Solo Travel

Wohooo – today is a special day! June 14th 2018: I am proudly celebrating 100 days on the road. Time to review what travelling by myself taught me so far.

Travelling with your family, friends or people you know well or love is an amazing experience. You create moments that you will cherish for the rest of your life. But still, there is something very special in the experience of travelling by yourself.

Well, I am not entirely by myself on my trip, because I have my furry friend Fiete with me and my husband comes to visit from time to time. But still, it is a completely different experience than normal vacations I have gone to with friends and family in the past. And I would like to encourage you to also experience the greatness of solo travel. Especially as a woman.

It doesn’t really matter how long you go, what your destination is and how you travel. If you are flying, walking or like me driving a motorhome through Europe. Solo travelling can be a life-changing experience and I give you 10 reasons why that is exactly:

1. Trust yourself

I strongly believe in the power of gut feelings and that you just need to find yourself to actually discover you have it. Solo travelling will expose you to many of these situations. And you will have to learn to trust yourself and your instinct.

I have had many incidents where I learned that I can fully rely on myself in different situations – whether it was taking the right exit on the highway, finding a safe spot to stay overnight or trusting people I met along my journey.

2. Solve problems

You will face many unplanned and unexpected situations when travelling solo, especially if you are far away from home. I had technical stuff break down on my motorhome, had to escape with Fiete from stray dogs that were aggressively defending their territory and I had to go to the hospital in Albania due to a legionella infection.

Maybe things won’t be so drastic in your case but not everything will be hunky dory, no matter how good of a planner you are. When things go down, you are on your own as a solo traveller and there’s no one around to help you find the right solution. So you discover problem solving skills that you didn’t know existed before along your way.

3. Out of your comfort zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a mesmerizing experience. Constantly. You will do things you have never thought you would have to do. I can’t even tell you how many of these situations occurred to me during my trip through Europe.

From driving the motorhome at strong sidewinds across a long bridge from Peleponnese in Greece to the mainland, having to park my vehicle on a ferry backwards and two levels up in the middle of the night or simply jump off that dock bridge right into the ice cold Adriatic Sea.

You will face all your weaknesses and learn to deal with them. But only if you step out of your comfort zone.

4. Manage control

I generally love(d) having control. But having travelled by myself taught me that you can’t always have control over everything. And that’s a good thing because we need to learn to let go sometimes.

If you want to survive in current times of constant change, you need to learn how to just embrace chaos and go with the flow. Therefore you need to learn how to manage control patterns. I can tell you, it simply frees you up.

5. Make new friends

The solo journey will lead you to make new friends at the most unexpected places. You realize out of nowhere, that you have a lot more in common with new companions along your way than you could have ever imagined.

I have made amazing connections with retired married couples, fresh in love students and also other solo travellers. Even though you think these people are totally different from you, you quickly realize that everyone shares similar goals, fears, hopes and expectations in life. So it is very easy to make friend along the way.

6. Open your mind

Travelling solo really opens your mind. When you are in your normal environment in your comfort zone, you tend to make routines a huge part of your life. You don’t really leave a lot of time to spend with your thoughts. You just go with the daily 24/7 without reflecting who you are, what you want and how to achieve it.

You also might not take the time to discover new things such as going rafting, proactively speaking to people you don’t know or getting on a bus with unknown destination. You will quickly learn that if you open your mind, you will see the beauty of new things in life that you haven’t seen before.

7. Become more patient

Yes, for the ones of you who know me by now, you will not believe that I will actually say this. I learned how to wait and see, and that is a great feeling. I have had to wait stuck in traffic, for campsites to open up, for sheep herds to go by and for ferries being late. Sometimes even over 9 hours.

Travelling by yourself, you don’t have any other chance to accept the situation if you don’t want to be grumpy constantly – which you don’t because you are taking time off. I learned through waiting though, that you can actually make the best out of everything.

You get to know more people, discover more landscapes or simply learn how to not be bored if you don’t have anything to do.

8. Just don’t care

After your solo travel, you will realize that opinions of other people don’t matter as much as before. Some people might judge you for one reason or another, but with so many things to explore, discover and go through on your adventure, you will learn how to keep your eyes on the big picture.

As you have learned how to trust yourself even outside of your comfort zone and solve problems easily by yourself, it is much easier to not care so much what others say or think about you. You will become more independent.

9. Become a logistics expert

You are in charge of your adventure, from route, accommodation, health insurance and managing culture in different countries to dealing with where to get dog food such as in my case.

I have become really good about driving into airports with my motorhome, having only a few centimeters to the left, right and top to go through the gates and pick up my husband when visiting me.

I was pretty good in managing logistics before my trip, but I got even better and more importantly I have grown as a person. You learn how to juggle with a lot of different plans and manage more and more things at the same time. It’s surprisingly similar to working on a few different projects and having deadlines for all of them – at the same time.

10. Find home

You will see that you can find home anywhere. I realized that home isn’t necessarily one place, but more a connection with yourself and with other people around you. It’s a place where you know you can open your mind, heart and soul and present yourself to the world just as who you are. These Happy Places what I also call them, feel like home and you will quickly see that you can find this anywhere, no matter where you are.

What are your experiences travelling by yourself or if you haven’t don it yet, what are your doubts and stoppers to just go for it? I would love to hear them from you.