Why traveling solo? - Koh Phagnan, Thailand

6 reasons why traveling solo is life changing

6 reasons why traveling solo is an greatest life experience

‘Solo traveling is dangerous’, ‘you’re crazy’, ‘it will be boring’, ‘you should save money to buy a house’, ‘it’s bad for your resume’ or ‘you might die’! These kind of arguments is what I hear most often when talking about my solo trip. Do you agree with these arguments?
Is traveling solo really that dangerous? Or is it just people being ignorant?
Despite all that I still decided to go. Read the following reasons why traveling solo will impact your whole life.

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#1 Get to know yourself better

Taking a break of the daily life and dissociating yourself of the daily routine is a good moment to consider your daily life. A different surrounding and other people. No pressure of the society, your job, family and friends. By gaining new experiences, living in the moment, being aware of the things you truly do and don’t like and to think about what is truly important to you and what not, will make you to get to know yourself better.
Instead of just living your regular daily life, you’ll easier start to think about how far you’re absolutely living. Is everything what you’re doing in your daily life making you truly happy? Is it what you truly love? Or is there something which you’d like to change?
The more you get to know yourself, the easier it’ll be making decisions which will offer you happiness on the long-term.

After spending a few days in magical Pai, Thailand, I get to know a few amazing people. A guy from Israel and a lady from USA. While we only spend two or three days together, it felt like we knew each other for months! We had conversations about all different kind of subjects and we clicked so naturally. I already stayed one night longer than planned after I left Pai by motorbike and was heading to Chiang Mai. The 134 kilometres ride (83 miles) was breathtaking with its mountains views, but at the same time I had this restless feeling inside of me.. Why was I leaving while I was still having a great time there? Where did this restless feeling come from? Was it only because I had to stick to the plan so I could see everything I wanted? Or was this me discovering that connection with others is more important than visiting the places I planned in advance?

#2 Gain more self-confidence and belief in yourself

A lot of things you do while traveling is a first experience. Some are beautiful, some are awesome and some might be scary. Overcoming challenges will give you a boost of self-confidence!

Constrainedly you’ll have to take control over your life, moment by moment. Unpleasant things will you ignore easier. And that is exactly what taking the control over your life is about. Taking control will teach you that you’ll always have a choice and that you can lead your life. Choices about what you’re going to do, with whom you will hang out with and how to deal with your emotions. Of course you can not totally choose how to feel like, but taking control of your life can give you the opportunity to lead your emotions.

Leading your emotions to focus on what is important and what would make it easier to let go of negative feelings or situations. By taking control over your life you’ll live more the quality life you truly want. And by living more the way you truly want, the more self-confidence you’ll gain. And more self-confidence means more belief in yourself. And those characteristics are required to fulfill one of our basic needs: self-actualization.

Oh, and even if you don’t feel confident at the moment, did you know that faking self-confidence might help? Fake it until you become it! More about this in a future post.. Stay tuned!

#3 Increase your independency

While traveling you’re quite some time on your own or with people you just met. Consistently you need to make choices. What’s the next destination? How will I get there? What is a safe way to travel? How to deal with my attitude in countries with another culture, norm and values? Where am I going to sleep? Is the accommodation I’m going to stay clean and payable with my budget? All aspects what you need to take in account.

Even during moments of tiredness or weakness, making choices is still essentially. You’ll learn how to motivate yourself, because there won’t be someone around you all the time to help you out or carry the load. Using your common sense consistently and taking safety as a priority will take care of making independency more your own.
Your choices can make a whole lot of difference. Your choices can lead to a breathtaking view or to a crappy hostel with bed bugs.

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#4 Get deeply connected to your inner self and learn to live more pure

How do you feel when you’re on a holiday or when you’re having a day out. Relaxed? No stress? Energized?
In our Western culture we are used to have our day completely filled. Work, study, appointments, expectations of the society, stress and sleep deprivations are typically in our culture. Busy living up to the expectations of the daily life and forgetting about what we want, how we feel and taking an moment of silence. All these kind of factors make that we easily get disconnected from ourselves.

Instead of ticking off the appoinments in our daily life, while traveling we are perforced to make decisions how to plan our day. You’ll listen with full attention to yourself by considering how your feel today and what do you feel like doing today. And from there you’ll make a decision. You’ll start living more in the moment, more pure.
And even if you don’t want to, it’ll be hard to ignore your feelings. You will get confronted with your feelings for sure. And that’s a good start to get connected to your inner self.

#5 Ultimate freedom

Not must to be on time on your job, not finishing your essay on time and no expectations. All time and space to do whatever you want and just for you. And that will give you ultimate freedom.
By traveling solo you also don’t need to take account with your travel partner. And you’ll also get easier in contact with other travelers. Many other people are traveling solo and are looking for someone else to hang out with. Being on your own makes it easier to start a chat with you than while you are with someone else.
The feeling of ultimate freedom is something magical, you just need to experience it!

#6 Expand your horizon

Step out of your comfort zone by doing things for the first time which might be new, exciting and maybe scary at first sight. By doing these things once or repeatedly you’ll make it more your own. Everytime when you do things again, they feel more comfortable doing. You enlarge your comfort zone by stepping out of it.

While I was having my Birmese potato curry dinner in Mae Sot, Thailand, a white elderly man walked in. We were the only guests in the small restaurant, situated behind a shop where they sell products, made by Birmese refugees. The restaurant was nothing more than a wooden canopy of bamboo and handmade tables and chairs. He took place at the pillow on the floor behind me and ordered his dinner. I was sitting at the chair, like I’m used to have my dinner. We started talking and the man told me he from USA. He used to have a successful job in banking and moved to Thailand. He converted to Buddhism. His believe is that giving something back to people is more important than always working hard to gain money for yourself and for material needs. It was something new for me. I never met a kind of person like this, who choose this kind of lifestyle after he had a total different life in a total different world.

While traveling you’ll meet different kind of people. Locals, other travelers from different countries, different cultures and other mentalities. Everyone has their own story, their own visions and their own perspectives of life. And the beautiful thing about traveling is that most people you’ll meet are more open than you’re used at home. Maybe because you just have simply nothing to lose and maybe never seeing them again makes it feel more safe being open. I experienced a deeper connection with people who I met just a couple of days ago than with some people I might know for years.
Exchanging thoughts about anything in life makes you think more outside the box. You’ll gain valuable insights which can offer you more delight in your life.

Traveling solo gave me ups and downs, but the magical feeling made it priceless!

Why I chose to start traveling solo

Since September 2012 I moved to my current hometown, Rotterdam. First I lived together with my parents in a small, quiet place, and before that I lived with my ex-boyfriend for less than two years. Not used to the big city, but I’ve always been attracted to the big city life. Living there was on my bucket list. I ticked off this goal way earlier than expected. This because of an internship for my bachelor of Social Work.
Most of the time chances don’t come at a moment you planned. So I decided I shouldn’t refuse this chance and take the step to see how it would work out.

Although I was happy I made this decision, at the same time a feeling of loneliness overcame me. An confronting chapter in my life, which I did not expect.. I didn’t know a lot of people in Rotterdam and didn’t have the feeling I could express myself verbally. I tried to get my happiness from other people, despite I knew that happiness should come from within. Having my own place wasn’t so fun in the beginning as I expected. I felt lost. It felt like I had no idea who I was and it felt like a start of processing the relationship with my ex. An uncomfortable, unsafe feeling inside of me..
Tjeez, this is hard to tell you all.. Even while writing I notice myself seeking for other reasons. Other reasons so I won’t have to admit this and not confronting myself with it..

According to different articles and stories of other people, a solo travel trip would offer the solution. Putting myself in a situation where I definitely would get confronted with myself, without any distractions. It would offer me the opportunity to gain more self-knowlegde and a fulfilled life.

Although in the meantime, before I started my solo trip, I got to know myself little by little. I processed the relationship I had with my ex and I learned how to deal with the feeling of being lonely. I even started to love spending time on my own. Still I was convinced that this trip was going to offer me more than just a regular holiday getaway. I still wanted to gain more self-knowledge. I promised myself to just do it. And yes, it was a greatest life experience! Even if it was just one month. Yes, I had ups and downs, but the magical made it priceless!
Now I’m curious what my next trip, which will be way bigger, has to offer me. And I would love to get a more and deeper connection with myself.

Don’t listen to the ‘naysayers’

Traveling reminded me again that saying no to ‘naysayers’ and listen more often to myself is essential to have a fulfilled life. Since then my life became more like how I truly want to live. More ‘me’.
I’ve always been this kind of person who goes her own way, but somehow I forgot about it. My solo travel trip reminded me again how important it is to follow your heart, intuition and feelings. It gave me more happiness, more quality and I became more successful in reaching my goals. Listening to others is not always wise.

And remember: you always know more than you think and you can do always more than you can imagine! Never let other people tell you that you can’t. Believe that everything is possible. And this mindset can make a huge difference in your life between night and day.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Once you do, you´ll find that you´re living at a more exhilarating place”. – Richard Branson. 

Ask yourself

Traveling solo is an oppurtunity which you always have, but of course, it’s way more easy to do it before you are settled down. Why don’t you just give it a try and see how it will work out for you? Even if you decide to come back earlier than planned, solo traveling will always give you lessons about yourself and your life. Do you dare?

And did you know.. not taking the chance to travel is one of the regrets of dying elderly people?

Will you be one of those elderly people who regret you didn’t take the chance to go travel when you’re dying?
What are your reasons why you’re still in doubt wether to travel or not?

I would like to hear your answers below. 🙂

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Welcome to TRAVEL PARALLEL! Traveling is not only a physical journey, but also a journey through your inner self. Getting inspired by other people's stories, different cultures and my own life experiences. This is your online guide to start your life journey. You'll find practical and inspiring articles to motivate you to take this leap of faith. Travel Parallel is about traveling, my passions and self improvement. My personal blog and photos. Dare to live life to the fullest! It might be life changing.. ;)

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