The confidence you gain from traveling solo allows you to be better equipped to jump into a new adventure without having to rely on others in planning.
After a few years of working a job I hated, I finally said enough is enough and set out to check out this big ‘ol world. I believe that every man at some point in their lives needs to head off into the horizon and experience some new sites, cultures, and locations.
My travels took me around the world with brief stops to work in London, Sydney, and New York to continue the momentum of what was supposed to be six months of travel to almost four years.
I’ve spent time traveling with friends, strangers and some real crazy characters. I also experienced a lot of time spent traveling by myself. It was when I started traveling on my own that I started to have my eyes opened and grow as a person. Here are six things I learned and that I think every man needs to experience at some point.
1. Traveling Alone Allows You To Develop Self-sufficiency And True Independence
You become a master of your domain as not only can you set your schedule but if you’re looking to grow as a man, and person, and develop perseverance traveling solo allows you to do that. Since there is no one else to depend on you must become responsible and independent in difficult situations.
Are you somewhere where you can’t communicate and need to find a place to stay or eat? You are now forced to get out of your comfort zone and adapt and survive. This isn’t an Island Resort where you may think learning “please and thank you” in another language is you adapting but developing a real test of character that allows you to grow.
Of all the trips I’ve ever taken, it was my time in Italy that helped me find this real independence and self-sufficiency. I’m a guy who likes to plan out a lot of things. I went to Italy with NOTHING arranged. Not a single hotel or hostel booked, no rail pass or itinerary. It terrified me and ended up being the most rewarding travel I’ve done as I learned to adapt and adjust on the fly.
2. You Are Not Forced To Accommodate For Groups Of People
As much fun as it is to travel with people this is hands down the biggest drawback in my eyes. The bigger the group, the tougher it can get and even if it’s three or four of you not everyone is going to be happy with every decision made. It gets to the point that you can feel like a babysitter as not everyone is going to like food choices, activities or accommodations. Compromise is a good thing but not so much when it begins to take away from what your original desires had been on a certain trip.
3. You Get To Invest In Yourself
When you are not held down by others schedules and requests you get to take the time and experience the things that are most important to you. You don’t have any obligations to anyone else and can check things off your bucket list that are truly meaningful to you. If you are intrigued by a certain museum or location less popular you can spend as much time as you want there without having to worry what others think.
You get to experience the things you have always dreamed of without interruption and soak in the full experience.
4. Learning To Be Alone Can Help You In The Future
I believe it is important for a man to learn to be by himself. We clearly need a human connection and interaction, but some men panic at the thought of being alone. There will be times when being alone will be the case, and learning to be comfortable with things just being you can help you to navigate through those difficult times in life when you may find yourself without anyone.
5. You Learn Real Perspective That You Will Take Everywhere You Go
If and when you return to the “real world,” you will find yourself with a better mindset and new perspectives that can transfer into your day to day life. You will be able to make better decisions building on your travel experiences and won’t need to be as dependent on others. There’s a newfound confidence that comes from solo travel that radiates off you and I find draws others to you.
6. Solo Travel Inspires You To Head Out Again Without Fear
Once you get traveling, you do get the urge to see as much as possible. The confidence you gain from traveling solo allows you to be better equipped to jump into a new adventure without having to rely on others in planning. You feel more assured of yourself and can embrace those times when you’re motivated for an adventure.
This quote has always been attributed to Mark Twain, but there isn’t any actual proof it was from him. Regardless, I believe it sums up, and inspires, a man’s journey into the unknown:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Photo: Flickr/ Kerri Lee Smith