Casual photo on the main staircase at the Kunshistoriches Museum in Vienna, Austria.
I recently received an email from GRRRRL Traveler with a link to a video that was about the 15 most popular reasons why people (or women, more specifically) travel solo. I watched it and I was like, “Oh I totally agree!” and I thought I’d make my own list the top 5 reasons why I started traveling solo years ago.
- Independence: I like traveling by myself first and foremost because I like doing my own thing. I can move from one place to the next very quickly and I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I’m tiring someone out. Is this selfish? Perhaps. But who said being selfish is always a bad thing? Traveling is expensive and I like to get the most out of it.
- Experiencing New Culture: I like to learn how other people live. I like to learn about their traditions and what is customary in their day to day life. I grew up in a culture that told me that “we’re #1!” over and over and I think it’s easy to see that this is not always true.
- Meeting New People: If I’m anywhere – near or far – with friends it’s way less likely that I’ll talk to strangers. Traveling solo encourages me to talk to people in bars and my hostels and I love meeting people from different places (see reason #2!). If I’m with my friends, we’re much more likely to converse between ourselves and not with random strangers and that’s boring.
- Challenge Myself: I’ve been to the countries where the #1 (Hungary) and #2 (Poland) hardest languages in the world are spoken. This language barrier forces me to learn a bit of another country’s language and be really thoughtful about what I’m doing. I also like to challenge myself to teach myself to navigate the metro systems as well as mastering walking around a completely new city. I aced this in Vienna.
- Learning How To Be With Myself: Even though I’ve had a daily meditation practice since 2013, it’s always beneficial to continue getting to know yourself when you’re by yourself. When you’re sitting on the metro or a train going somewhere, you’re alone in your accommodation at night, or eating alone somewhere, it’s really nice to sit and be quiet (and by “nice,” I obviously mean it can be challenging!). Don’t take your phone out and distract yourself from the experience of witnessing what’s going on around you and in your head. You’re traveling FFS! Be present! I always have a journal with me and whenever I remember to write in it I love to just let whatever is in my head spill out onto paper even if it’s not related to my travels.
I wish (sort of?) that there were deeper or more prolific reasons for “why I travel,” but these five reasons are really it! What are your top 3 reasons for traveling solo? Let me know below!