Traveling with friends and family is always fun, but traveling alone is where it’s at. I have never felt more brave, smart, beautiful, and adventurous than when traveling alone. It is complete and utter bliss. Well, maybe not all of the time. It can also be scary, challenging, and even lonely. Nonetheless, I believe that I have come to know and love myself better by stepping outside of my comfort zone and creating my own adventure. It’s also quite the confidence booster to hear the ‘oos’ and ‘ahhs’ of people when you tell them that you are fearless enough to travel to a foreign country alone. It is a quality not many people have. Here are just some of the reasons why you need to travel alone in your 20s.
1. Learning self-love.
In a society that revolves around social media and beauty standards, traveling alone teaches you to be happy with yourself and appreciate your personality traits instead of physical features. When you feel beautiful on the inside, it truly radiates out and your confidence will be sky high! Try splurging and taking yourself out for a good meal once in a while. You will be amazed how comfortable you feel spending time with yourself without the distraction of electronics or nervously worrying if strangers are judging you for dining alone. Once you come back home you will be much more content going to a movie alone or grabbing a good book and spending the afternoon in the park. You will learn to appreciate alone time and realize that it contributes to self-growth.
2. Make friends with strangers.
We are all taught not to talk to strangers, but when traveling alone you have no choice but to trust strangers for directions, advice on where to eat, etc. This is a great lesson for those of us who have trouble with prejudices. You will see the world with a whole new point of view and come to realize that kindness is everywhere, despite language barriers. You will also learn to be more accepting of foreigners in your home country and to be more compassionate.
3. Stop and smell the roses.
Traveling alone gives you the time and motivation to cherish the little things in life. Take a stroll along the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset, treat yourself to a decadent cup of gelato or glass of wine, or go for a hike and take as many breaks as you want! This is your trip and you get to make all the calls. For those of us who tend to be indecisive, traveling alone is the perfect opportunity to take initiative and make decisions for yourself because no one is there to make them for you.
4. You learn to roll with the punches because when life gives you lemons you don’t just have to make lemonade!
How about some Italian limoncello instead? You will experience new emotions, feelings, and mental challenges. Embrace these new emotions whether they are euphoric or gloomy, because they will help you discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed.
5. Learn to live a minimalistic lifestyle.
Less is more while traveling. Pack only the bare minimums and learn to get by with only the essentials. You will see that not everyone in the world is lucky enough to own dozens of different outfits. All of the things you used to cherish will seem incredibly materialistic now. Pack lighter by sticking to a few wardrobe classics, and bring extra storage for pictures!
6. You gain a new respect for your family, friends, and everyday life.
You realize that nothing should be taken for granted and each moment of life is precious.
So pack your bags and your passport, and start traveling in the world. You won’t be sorry you did! Good luck fellow travelers.
By Emily Freis