1. We Should Be Our Own Best Friend
Solo travel has taught me the importance of being my own best friend. Best friends are honest with each other, they accept each other’s flaws and weaknesses. And most fundamentally, they’re there for each other through the ups and downs. Traveling to countries around the world with just me, myself, and I, there were a lot of moments where I questioned if I was mentally strong enough to keep going. When everybody at my hostel was going out partying and I wasn’t in the mood, it was quite difficult to remind myself that needing alone time is completely fine.
Sometimes, especially when we’re traveling, we feel the need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones EVERY SINGLE TIME. Even at the risk of compromising our mental health. Of course, I’m all for experiencing new things! But as our own best friends, we need to understand our own limits. And know when it’s time to rest and take care of ourselves without feeling guilty.
2. The Importance Of Following Our Gut
When in doubt, follow your gut! According to a post by Psychology Today, “your intuition is encoded in your brain like a web of fact and feeling”. You know that butterfly feeling you get in your tummy before making an important decision? Yea, that’s basically your subconscious mind sending signals to the nerves in your guts. When solo traveling, we’re often faced with decisions like… “Should I fly to Bangkok tomorrow or stay here at Ho Chi Minh with my new friends?” … “Should I hike this volcano? Or is it too dangerous?” … “Should I go on this overnight bus to Cheng Du?” Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Apart from using common sense, of course. I think we should always try to listen to our gut. And no matter what decision we ultimately go with, know that it was the best decision we could have made. When traveling, I used to stress often about the fact that I might have made the wrong decision visiting a certain destination. But 9 out of 10 times, I actually ended up meeting the coolest people ever, and had the time of my life. So now, instead of worrying about my life choices, I trust in the universe for guiding the way.
3. Don’t Always See The Bad In People
Maybe it’s the way I was raised. I’m naturally very skeptical about every person I meet. Before even getting to know them, I’m already thinking in my mind, “Why do they want to be my friend?”, “What do they want from me?”, “Are they trying to sell me something?” Haha! And I’m not exaggerating whatsoever.
But after solo traveling for a while, I’ve realized that my way of “protecting myself” from stranger danger, has sort of impeded me when it comes to making friends abroad and immersing myself in the local culture. Of course, being cautious of your surroundings is vital for all solo travelers out there. But, we can’t ALWAYS see the bad in people. In my case, I was almost becoming paranoid about everything and everyone. Which is no bueno, because I wasn’t enjoying myself at all! Ultimately, solo travel has taught me that instead of jumping to conclusions about others’ intentions, I should try to stay open-minded and not judge a book by its cover.
4. Look Around! Be Present
I have to admit, I didn’t understand the essence of being present until the age of 20. Before then, I thought the mere fact that I was existing on this planet earth meant that I was “here”.
But boy was I wrong. For a period of time, my life was a facade that I delicately and deliberately constructed through dozens of edited photos on social media. Everywhere I went, I thought that by documenting the moment with my phone, it meant that I was “living” my best life. And that I was truly “capturing” the moment. Little did I know, my eyes were better than all the DSLR cameras lenses I could have ever laid my hands on.
Of course, I still take quick pictures of places I visit just in case my memory fails me one day. But I don’t strive for perfection to “flex for the Gram” anymore. And let me tell you, it feels great! Especially when the pictures you take are not for pleasing anyone else or bragging about the “wonderful life” that you have. Today, I take pictures just to take pictures (Okay, I lied! And also to show my grandkids one day of what grandma looked like 60 years ago, lol)
5. Our Only Limit Is Our Mind
I can’t stress how true this is. Solo travel has taught me that OUR ONLY LIMIT IS OUR MIND! Think about this, imagine you were given two options in your life: “Achieve your biggest dreams in something years” or “Your loved ones will die“.
I know you’re thinking, “Jamela’s crazy, why the heck would she ask this?” But hear me out. If you were given this ultimatum, wouldn’t you try EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER to achieve your biggest dreams? And imagine how different our lives would look like if we lived as if this was our reality. Just imagine.
Before venturing out to my first solo travel adventure, I used to have this false belief that I was incapable of traveling alone. Growing up, my mom used to take me everywhere. I didn’t even know how to buy my own train tickets until I was 18! And since I grew up telling myself I was incapable of independence and figuring shit out, I actually became reliant on my mom. It wasn’t until I realized that my mind was the culprit, that I finally was able to break out of the confinement of my own self-limitations, and pluck up the courage to travel solo. Today, I’m still working hard to overcome a lot of the self-limiting beliefs that I’ve accumulated throughout the years. But at least by being aware of them, I’m giving myself a chance to access the infinite opportunities out there in the world.
Now It’s Your Turn To Go Discover The World
Solo travel has taught me invaluable lessons that I will cherish for life. And now it’s your turn to find out what the world has in store for you. For more travel tips and inspirations, make sure to check out: