Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Positives Of Travelling Solo

If you asked me a few years ago or maybe even a few months ago if I would travel alone I probably would've said no and laughed at the thought of me doing such an adventurous thing alone. Fear has always held me back yet here I am back from three weeks travelling Italy solo and there are so many good things I want to share.
I think the biggest thing for me was whenever I see people eating alone in restaurants I automatically want to sit beside them. My friends and I would often discuss how daunting the aspect of doing the simplest things alone would be let alone going to an unknown foreign place. I certainly didn't make it easy on myself but sometimes throwing yourself in the deep end is the best lesson, I swam luckily and incredibly well might I add. I'm still surprised to this day how well it all went, now I've broken my own fear I could help others with theirs. Here are some positives to give you that final push if you are thinking of traveling alone.

Travelling is something I've wanted to do for such a long time and the thing that held me back was waiting for the 'right time'. Let me make myself clear, there will never be a good time. This hit me like a tone of bricks! I didn't want to defer university because I was worried about loving it so much that it would make me doubt what I've always wanted to do, when I graduated everyone was expecting me to go straight in to a 'proper' job and get my life together. I started looking at my life and the opportunities I've let pass me by mostly by fear but secondly this whole attitude of excuses I came up with to cover it up. As much as the trip would have been good with friends or family, it can be hard to get everyone together for dinner let alone book a holiday. Stop waiting, trust me, your wasting time.
 There are many advantages to being just me, myself and I, the fact it is only you is the blind one staring you right in the eye. From experience I can inform you exceptions are made because you on your own. It makes it easier to bend the rules, for example when I was in Venice I arrived at the famous "Gran Teatro La Fenice" for the theatre tour only to find out that they had rehearsals on until three o'clock. I was devastated but moments later the security guard came over and kindly offered to show me the grounds and showed me places normally cut off from the public and tour - *pinch me*. I'm not saying this will happen anywhere, everywhere and to everyone but I certainly think it would be a lot harder to sneak a group around. Another beautiful point is you can go at your own pace, see and do things you want to do without having to consult anyone. You are free to roam as you please, making the whole trip very peaceful. In return you absorb more of the culture and language because you can be fully focused on where you are and what you are surrounded by.

Being on you own also pushes you out of your comfort zone. Lets face it, it's not everyday you eat, sit, do random things alone! It forces you to talk to other people and maybe even make friends. This is always going to be a good thing, even if it's just asking for directions. We forget how to do the simplest of social skills now we are so connected in terms of technology. Some people I met along the way offered great advice on places to go, tips for tourist destinations and generally broke up the time spent by myself. It all helps to grow your confidence, people skills and enables you to feel more comfortable in your own presence. You have people from all over the world sat right next to you, why not learn something? I got talking to people from China, Germany, America, Australia and Korea just to name a few. If you are worried about being alone this is your only escape, by sparking conversations it meant I got ahead, whether that was to my destination, planning my time or having someone to eat with. I for one noticed a lot of people (on tours in particular) making an effort to talk to me, mostly families or women - I think because they thought of their own children or could relate to me, so even if you are a bit nervous at first you will be chatting away in no time.
It is something now I've done it I think everyone should do at least once. It's funny how when I have travelled in groups I barely realise people on their own but once I was on my own I saw how many other people were also doing it. So go on get out there, promise to come back and tell me all about it!

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