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The one big secret nobody will tell you about solo travel –Hint: It’s not what you’d expect

“Dude, by yourself?”

“Yes, I’m going to solo travel.”

“Wait, but… How are you doing that?”

“Well, I’m going to book a flight, climb on the plane, and leave, by myself.”

*looks of confusion*

By now, this conversation has occurred on what feels like hundreds of times when asked about leaving to solo travel with no return booked. This is unbelievably common for so many people.

What is it about the thought of travelling all on your own that has people so freaked out?

It seems that the thought of reaching out into the world to experience a few months, or longer, of backpacking is hugely inspiring, exciting and normal …if you’re going with a travel buddy or a group.

But to go by yourself? You must be mad.

Whilst solo travel is experienced by so many different people throughout the world, men and women alike, it seems it’s incredibly difficult for people to get their head around why you would want to travel alone.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been on a solo-trip and what it felt like for you, what was the biggest takeaway you got from it? Also, let me know if you are planning a trip, solo or not and where you are going.

Why solo travel?

The one big secret nobody will tell you about solo travel, but why solo travel?

For me personally, the thought of travelling solo has only been something I’ve recently come to desire; I call it The Wanderlust Effect. Through a combination of wonderful, personal experiences and some truly terrible ones which I talk about in this post, I decided that I wanted to travel, but for a number of reasons, I didn’t want to do it with other people.

What made me decide to do it by myself?

This got summed up very well by one of my close friends Fran, who recently walked from the top of Spain to the bottom, by herself, in a month.

We were chatting about travel and what it can do for your perspective and got onto the topic of whether travelling alone or with other people is better.

For inspiration on getting started click here to download 6 tips for getting ready to solo travel

Travelling with other people can be annoying

One thing we both agreed on is whilst travelling with other people, your personalities can clash. Often you’ll want to do different things and that can be hard when you want to focus. It’s tough if you’re running an online business on the road, for full time working nomads, it is near impossible to spread yourself between group activities (usually involving excessive alcohol consumption) and running your online business.

People just don’t get it when you have to work

Solo travel can be very appealing for people, like me, who are travelling and working. If you’re running your own Lifestyle Business from the road it can be hard having other people around who aren’t in the same boat.

They just aren’t interested in helping you run your business, and honestly, why should they be? They aren’t a paid member of your team and for them, they’re in holiday mode, which is awesome!

You can focus on your schedule and priorities

Don’t want to go to the pub every night and instead wake up early and go for a jog? Sure. When you’re travelling with somebody else or a group you’re always focused on what makes everyone happy.

Sometimes, it’s ok to be selfish.

Travelling solo lets you focus on what you want to do, when you want to do it and at what pace. Take my recent trip to Split, Croatia for example. I was there for two weeks, in which time I explored Hvar; a local island, an hour’s ferry ride for a few days. But, other than that I mostly stayed in Split. I relaxed, did a small amount of sightseeing but overall focused on my business.

I know if I had have done the trip with anybody else it would have been different. No doubt I’d have been up and down Croatia, exploring Dubrovnik, hiring boats and seeing the islands. All of which would have been amazing but would I have got a lot done work wise? Probably not.

It’s all about what’s important to you but going solo means you can focus on just that – what you truly want.

The one big secret that nobody will tell you…

Now, here’s the kicker. From everyone who has solo travelled you will hear all the good stuff. Tales of adventures, meeting strangers and becoming the best of friends, unplanned trips and experiences and that time you met a dude in Columbia that lived a door down from you in the UK.

But, here’s what they don’t tell you:

Solo travel is lonely.

*World’s smallest violin starts playing*

Okay, okay this isn’t a cry for help or me looking for sympathy but it’s the truth.

When you solo travel, you are going to feel alone

It sounds negative but let me tell you… this is actually one of the most positive things that can happen to you in your whole life.

By being alone, by missing loved ones, by wanting to share what you discover with other people you will learn how to be alone. By learning how to be happy or even to just accepting the loneliness and how to deal with it, it can help you grow immeasurably as a person.

For me, it’s been about opening my eyes and being more thoughtful, less selfish and focussing on others before myself. Being alone helps you connect with others and connect with yourself in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re surrounded by your friends and family in your comfort zone.

I challenge you to discover a new you, learn more about yourself than you ever thought was possible, and be brave. Step outside your comfort zone and discover why learning how to be alone can teach you how to accept, forgive and truly give.

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Jamie is a freelance writer and sales coach who has over 10 years of experience in retail and sales. He is now taking his experience on the road and is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs achieve their potential.

  • I get the same look when I tell people I traveled to Asia this summer without my wife. They immediately think something is wrong, and that I’m crazy. Truth is our relationship is stronger than ever and we both travel, together and separate, on a regular basis.

  • I’ve spent close to 8 out of the past 12 months solo traveling and have definitely had my share of loneliness over that stretch. I’ve always thought of myself as an introvert who would rather be alone that around other people. This past year has made me realize that while I do love my “me time”, there’s a limit to the amount of time before I need to be around others.

    I’ve actually come out of my shell and find it way easier to talk to people after spending so much time by myself, I think both from becoming even more comfortable with who I am, and also, to be honest out of a bit of desperation to talk to anyone!

    • That is so true Jeremy, I’ve always previously been happy with my own alone time and it does force you to come out of your shell and to speak to people.

      Desperation is a powerful thing!

  • I haven’t taken a solo trip out of the U.S. yet, but have done a good bit of cross-country travel alone. I absolutely LOVE solo travel in the States! It’s given me a new sense of strength and confidence. Not to mention the ability to reach out to strangers and learn amazing things from them. Once on a train trip to New Orleans, I was seated by a young man from London who was traveling through the Deep South to follow the Blues Trail. We had the best time chatting; I learned that he was an extra in all the Harry Potter films and was using his earnings to fund his trip. How fun is that!?!

    • There is so much to see in the US alone, it’s no surprise a lot of people never leave the US. I’d love to visit New Orleans, It’s definitely on the list!

      Chatting to people you meet whilst travelling is so magical, I’ve found that it can often create friendships and bond stronger than any you could make at home. Sometimes they are stronger because you know they are going to be cut short.

      P.s. That dude sounds awesome, Harry Potter rocks! (none biased English opinion…honest)

  • I realized I actually prefer travelling solo but the times I get homesick is mostly when I get lonely. I could be at a massive rave, concert, spa party, pub crawl with so many people that I’ve talked to for a few days and still feel lonely. Like man, if one of my hot goss hot friends were here, we could have laughed about this joke together. That’s probably the downfall for me when travelling solo, not be able to share an inside joke with a friend who’s back home. But like all feelings, that passes too and you make new friends ^.^

  • Thanks for your post Jamie… I’ve traveled with friends and solo, but my preference is solo! The main reason is I can’t wait for friends to be ready, it really is letting others dictate your life. It can be lonely, but that is a very different thing to being alone. Some of my loneliest times have been spent in groups or with family. As one of your other commenters said, it passes but, importantly it forces us to be open, which is great to help personal growth and connects us to those around us in some incredible, unexpected ways.

    • Thanks so much for reaching out Siobhan! You are absolutely right with your comment, being lonely is very different to being alone.

      Why is it people faff about so much when getting ready to travel, hey?

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