What Do You Learn Traveling Solo?

Janice Waugh Solo Traveler

So… what do you learn traveling solo?

Who are you when no one’s looking?

What do you do with your time when there are no demands on it?

You can learn the answers to both these questions when traveling solo.

People often say that they learn a lot about themselves when they travel alone.

What has solo travel taught you about yourself? This question was posed to members of The Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Their answers are amazing. Here you go…
  • Günter – To be open for new adventures ..
  • Micheline – That I can usually figure a way out of dilemmas.
  • Maxine – I am more open to meeting other people when I’m out in the world on my own!
  • Kiara – Patience, planning, independence, self-reliance, culture, acceptance… and a whole lot more!
  • Ilona – That I am a lot braver away from home on my own, than when surrounded by things and people I know. Weird, but true!
  • Jennifer – That I prefer to travel alone!
  • Moya – You can be alone when you choose, or can find company any time.
  • Sarah – That I am capable of navigating public transportation perfectly well in other cities on the first day, despite still getting lost in NYC after living in the Northeast for 20 years
  • Dawn – That I CAN.
  • Jenne – Freedom!!!
  • Suzanne – That mountains are not my favorite places. Too chilly, even in summer.
  • Linda – That I can be alone and have just as much fun (if not more) alone. It brings me much more serenity.
  • Tracy – That I am stronger than those-who-put-me-down (because THEY are not strong) would have me believe. A LOT stronger.
  • Emily – That I love it so much that it’s an indicator I may not be cut out for a relationship; that I am stronger than I think; that I alone am in charge of my own destiny; that if I die while traveling alone I will die in the happiest state known to Emily; that no matter where someone is born into the world, we all have the same basic human needs (to be accepted, to be heard, etc) and are more alike than we are different; that being a traveler is who I am…it’s like the air I breathe….I must have it; that people appreciate a simple smile more than you know; that through travel, I have grown and my likes, dislikes, desires, etc have evolved in the last few years…. Yup, that about sums it up!
  • Jfur – To feel the fear and do it anyway.
  • Ian –  To be more confident in myself. I still remember my first solo trip and the dilemma about where to eat – could I go into a restaurant and ask for a table for one? When I took the plunge, I discovered it’s fine to be solo. Restaurant staff spend a bit more time talking with you, and you can find out where to go and see around the region easier. Driving abroad, as a solo, means you can go where you want, when you want, and spend as much/little time there as you wish
  • Dani – When there’s so much more out there, there is really no good reason to wait any longer for a better time to go do it. Waiting for whatever is missing out.
  • Manish – I’m much more capable than I thought I was.
  • Gwen – I am resourceful, powerful and I can do it.
  • Kristeen – That I can do anything I want to
  • Nadia – To be sure of what I want and what I don´t want in my life, to say “no” when it´s necessary, to enjoy myself, to allow myself to do what I please.
  • John – That if I haven’t had enough sleep, I don’t care who painted that damn altarpiece.
  • Maria -That I don’t miss my job all!!
  • Robert – That I like company. Even when younger I wound up hooking up with someone for company.
  • Andrea – That I am happiest when my travel involves a mix of city and nature. I do love to explore historical cities but I can’t get enough of being out of a city, in nature and especially close to animals in their natural habitats, on land or in the ocean
  • Connie – That even though you might be traveling solo, you don’t have to feel lonely if you just have the courage to talk to people and make new friends
  • Steven – That people are fun, in small doses.
  • Louise – People have a knack of stuffing up my trips.
  • Sylvie – That everything is simple and that we often over-think instead of just living the moment. Road trips in my own company with a good playlist are my favorite kind! Letting the road take me and stopping by when I feel like it. Freedom.
  • N.m.- I’m a lot tougher than I thought and I enjoy being by myself
  • Senora – I’ve learned that I’m smarter and stronger than I thought and that unless I’m on fire or missing a limb, nothing is a crisis….I can handle it!!
  • Myrna – I have learned that I don’t need to wait ’til someone is available to go on a trip; I can go by myself and actually prefer it. I think about the last two trips I took with others and there was always the feeling of having to accommodate others. On my own I come see and do what I want when I want.
  • Maureen – Being grateful for the experiences, adventures, and stories that my travels have brought into my life. I believe if you embrace solo travel with as much wonder on the inside as the outside you will return home with a renewed sense of self. Every trip is an adventure, and a challenge that gives me a sense of accomplishment, pride and empowerment. Where next is the question.

What more can be said. I agree with all of the above. Thanks everyone! :)

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    I love it Arleeda. I also love those markers giving a glimpse into the history of a place.

  • arleeda

    When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents to stop where I could read all of the Historical Markers–depending on how big a rush they were in, they would usually humor me. But now when I take a solo road trip I can make all the detours I couldn’t when I had someone with me who didn’t understand why I would want to see such out of the way places.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    WOW! That sounds spectacular. I hope you’ll share some of your newly gained travel knowledge with the community by submitting a Solo Travel Destination post or two. http://solotravelerblog.com/solo-travel-destination-form/

    Have a wonderful time!


  • Linda

    Your page inspires me, and Once the house is sold, I am off solo to live in at least 4 different countries for 6 months at a time………the beginning of my retirement.

  • Juli Gestier

    Patience, waiting for buses, trains and planes

  • anne

    That I can travel on my own , but I do prefer to travel with someone. I have never been on a holiday on my own ,but I do travel on my own , to go to friends in France or Italy , by train normally.

  • Sara Tam

    Calm,confident and more trust my decision making.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Fabulous contribution Kristi. Thanks!

  • Kristi

    As a Travel agent, One of the perks at work are Free trips. My partners I book thru give me last minute free trips and I end up going solo as no one can take off in a moments notice. The first time I went on a River cruise thru Europe solo. I was a little apprehensive about A. going overseas by myself and b. having no one to share this amazing trip with. As I made my way to the airport, I questioned myself “should I really go? I feel lonely” I bravely got on that plane to Amsterdam. I told myself this is stupid, you will hate this… WELL, it wasn’t even a full 1st day yet and I realized… This is actually a good thing. I got onto my ship put my things down, sat in my sitting area in my room and watched Europe meander by… Stunning picturesque mountains, castles and small communities on the riverbanks, came and went.. I heard my inner peace speaking to me “there was no snore, no hosting you had to do, No body to pulse check to see if they were ok,no deciding who’s agenda you are going to do today. No decisions about when to eat what to do or anything, Just me ..on MY schedule. It was the most peaceful, relaxing trip I have even been on and 13 trips later I am still traveling solo By choice

  • Zagreb Charming EU Capital

    Traveling solo is allowing and pushing me to let myself to my intuitive inner guidance and to feel/process fully in my mind-body-spirit system all of the audio-visual, tactile, olfactory, taste experiences, that I would probably not be able to fully immerse myself in, if traveling in the crowd of any kind of group. It is more intense in experiencing the world around me and my own reactions to it. Similar to reading a great book or looking at that special movie – the strongest/best is to do it by ourselves. Having that attitude and being a guide, that is why I offer being a ‘tailor made’ local buddy to those who, when visiting Zagreb, Croatia, EU, feel a wish to share few hours of their time with a local buddy who can help around, suggest a sight or a happening or share a museum or theater visit : )

  • Gwen Menz

    Hi Jeff – I agree with you, waiting for a traveling companion could take forever. I have also found that going to movies and restaurants alone can actually be freeing, and driving 1000 miles with no one ragging at you in the backseat is amazing! Now I can stop at all the Civil War battlefields or cemeteries (or whatever) I want and not have to deal with it. Of course, if I WANT company, I will travel with friends or family, but I’m not waiting around for them either.

  • Colleen Davis

    I have solo traveled in the past and you do really find out what you are made of. I personally don’t like being alone and with someone, oh the dilemma. I think I miss sharing the small little moments that occur along the way and sharing the laughter. So the next best thing is my journal where I can capture my on the fly memories. I bring a blank journal, a double sided sticky tape dispenser and a great pen. I collect tidbits of memories along the way and then read them after times has gone by and relive it all over again. I’m gearing up to go on a solo adventure this fall to Croatia and I’m scared again because it’s been so long since the last time. But I know I can do it. BTW going through a company by the name of Overseas adventures. They offer a lot for what you pay for. You travel in small groups with plenty of solo time and their single supplement is little to none.

  • Sheila Gage

    Great comments! I went to Ireland and Scotland for the first time on my own. I don’t mind travelling with someone – to eat with, take photos (those were the two hardest for me) and watch the luggage at the airport so you can go to the bathroom without all your stuff but other than that everything is much better alone I think. My own schedule and itinerary. I’d do it again.

  • http://www.kellymacdonald.org/ Kelly

    I loved reading all these comments on solo travel as I going on my first solo trip in September…I early retired last winter and I am just now getting the nerve to go. I loved the one that says that we find out who we are when no one is looking…hmmmm

  • Jeff

    I “wasted” the better part of two decades waiting for someone to travel with me. it took me a while to realize it was OK to do things (whether it was going to the movies or traveling to Europe) without a companion. We I did travel solo, I found it to be a wonderful experience, especially the freedom, and I now almost dread travelling with a companion. But if you travel with company, you must set expectiations that you don’t have to do the same things and can meet up after completing your own itinerary.

  • Mal

    Thank you Jacob & Isaac. I hear what you are saying. I find traveling solo, yet wanting to reach out to other travellers that you tend to break into those who are into each other, and broaden the outlook of many who are around at the time, and generally open up the communication, and experience sharing, to a benefit to all.

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  • lee

    Solo travel takes me into my comfort zone NOT out of it

  • Julia

    I’m not a solo traveler, but a frequent traveler at a similar stage of life. I love your question: who are you when no one’s looking? It applies to many (all?) of us who slip past our 30’s and 40’s, out of the limelight. Appreciate also Silvie’s comment: everything is simple and we often over-think. Zonk. Uh-huh. Wondering what “stuffing up a trip” means (Louise)? Best wishes and happy travels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/isaac.jacob Isaac Jacob

    We love Solo travellers at Jacobs and Isaacs hostel in Dublin – they talk to us( which are we like !! )and are open to chatting and sharing experiences with other guests so they generally enhance the sociable warm atmosphere that we love to create !!