How is solo travel meaningful?
We put this question to the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.
It's a vibrant community of enthusiastic travelers who are always ready to offer words of support to solo travel newbies, answer questions for those going to new destinations and share solo travel insights.
Not too long ago we asked: What does solo travel mean to you?
And in your replies I think we discovered many wonderful descriptions of meaningful travel.
Here's what you had to say.
Solo Travel for Lifelong Learning
It's impossible to travel solo and not learn. As you navigate a new place you learn how differently the infrastructure is organized. As you eat a meal, you learn how the food tastes and, with a bit of curiosity, you learn why it tastes that way. Take a day tour and you can learn about your destination, its history and culture, in a more formal manner. Here's what readers had to say about solo travel and learning.
- Andrew – Learning new things about yourself, cultures, other people and the countries you visit.
- Karen – Seeing places I've only ever heard or read about, and learning about other people and cultures firsthand.
- Jennifer – Too much to learn, too much to see. It's always interesting to learn about new cultures and how locals in a foreign land live. And best of all, being a solo traveler I learn more, not only about other places but also about myself. That's meaningful.
- Nikoless – Surprises and awkward situations that turn out magical and educational.
Solo Travel to Let Go of Expectations, Live in the Present, and Become a More Interesting Person
It's pretty difficult to think of a million things when you need to learn how to catch your plane in a new airport, get to that special restaurant you want to enjoy, or a myriad of other things one does when they travel solo. Because you're traveling alone, you, alone, are responsible for all the details of your travels. This takes focus. You need to be in the present. Not everything will go as planned, so you have to learn to let go of expectations. All that focus, exploring, and being present in a new place makes for meaningful travel and will make you a more interesting person. Here's what readers had to say.
- Bev – It's so exciting to set off on a new adventure, every trip is different and adds to your life experience.
- Lindalee – Learning to live in the present, let go of expectations.
- Leslie – No matter how much you plan, there is always something unexpected that happens or that you see that makes the experience so much more interesting and meaningful than planned. People wonder why I like to travel solo if no one else is with me to share the experience. I say it makes me a more interesting person because I come back with great stories to tell!
- Lee – It's a journey and raises our awareness of our surroundings.
- Kanthes – The feeling of gratification especially when meeting people who become friends.
- Barbara – Being gone! I'm a workaholic. Leaving my home gives me the liberty to not think about it. It's a practice of letting go.
Meaningful Travel Can Put Life into Perspective
Oh my, how we can get bogged down in life's little frustrations. Whether it's seeing how fortunate we are by traveling to places that have less than we do, or taking a break from our routine we see how insignificant those little frustrations are, solo travel puts life into perspective. Here, again, is what readers had to say.
- Jessica – It gives me perspective and makes me realise there's a big world out there. Most of my problems seem unimportant when I'm travelling or planning a trip.
- Neeraj Ratnu – Solo travelling is magic in itself. It simply makes me more alive. On every trip I wonder, “how can this place be so beautiful?”
- David – Gives me time to reflect on things away from my normal environment, to find new surroundings and find inner strength.
- Georgie – Independence, self-worth, and self-value. I focus on the “real” world and how lucky I am to have grown up in one of the “lucky countries.”
Solo Travel Means Learning How Capable You Really Are
- Steve – A sense of accomplishment because I travel solo.
- Rob – It's not only the knowledge I've gained about other cultures but, as importantly, about myself. Traveling alone makes me realize I really can do anything!
- Maureen – Freedom, centering, expanding my mind, learning more about myself, growing as a person, adventure, so many things.
- Nikhar – Finding yourself.
Summing Up: The Meaning of Solo Travel
There were two comments that really stood out for me.
- Tuấn – meet new people, know new places, say a new “wow!”
Say a new “wow!” I love this expression. How great is it when your breath is taken away by the beauty of a landscape, the wonder of cultural dress, the taste of a cuisine? Let's say “wow” a lot!
- If I Were You – Looking back on it later is oftentimes more meaningful than the trip as it is happens.
This is so true. The meaning of meaningful is often best seen after the fact.
Thank you all for your thoughts and contributions to this post.