“In India, I arrived lonely at midnight. Hostel manager was my age. Boom! That’s my friend in the country.
In South Korea, I met John at a club. We went to Taiwan together. And when John left, I met Hiren at the hostel. We did sight-seeing.
In the Philippines, I arrived nervous only knowing one person, Camille. And leaving with a billion local friends.
Even in North Korea, I found local friends.“
Let’s face it, the idea of travelling alone can be pretty daunting and scary. Most people prefer to have at least one buddy tagging along just to eradicate fears of being alone and lonely. This is actually one of the biggest deterrents of solo travel. Also, with the rise of social media, we tend to rely on others when it comes to photo-taking (cue all those #OOTDs) and opinions on what’s worthy of posting. Being in a foreign land is already unnerving, so being alone simply adds to the uneasiness.
Over at The Nas Company, we tend to travel with at least one other person but for a completely different reason: it’s a lot more efficient that way. With a travel partner, we can shoot, script and edit videos simultaneously all thanks to an extra pair of hands. Now, you might be wondering what are the actual benefits of travelling alone — are there any even?
Why do people travel alone?
People travel alone for a plethora of reasons. Some travel alone because they prefer to not deal with the whims and fancies of others. Others travel alone in a bid to delve into self-discovery and learn more about themselves as individuals. Other reasons for solo travel could be to foster mental toughness and tackle personal vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies. Well, we’ve rounded up some of the most life-changing reasons as to why you should give solo travel a shot. And some of these reasons will intrinsically change you, for life.
What are the benefits of travelling alone?
Firstly, when you travel alone, you’re living beyond your comfort zone. Going to unknown places and destinations will compel you to rely on your best bet: yourself. When pushed to figure out how to get around unfamiliar territory, we realised that we became a lot more vocal, got out of our comfortable bubbles and challenged ourselves to discover each city in a new light. We learnt that being alone was fuel to being empowered, and being empowered is indicative of personal growth.
Secondly, the benefits of travelling alone include meeting people from all walks of life. It becomes a lot easier to interact with local people and make new friendships. When we were alone, it was easier for us to readily approach people whenever we needed directions, or recommendations or insider tips. As a result, your raw experiences also become more meaningful. You’re no longer there just as a plain old tourist, you’re actually getting a glimpse into the lives of the locals.
The benefits of travelling alone can be very life-changing. For one, it’s a great confidence booster because when you’re alone, your ability to cope with challenges and obstacles is really put to the test. Ultimately, overcoming these hurdles will improve your self-esteem and allow you to surpass personal boundaries that you’ve set for yourself.
We’re convinced that this helps you to reflect on the entire experience better and enhances the relationship that you have with your own self. Even for us at The Nas Company, it was a poignant moment of realising that as individuals, we create our own realities around us and that it’s vital to respect our own personal needs.
Aside from that, the act of travelling alone does wonders for our well-being. Trust us, there’s a certain sense of liberation, calmness and stress relief when you wander around on your own — an apt time to connect spiritually. Rarely do we get the opportunity to sit idly and simply be.
Solo travel does offer perfect conditions for introspection, which is difficult to come by in an ever-connected world filled with digital distractions. This could be the time you actually benefit from a restful break.
Reasons why it’s important for you to travel alone
We concede and understand that humans are essentially social creatures. We can’t survive without the presence of others — we are conditioned to need people. But remember, in seeking out company, we shouldn’t forget the merits of solitude.
Whether you’re going on a day trip to explore Penang or embarking on a month-long jaunt to go backpacking in Nepal, a solo trip sometimes is exactly what you need to nudge you out of your comfort zone. You’re now the master of your itinerary, you’ll gain a lot of valuable lessons that will broaden your perspectives and overall, you’ll become a better traveller. The bonus is that you might end up leaving your solo trips with a billion local friends and those types of connections, we feel, are priceless.