The Art of Travelling Solo

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

From the moment I first read Jules Verne’s, ‘Around The World in 80 Days’, my mind awoke to an Imaginarium of possibilities. I became intoxicated with the idea of adventure and exploration. I wanted to travel to the ends of the earth, drink it all in and become drunk on its endless possibilities.

I soon realised that those I travelled with didn’t quite possess the same appetite I had for devouring all that was around me. I felt restricted, a prisoner unable to escape and explore the world that I wanted. I desired the freedom to discover more. I needed to embark on an adventure of my making. I would soon learn that the Art of Travelling Solo was being able to create and write your own narrative.

For me travelling solo is a transformative experience of unbridled joy and self-discovery. Through freedom, independence, self-reflection, and connections with diverse cultures, you unlock a deeper understanding of who you are and the world around you.  It enriches you and sheds all your inhibitions. The thrill of navigating uncharted territories alone and creating your own journey can leave an indelible mark on your life.

No matter where I have travelled; be it Budapest, Havana, Bucharest, Bratislava, or Lima every moment became an opportunity for self-expression and spontaneity. Whether it was indulging in local cuisine, embarking on impromptu adventures, or spending hours at a museum, or independent bookshop you cultivate the freedom to curate travel experiences according to your desires and interests. This sense of ownership over your journey contributes to a profound sense of fulfillment.

Part of the appeal and beauty of travelling solo is how it opens doors to incredible connections with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. When you’re alone, you become more open to possibilities and the prospect of engaging with locals or fellow travellers. These conversations provide memories for a lifetime and provide a unique window into the soul of local customs, traditions, and perspectives.

I began to find that as I engaged with people from different walks of life, I developed empathy, broadened my horizons, and challenged my own preconceived notions of certain issues. I’ve found that travelling alone brings you together with so many people. I formed connections during solo travel that have led to lifelong friendships and bonds that can’t be broken.

Travelling alone provides a unique opportunity for introspection and self-discovery. Removing the familiarities of home and those around you, there is a chance to step outside your comfort zone, confront doubts and fears, and push your limits. As you immerse yourself in new cultures and navigate through unfamiliar streets, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and what you’re capable of.

Without the presence of familiar faces, you become more attuned to your surroundings. You learn to listen to your inner voice, make decisions that align with your values, and cultivate a stronger sense of self. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth, as you discover hidden strengths, interests, and passions.

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