A trip with your BFF or S.O. can be the perfect antidote to anything life throws your way. According to Expedia's recent study of over 30 million people, traveling improves your overall health, and getting the hell out of town inspires more confidence, more sex, and more creativity. Although the majority of folks collect into a crew of two or more when vacation time comes, traveling alone can actually be just as fun.
The first hurdle to get past is the safety one, as certain cities or countries pose a higher risk to a woman flying solo than others. However, if you take the necessary precautions and ignore your dad's fearmongering about being kidnapped by pirates or jailed for jaywalking, the possibilities are endless.
My experience traveling throughout Japan for two weeks at 26 was both challenging and completely life-altering. I had never ventured into new places without another person before, and learning to rely on myself so heavily carried through to my life back home — and turned me into a solo traveling junkie ever since. Here are five perks of many that come with traveling alone:
1. You Can Try An Activity You'd Never Be Caught Dead Doing
If you've ever wanted to try something but were afraid of looking stupid (kite surfing, fencing, scuba diving, any kind of foreign dance style), traveling alone is the ideal time to say f*ck it without anyone there to upload a pic you doing said activity to Facebook. Plus, you might actually love it, and you can turn your friends on to it later. Or not, and no one is the wiser.
2. You Can Flex Your Social Skills In New Ways
As someone who is at times an extreme introvert, traveling alone has taught me to pick a character to play who is far more confident than "the real me." Once on a solo trip to Osaka I talked to a bartender in my terrible Japanese for hours when at home I'd normally stare at my drink in the corner, and in Las Vegas I joined a Midwestern husband and wife for dinner that I had just met at the pool. If you're looking to work on your social skills, traveling alone is an ideal way to be forced into flexing them.
3. You Can Feel What It's Like To Be Completely In Charge
How often do you have total control over when you wake up, when and what you eat, where you go, and who you interact with? Traveling alone creates a fantasy bubble where every day can be designed exactly as you desire. It's somewhat impossible to do this in the real world, but solo vacations make this individualistic dream a reality, if only for a few days or weeks.
4. You Can Face Your Fears Of Singlehood
Do you feel weird eating in public alone or hitting a movie solo? Do you find yourself falling for that "single woman = unlovable spinster" narrative? Traveling without a partner is one way to face patriarchally imposed fears about being a woman alone — regardless if you have a partner back at home. Your worth isn't based on your connection to someone else, and what better time to realize that when you're constantly going out by yourself?
5. You Can Work On Self-Acceptance
If you're in a scenic spot where few people speak the same language as you, there may be days where you don't have any meaningful interaction outside the thoughts in your head. It's those times when you're forced to think about yourself — whether you like it or not. And honestly, why wait until you get where you're going to work on self-acceptance? There's nothing like a 15-hour layover to explore where you're at and where you're going, and how you can make yourself a better travel companion — for yourself.
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