I experienced solo travel for the first time 13 years ago. The destination was Cameroon, Africa. I was invited as the keynote speaker for a young women’s conference, and I spent several days more connecting with and encouraging young women there. I questioned my decision to go to Cameroon a few times before my departure date. Why? Fear – mainly because I was experiencing two major firsts – solo travel and the role of a keynote speaker.
Of course, my perseverance resulted in a life-changing experience. And I have since successfully completed other solo trips to various destinations in the U.S. and abroad.
I can sum up what I have gained from solo travel in two words – Personal Growth. In what way? I’m glad you asked! Keep reading.
1. Triumph Over Fear – Of course, fear has a tendency to creep in and make one pause or even retreat. The key is to keep moving forward – persevere. I pressed on and reaped the benefits.
It was Dale Carnegie who said “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.”
2. Comfort zone – To overcome fear I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something different. How can you grow if you continue to do the things you’ve always done the way you’ve always done them?
3. Confidence – Overcoming my fears boosted my confidence.
4. Increased Self-awareness – I learned more about myself and what I’m capable of doing.
5. Open-minded – Remaining open-minded expanded my knowledge area. One thing I learned is that just because someone in another culture/different background executes something differently than I’m accustomed to doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. It simply means that it’s different.
6. Greater Resourcefulness - Resourcefulness includes:
A. Being Proactive – Planning ahead and taking care of as much as possible ahead of time pays off. Example: researching the destination – climate, culture, etc. helped in areas such as packing my luggage and understanding how to relate to the native residents of my destination.
B. Positive Attitude – Remain optimistic throughout the journey, and recognize the positive benefits in every situation.
7. Relationship Building – Solo travel (and travel in general) is a great relationship builder! You may communicate with a stranger along the way, and that simple act could end up being the start of a lifelong friendship. I have learned about different cultures, people, and attained new friends near and far through travel.
How have you benefitted from solo travel?