my subjects of absolute interest. I used to think I didn’t like experimenting with food, I was wrong (thank god!). Unpatriotic people piss me off the most and music can heal me in ways you can’t fathom.
Post my accidents I had become … umm… cautious. Yes, Cautious with my body and would never even try the normal stuff. 45 days across 11 countries in Europe and I’ve figured I can walk for almost 15 Kms in a day and I’m perfectly capable of carrying my suitcase and I can change the tyres of a car without breaking a sweat.
Intelligence: No I don’t mean the regular intelligent. I think travel makes you worldly intelligent. It has made me street smart and oh trained me on how to quickly identify and not put up with bullshitters. I must confess, I was very naive till some years back, but once you are out there on your own, trying to make the best of your time and opportunities, one just does become more intelligent and fast at decision making.
And the other Intelligence, the most under-rated one… Emotional Intelligence. Boy have I learnt to respond instead of reacting and later regretting. Well, I’m still learning to be honest but am definitely on the right path. I now choose to discuss instead of debate, I vent out even the smallest irritants by communicating instead of becoming a pressure cooker. All the exposure to so many cultures and languages and people, changes you. Makes you a better listener, more helpful and broad minded to the literal meaning of it. Tolerant and respectful of everyone’s way and reason of being. Something I don’t think I would have learnt had I not travelled and come back to a room alone, left to mull over the events of the day and smile about them.
So go on out there… Explore! Experiment! and Excite your life! And get some more of “I”! 🙂