One of the biggest clichés about travelling is that you will ‘find’ yourself. One of the biggest lies is that you have to travel solo to find yourself.
Scroll through the internet and you’ll find a plethora of posts dedicated to going solo. They usually have a nonsense headline like “Why everyone should travel solo at least once”, or “How to find yourself by travelling the world (alone)”.
Don’t get me wrong, travelling solo is great and really pushes you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to think differently. But that’s travel in general, no?
Think of every cliché you’ve ever heard or seen written as an inspirational Instagram post and once you’ve travelled, you’ll realise they’re pretty much all true.
Travel really does broaden your mind and awaken your senses. Travel really will teach you things about yourself you never knew you needed to know. And it really will ‘ruin’ you in the sense that your journey to self-discovery will never stop.
You’ll be bitten by the bug and never want to find a cure.
I’m not ashamed to say I’m one of those people affected by the air miles and foreign smiles.
I’ve been packing up my life and hopping countries since 2015 – one Working Holiday Visa after the other.
I’ve danced with all the clichés. I’ve made lifelong friends along the way, lost and gained relationships and learned more about myself and what I want from life than I ever would, had I stayed glued to my 9-5 desk job in the UK as a Journalist.
It’s not wrong to feel and realise all of these things from travelling. It is wrong, however, to think you have to experience them alone.
I understand that for some, myself included, solo travel is the most refreshing and rewarding thing they’ve ever done. But for others, it’s simply not conducive to their enjoyment. For some, also myself included, alone time is necessary. For others, being with someone else or part of a larger group is how they feel alive.
The great adventure is not to force yourself to get on a plane alone, or to go to that museum sans friends. The great adventure is that you’re doing it anyway, regardless of who’s admiring it with you. Either way, you’re experiencing it.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The chances of finding these articles online about liberating solo travel are high. The chances of finding them aimed specifically at women are even higher. I don’t see why it should make a difference whether or not someone can gain from solo travel depending on their gender.
At the end of the day, guy or gal, your experiences are yours and yours alone. What you feel from them and take away from them is up to you.
Whether you’re shredding mountains in Canada, trekking through the Amazon or backpacking South East Asia, you are in that moment. You’re living it regardless of who’s stood next to you or who you’re sharing it with, (if anyone)!
To take one of those inspirational travel quotes and put it simply: ‘To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.’