Solo travel can be a daunting prospect, Lorraine Wilson shares five reasons why she loves travelling alone and why it should be on your bucket list.
Whether it’s Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love or Reese Witherspoon in Wild, the Hollywood version of a woman travelling alone always involves drama. There has to be a reason for it — a voyage of self-discovery. It doesn’t have to be such a big deal. Solo travel can be nothing more than kicking back on a well-deserved holiday. However, if it is the first time that you’ve only had to worry about remembering one passport, travelling alone will be a different experience. Here are five reasons why a solo trip should be on your bucket list.
Solo travel lets you do what you want
This is the big one. How many precious holiday hours are wasted with this conversation. “What do you want to do?”. “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do?”. Repeat until frustrated and you end up doing nothing.
While your inner nerd is bursting to explore that modern art gallery, your travelling companion rolls their eyes and suggests that they would rather eat their own feet. You don’t go.
That doesn’t happen when you’re solo. Plan your days to do exactly what you want. Do it when you want. If you want to change your plans at the last minute… well, that’s up to you.
You’re a smart capable woman who can make her own decisions
With that great solo power comes great solo responsibility. Travelling alone can have the added benefit of boosting your decision-making skills. What to do for fun is up to you, but dealing with the dull and difficult stuff is too… particularly when you’re in a country where you have no language skills at all.
Are you on the correct platform for your train? Do you usually leave it to someone else to make complaints if something in your room isn’t working? It might sound pretty basic, but dealing with these problems can help you to trust yourself.
You know you’re a smart capable woman, who doesn’t need to have her hand held.
Solo travel will challenge you
There’s no one there to see you if you want to try bungee jumping or circus skills or watercolour painting. You can shrug off the shackles of feeling self-conscious and try new things without fear of what you might regard as failure. There’s no one there you know. What happens on your solo adventure can stay there if you choose.
Even the thought of eating alone can be daunting for some people. Trying it out while travelling will give you the confidence to do it at home. Eating alone can be quite a meditative experience. Put down the phone, don’t take a book as a safety net, just concentrate on having a lovely, lone lunch.
Experiment with your wardrobe
There’s a myth that women over 40 are invisible. We’re as invisible as we choose to be, at any age. Solo travellers can choose to blend into the background and become observers, but this can also be an opportunity to experiment with your wardrobe. Try out some looks that feel a little out of your comfort zone — a style that you wouldn’t debut on your local high street. The truth is you can be anyone out there on your own. There’s space to explore different aspects of yourself, even if it’s just wearing a spectacular hat.
Travelling solo is reinvigorating
I know many of us had the distress of spending repeated lockdowns alone, but a change of scenery can reinvigorate the sense of enjoying your own company. If you’ve spent the lockdowns with others, then having some time to yourself might be more important than ever.
Remember this is a choice to be alone — not to be confused with being lonely. If it pushes you out of a comfort zone then it’s all to the good. With longer trips there can be lonelier days of course. That’s only natural, but that’s when the benefit of technology comes in. A quick video chat with a good friend might be all you need to realise that you’re doing something that many others wouldn’t have the courage to try.
For top tips on taking a solo trip click here.
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