10 Reasons To Say “Yes” To Long-Term Solo Travel
Solo travel will alter your life forever — regardless of your age, circumstances or where on this planet you wish to go.
#1 – Why long-term travel?
Think of yourself as a pioneer on an interior expedition. Yes, you are off to foreign lands, cultures and languages, but the journey I’m suggesting is to your interior destinations. Few give this opportunity to themselves. Walking among people with different belief systems than your own and being confronted to look at yours, opens a door to engaging in/with the world differently. Long-term travel allows your brain cells to actually land in a new zone where you begin to question, learn and, ultimately, grow to be a better friend, parent and participant in this amazing opportunity called life.
#2 – Why not short-term travel?
You can have great adventures on two-week vacations. I have. But, this is exploration as a state of mind. Two-or-three week holidays are called vacations. What I am talking about is no vacay. Long-term travel can be extremely challenging; many days you may feel you are actually working. Opening yourself to “be” in the world, rather than jumping from resort-to-ancient ruin-to-paragliding will require your taking time to learn by digesting and assimilating new information.
#3 – What about my job-child-mortgage-dog-girlfriend-parent?
It won’t be a walk in the park. You’ll have to figure out how to make it happen. Rent, sublet, Airbnb it… do what you can to deflect trip costs. The benefits so outweigh the complexities! Call it a sabbatical or whatever makes you stronger in the pursuit of yourself. You most likely won’t be generating any income unless you have savings. BUT, you will be generating miles and miles of life-long lessons, a relationship with yourself you never dreamed possible, and an understanding of the world that will change how you pursue your dreams and determine what you wish to accomplish. That is worth millions in my eyes.
You could do a trip around the world and jump from country to country, seeing only the best well-known sites, or you could volunteer for a month at an orphanage in Cambodia, and then continue around the area for months. You decide where to go and what to do. Leaving home for an extended period will give you a gift that is irreversible, a gift that will keep on giving for the rest of your life.
#4 – How long is long?
Don’t be deterred if you can only manage a couple of months, even a month. Start somewhere and, I promise you, you’ll be hooked. My ideal minimum is three months to let your brain cells adjust to the new “reality”.
#5 – I’m too old /young
Young people don’t have a corner on long-term backpacking. I’ve seen travelers from 18-80 years old stretching their adventure muscles. Stay in hostels, guesthouses or local homes. This will not only enrich your experience but also connect you with like-minded travelers. Not in your 20s? Here’s a little fact — hostels are not what they used to be 20 years ago. Now you can have your own room with private bath.
#6 – I’m not ready to go until I do some research
Research is overrated. Arrive, buy a used Lonely Planet, talk to locals and other travelers, but, most importantly, listen to yourself. Now that you’ve arrived, do what do you feel like doing. Let go of plans you made or that were suggested by others. Seek your own adventure.
#7 – I’m afraid of being alone
Embarking alone can feel intimidating, but the best parts of traveling are magical encounters with kindred spirits. The boundaries we create at home are bypassed while traveling in neutral territory. You reach for the heart and friendships flourish right away. No matter your age, if you wish to meet people, you’ll have opportunities every day. Just smile!
#8 – I need my blankey!
You won’t wake up every day with a sunny disposition. They say, “You never leave yourself behind.” It’s true! But by leaving home behind, you’ll have to find new coping skills, which will bring you strength. You’ll intuitively begin to know what provides the happiest moments and what doesn’t. You’ll start to lean towards experiences that create new opportunities for your soul to grow. Bring a soothing object for a sense of security.
#9 – People need me
Remember, your friends/partner/etc. might be envious, and they’ll pull on your heartstrings. Tell them that you’ll love them and support them from afar. And just in case they/you need a little boost, you’re never too far from Skype, Whatsapp, Viber or other ways to stay connected, (Wi-Fi is readily available in most developing countries).
#10 – If I’m ready, where/how do I start?
Choose an area of this gorgeous world, and go, go, go.
Do you think traveling solo either long term or short is something that you’d enjoy? Let us know in the comments.