Two years ago after graduating university with a Bachelor of Arts degree (yep, the degree you choose when you have no clue what to do with your life), I decided to pack my bags and head overseas for a whole year by myself. This was no easy decision. The introvert in me was absolutely terrified. I had never done anything this spontaneous before. I loved my life growing up in the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney. I felt comfortable and happy, but there was always this feeling of adventure I just could not shake. The world is so big and there is so much to explore. I needed to challenge myself and get my butt kicked into gear, and experience being completely independent.
After half a year of saving my ass off, I booked a one way ticket to Namibia in Africa of all places. I really just threw myself into the deep end with that one, but it was by far the best decision of my life. African sunsets, watching awkward baby elephants, playing with baby baboons, are just some of the things that will win you over, but more on that in another post. Below are some of the reasons why as a woman, you should book that flight now and travel solo!
Say goodbye to your comfort zone
There is no such thing as a comfort zone when you travel solo. When travelling to a new city every 3-4 days, everything is a new experience and it’s so exciting not knowing what to expect from your day. As a person who used to get a little anxious during social situations and meeting new people, it was a scary prospect having to constantly make new friends during my travels. I learned that putting yourself out there is the best thing you can do because everyone is generally more open and willing to try new things when travelling. One of the best days of my travels was in Munich, when I befriended a group of fellow travellers and we found ourselves wandering the whole city, talking non-stop, taking breaks only to eat and drink our weight in pork crackling and beer.
You learn to love or at least tolerate your own company
When you travel by yourself there will be lots and lots and lots of time to think. You learn to be comfortable with spending time with yourself and being in your own head. There are ups and downs to this. The downside is that it can feel lonely and you can start to overthink things, but the upside is that you learn so much about yourself, what you like and don’t like and most importantly, you learn that you are capable of achieving anything. From finding accommodation and flights super last minute, to talking yourself out of so many awkward AF situations.
You appreciate the little things
You will experience so many pinch me moments and learn to really be present and focus on the spectacular sights right in front of you. I remember walking across the Pont Neuf in Paris with a friend eating salted caramel macarons, and listening to a busker playing the accordion and my friend turned to me in a panic and said, “this is so beautiful, we have to come back here!” It was like she was afraid that when she blinked it would all disappear. I had to remind her that we were already here and that we should just soak it all in.
You gain independence
You will quickly realise that you are all you need to solve your problems. Lock yourself out of your apartment? No problem. Get on the wrong train heading in the opposite direction? No problem? Nearly get pickpocketed by a bunch of gypsies? No problem. When you travel solo there is no room to panic. You have to think smart and fast and trust me, it’s never as bad as you may think and there is always something you can do.
There are so many more reasons why you should travel solo but hopefully these have inspired you to be adventurous and get out of your comfort zone! You will experience freedom on a whole other level. You will make so many new friends, gain confidence and discover what really makes you happy. So, what are you waiting for?!
Words by Tamara Bose