I personally believe that traveling alone is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. It doesn't matter if it is traveling to a neighboring city, to another state or even to another country. I have always been the type of person that enjoys hanging out with friends and family, so enjoying activities alone wasn't something that was part of my life - that is until the pandemic outbreak entered the picture. I was one of the millions of people that had to learn how to be by themselves. Raise your hand if you were one of the people that started taking interest in baking and other DIY projects when we couldn't go outside and socialize. I, of course, was part of that group. Being alone pushed me into making plans for when social distancing times would be over so I would have something to look forward to.
That, of course included traveling - one of the main restrictions of the pandemic times. When things started to calm down, people also started taking interest in leaving their homes and getting out to spread their wings once again. My personal experience was flying to São Paulo, Brazil, alone for the first time - and here is what I learned from it (and how I think it helped me grow personally).
1- Getting out of my comfort zone
The first step to traveling alone is taking a deep breath and accepting that you're by yourself. While that might not sound like much, it is a big deal if it is your first time doing something like this. Doing things that are new with new environs and not having people that you know to rely on is a really big step out of your comfort zone. But taking the first step is the most difficult one - after this, you'll actually feel free that you're out of your own bubble.
2- Planning ahead
Being alone also means that you'll have to plan everything thoroughly, as you'll want to make sure that you'll want to have as few problems as possible during your trip. That means you'll have to be organized not only with your schedule, but also with everything you're going to pack for your trip. I used the Google Maps' app to find places that I wanted to visit and made a short itinerary for myself beforehand. And when it comes to carrying my personal day to day things, like phone, passport and lipstick, I like to keep all of my essentials close to me. I used my Cash & Carry and removed the straps to carry my makeup inside my luggage while in transit and kept my documents inside the Coin Clutch. Knowing that my essentials are close to me assures me that I will not lose anything. That is why the Phone Pouch was my go-to accessory when flying to São Paulo. I wore it around my neck so I wasn't doing that frantic all-over-body-pat looking for where I placed it, always with that lingering feeling that it could be lost. Nope, don't have to deal with that worry any longer. Thanks phone pouch!
3- Being more independenT
All the planning (and actually taking it into action) resulted in one single thing: making me more independent. To actually carry out what I had planned previously, made me stick to my plans and go on the adventures alone. For someone who wasn't used to even going to restaurants alone, this step was life changing. When you're traveling alone, specially if it is in a place you're not used to, it is important to build your confidence to have fun by yourself. Once that is done, you'll learn how to be more independent and rely on yourself - and you will be able to do things you never thought you could. Amen.
4- Being more responsible
I personally think that being responsible is one of the most important qualities to possess in life in order to avoid trouble - this is significant when you want to have as few problems as possible on a trip. From scheduling the flights and hotels to departing for home, it is essential that you act with responsibility. That means being careful with your money, your belongings, being alert at all times and making careful, calculated decisions. For me, being a woman has always put me in a position where I have to protect myself wherever I go - so I always make sure to carry a safety door lock for hotels and to protect everything that I need. I like to wear the Belt Bag because it keeps my belongings close to my body, and I can keep it close which helps even in crowded places.
5- Learning how to deal with adversities
The harsh reality is that if any problems arise, chances are that you're the one who caused it - and you're the one who'll be getting yourself out of the situation. When you're alone, you'll have to learn how to take responsibility for the problems you face and fix them yourself. It's time to wipe those tears off your face and get busy solving the problem. You will learn to take full responsibility and watch yourself grow. Without a travel partner to help point you in the right (or wrong) direction, you'll have to find the courage to trust your own experiences and instincts. There's no other choice, after all. It might be difficult and you will have to live with your mistakes. But let's be real - it's better to make mistakes than not to have lived at all.
6- appreciating the world around me
It is possible to appreciate a new place even more than a familiar one. You'll discover things you didn't even know were possible, food you had no idea existed, types of people and ways of life you have never seen before that just open your eyes to new possibilities of living. The world is full of wonders, but the more time you spend away from home, the easier it is to take the experience for granted. Traveling alone gave me an opportunity to see things with fresh eyes, on my watch, giving my thoughts and reflections time to filtrate—I stopped taking things for granted or assuming that everything I knew was right or good enough. I learned how much there was left in this world that I hadn't seen or experienced yet!
7- Being more confident in myself
Confidence is a big one. You're out there, you're alone, and you have to be confident in yourself. There's no one else who can do it for you. I've never been the most adventurous person in the world, but traveling alone has helped me learn to be more confident in my surroundings and myself as a whole. It's made me realize that if I want something or believe in something, then I can do it. It has helped me to know that when it comes right down to it, my confidence comes from within and it is I who must build it.
Travel safe and be well in 2023~ and try a solo trip!