There are a lot of common excuses why people don’t, and they normally revolve around fear and security. But traveling alone in your 20s can be rewarding.
It can be scary, challenging and even lonely. Yet, at the same time, you’ll never feel more adventurous, brave, and smart. Here are five reasons why you should take the first step and travel solo in your 20s.
1. Make Friends With Strangers
When we travel with others, we tend to seclude ourselves off in a bubble and depend on each other throughout the whole trip. Traveling alone, on the other hand, forces you to open up. Whether it is asking for directions or advice on where to eat, you’ll get to engage in conversations with strangers.
If you’ve chosen to stay in a hostel, these new friends might be fellow travelers. They’ll be people who have made the same life choices as you had and this open ups to plenty of great stories and adventures.
Or if you speak the same tongue, you could even befriend the natives and get a local tour guide who truly understands the place you’re visiting and reveals some hidden gems off the map.
Take note, when you’re in your twenties, a process of closing off begins, where very often you stop making as many new friends and consolidate your links with only a few people. Traveling alone helps you offset that.
2. Gain New Perspectives
When you are in a place with a friend, more often than not, you’re with your friends first. Where you are isn’t as important as who you’re with, or what you’re doing.
When you’re traveling alone, that barrier is dissolved. You are experiencing a place completely, with nothing competing for your attention. You’ll start to notice things you might otherwise have filtered.
Think about it this way – have you ever played your favorite song for someone who’s never heard it before? Have you noticed you hear it in a totally different way when you think about how it sounds to them? How their reaction, no matter how enthusiastic, is always disappointing?
That’s because when you listen alone, you create layers of meaning to that experience that are inexpressible. The same can be true for places, if you let it.
3. Become More Confident
Yes, traveling alone can be a little scary, especially when it is your first time. But doing so forces you to cope with things you might not be comfortable with, whether that’s organizing your own travel, haggling for a discount or immersing yourself in a crowded market.
This is character building. It stops you from avoiding things you think you might not be able to do and proves to you that you can do them. That’s a huge boost for your confidence.
When you’re traveling on your own, things are unexpected. This is a great form of life training. As you deal with these incidents, you raise the bar for what can ruffle your feathers.
When you return home, you’ll be more confident, independent and self-assured. You’ll know you’ve dealt with real problems and come through the other side.
You will be used to being outside of your comfort zone, while your comfort zone itself will have grown much bigger. All this makes for a more resilient, more capable person.
4. Rediscover And Redefine Yourself
Growing up we’re defined by our parents, our environment and our social circle. Traveling alone removes all of these obstacles for growth.
There are two things that happen when you travel alone. One happens externally, and the other internally.
Externally, you become immersed in different ideas and perspectives, different ways of living and different possibilities. The ‘limits’ placed on your development are gone, and you are exposed to a number of new strategies for dealing with life. These are immensely valuable.
Internally, it offers you the chance to see who you really want to be, and who you really are. Instead of conversation, there is a reflection. Instead of negotiation, you do exactly what you want to do, possibly for the first time ever, which itself can be revealing. Instead of shoring up a relationship with another, you can start to form a relationship with yourself.
So many people spend their teens in a ball of frustration and self-loathing. Your twenties can be the perfect time to make friends with yourself, and nurture yourself. There’s nothing more nurturing for the soul than travel.
5. Open Up More Travel Possibilities
When you travel alone, you set your own budget and your own itinerary. You can change plans whenever you want to, and you can march to the beat of your own drum. That means you can travel more cheaply, easily and more often.
When you travel alone, you become a better traveler. You start to reflect on what you really need, and what you don’t need. This, in turn, can optimize your lifestyle and change the way you spend your money. You’ll focus less on things and more on experiences. Travel offers the most unique and enriching experiences possible, and you’ll soon be desperate to find them.