Some people are content to stay at home and never explore the world outside of their own city limits, while others have a wanderlust and must constantly travel to expand their horizons.
Travelers often travel together, but there are actually many benefits to traveling alone, especially if you're a comfortable and experienced traveler. When you travel, you have experiences you might not have had if you stayed local, and your growth as an individual and a citizen of the world grows.
In a piece on Elite Daily, writer John Haltiwanger says that people who travel by themselves all have one quality in common: they are wise.
He writes, "When we travel alone, we also discover we're just a small, but interconnected piece of a big, bright, dynamic and beautiful world. There's nothing more healthy for the ego than to recognize while you're not the center of the universe, you're still connected with it. This epiphany will make you revel in the diverse nature of the world and its inhabitants. You'll care more about the well-being of other people as well as the overall health of the planet."
When you travel alone, you become...
1. Your own travel agent
Traveling solo lets you set the pace of your travels and you don't have to be ruled by someone else's plans. You do what you want to do without the added pressure of someone else's needs and wants.
2. Responsible for your own safety
When you travel by yourself, you follow your instincts and your senses are intensified. Haltiwanger says, "Humans are never more perceptive than when they're immersed in the unfamiliar — it's a survival mechanism."
3. More self-aware and have increased mental acuity
No matter how great you are at being alone, when you travel solo you will get lonely.
"Solitude and loneliness are not one in the same. Loneliness increases feelings of isolation and depletes the spirit. Solitude increases self-awareness and ultimately makes us feel more connected to the world. We are never truly alone, but it's difficult to recognize this without time to reflect on it. Reflection is vital to our mental health, and it's much easier when we're separate from others."
4. A more confident individual
You're forced to get out of your comfort zone and venture into uncharted territory (both physically and mentally). You talk and share meals with strangers, try new cuisines, listen to music played with instruments you've never heard of, and you have experiences you never dreamed of having.
Haltiwanger writes, "Solo travel will make you a kinder, more empathic and insightful individual. It teaches you to seek out and celebrate the unfamiliar, making you more adept at adjusting to the only constant in life: change. You'll find answers to questions you didn't know you were asking, have adventures you never imagined, and grow as a person in immeasurable ways."
The gifts you receive when you travel alone are priceless, and ones that will modify your life and the person you are ... forever.