I recently traveled to Prague. Alone.
Before going, I was scared. I pictured my life turning into a very real, very awful version of Taken. I hoped my dad would have a special set of skills to save me.
But right before I left and on the bus ride from Munich, I began to feel more comfortable and confident with my decision. Wandering alone in Florence a few years ago was one of the very best decisions I made. I knew this adventure would be no different.
I won’t declare anything dramatic like “solo travel changed me,” or “solo travel is how I discovered myself.” But I do think solo travel exposes old — and at times nasty — habits, and enhances characteristics that one might have forgotten.
Here are some of my old, nasty habits:
- Doubt — doubt in myself, doubt in others. Doubt in thinking I’ll have fun and make memories. There is no room for self-doubt when you solo travel, or else you’ll have an outright awful experience.
- Intensity — not the good, healthy kind of intensity. But the intensity where I feel burdened and bogged down by having to stick to a plan or directions or a schedule.
- Timidity — feeling meek and afraid and tiny. Along with doubt, timidity hinders me from putting myself out there and enjoying new things.
Here are some characteristics that solo travel heightened in me:
- My boldness — when traveling solo, meekness can stifle the full experience. Solo travel really enhances my willingness to start conversations with strangers and veer off the beaten path.
- My security — it’s hard to travel alone when feeling insecure. It takes a lot of confidence in yourself to put yourself out there and try new things, to expose yourself to new experiences and have fun along the way.
- My determination — I didn’t exactly map out Prague in a helpful or logical way, so there was lots of walking back and forth and getting lost. Traveling alone increases my determination to get from Point A to Point B. It reinforces my, “I’m gonna make this happen for real” mentality.
- My faith — when you travel alone, you are just that: completely alone. One of my favorite things about solo travel is realizing that God truly never leaves me side, even when I feel isolated.
I think everyone can benefit from traveling solo.
It pulls you out of your comfort zone and into a new reality: a reality where you have to be flexible and fun and bold and daring. A reality where you realize you are alone and that’s OK! A reality where you don’t need to be surrounded by people to thrive and enjoy yourself.
If you’ve never traveled alone before, I encourage you to give it a shot. I think it’s worth testing the waters. I can’t guarantee that you won’t regret it, but I can guarantee you will learn something and grow from it.