13 Lessons Learned from Traveling Solo

I had lived in the same city that I was born in my entire life. I loved it and my family so much that I stayed close to comfort for college. Life had always been so beautiful, so I figured why change it? Until I decided to challenge everything I knew. And this was the best, most transformative, time of my entire life. I packed my bags and flew to the other side of the world to a continent I had never been to before because I have a weird feeling that I was meant to be there, and I was right to trust my gut.  Here are thirteen lessons I learned from traveling:

1.You can figure it out

I think the biggest thing that scares people when considering going solo on their next trip is: what if it goes wrong? What if I lose my luggage and no one is there to figure it out with me? This is the the beauty of it. There is always a chance of something unplanned happening as you travel, but you survive through each experience and come out more independent than ever.

2. Small talk is cheap (& comforting)

It is so easy to strike up a conversation with the person across from you on the subway. Even though you may have grown up somewhere completely different, chances are that you have at least one interest in common. Maybe you’re infatuated with the same hobby, or feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for the city you’re currently exploring.

3. A lot can be learned from immersing yourself in another culture

It is so valuable to experience what is important to different people in new cultures for a little while. This is powerful because it makes you reflect on what is important to you, and what has been your whole life. You can re-evaluate these cultural norms that you have conformed to and decide if that is really what makes you wake up every morning. Furthermore, you will become much more able to understand different point of views from others you interact with.

4. Be yourself

And you will find that people love the same things about you everywhere. You will fine that people are drawn towards you when you are effortlessly acting as you are. And that people will genuinely appreciate the same things about you everywhere: whether it be your infectious laugh or the way you compliment things about them that they’ve never thought of before.

5. Live simply

When moving from place to place often you will learn that all you need is a couple outfits that feel “you” and conform to differences in weather. The rest is just unneeded weight.

6. Live with an open mind

You will expand your mindset in ways you could have never imagined before. You will meet people who act in ways that are easy for you to judge, as they are foreign to you. And you learn to love it.

7. You can make friends anywhere

You will learn that there are people all over, no matter how different from you they may seem at first interaction, who you mesh with.

8. No turn is wrong

Even though you may have missed your flight, or the taxi driver brought you to the wrong hostel, you will learn that absolutely every one of these little mishaps happen for a reason and guide you down a path that you otherwise may have never had the opportunity to experience.

9. Confidence is gained alone

You will learn to absolutely adore yourself in your time spent alone. You will have time to practice patience within and get to know things about your own being that you had not taken the time to notice before.

10. The world is inherently kind

There are people everywhere who genuinely want to help you out. Whether they want to help point you in the right direction, or share their favorite surf break in the world with you, there are people who want you to thrive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you.

11. You can travel on a budget

Hostels and PB & J sandwiches may be all you need if you want to squeeze in another destination.

12. Gratitude is invaluable

As you travel and appreciate every little thing that goes right, that good feeling will fill you up, radiate positive vibes, and inspire more serendipity into your journey. Don’t believe me? Try it.

13. Leave your comfort zone and you’ll find yourself

Being away from your family, your home, your friends, and everything that you have known may be the most terrifying thing that you can fathom. However, I promise you that it is the best thing that can happen to you. You will learn more about yourself than ever before through the bright moments and challenges you face when you have no one else to turn to.

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