We need our wits about us as we travel solo.
There are all of the planning details beforehand as well as the navigating and negotiating as you're on the road. It's serious business to take care of oneself in an unfamiliar place.
But travel is much more than that.
It should also be a lot of fun! It should take you out of your daily responsibilities and give you the freedom to explore the world your way.
While I preach the word of safety, I believe that it's important to balance caution with a childlike sense of wonder.
Marc Chagall said, “I am a child who is getting on.”
Whether you are a millennial, a boomer, or any cohort in between, I wish for you the ability to be a child who is getting on. Not a person who is childish but one who has the ability to be childlike at the right time.
Try New Things. Notice the Remarkable. It's Child's Play.
As an adult I'm envious of certain childhood traits.
Children know immediately what they like and what they don't like. It's in them. There's no second-guessing. They relish favorites and second favorites. Their gushing enthusiasm for something simple would be remarkable in an adult world.
Children also have a wonderful ability to be in the moment, and to allow moments to stretch. They try new things. They test their physical limits.
Children never determine the value of something based on price.
This last point reminded me of the video from 2007 of Joshua Bell (see below), one of America's most amazing violinists, playing in the Washington subway. He was ignored by thousands of passers-by. People pay $100+ to attend one of his concerts, yet, whether it's because people were too busy or just didn't expect anyone playing for free in the subway to be that great, few stopped to enjoy his beautiful music.
There is so much to be enjoyed for free as one travels. From street art to short encounters with locals, to vibrant colors of unfamiliar produce in a market, take it all in with the wonder of a child.
Develop Your Travel Skills and Trust Yourself
With so much information freely available on Solo Traveler and the rest of the internet, you can develop amazing travel skills. Add to that life experience, travel or otherwise, that you already have, and all you need to do is plan and trust yourself.
Use those skills to be safe and get where you want to go. Travel with your wits about you, but also tap into the enthusiasm, presence, and willingness to try something new that you had as a child.
Travel with the wit of an adult and the wonder of a child.