Before & After: Solo travel can change everything.
I am pleased to welcome Leyla Giray as a guest writer on Solo Traveler.
Leyla is a development professional and journalist. She owns and operates the imaginative and offbeat website, Women on the Road, for women who love to travel on their own.
The one big solo travel adventure that changed me was a backpacking trip up the spine of Africa and across Asia. I was supposed to travel for six months, but I came home nearly three years later.
What changed for me was simple: being on my own. Those lengthy bus rides are a great way to sit with yourself and think.
More specifically? I became self-sufficient, more relaxed and adaptable, little things stopped bothering me, I became physically stronger from lugging around that backpack, I learned things – languages, for example, and about people. I began loving my own company and appreciating solitude. Equally, I enjoyed people more. Other changes: my fears slipped away, replaced by a certain serenity.
I’ve been lost in a Mozambique minefield, shot at and mugged, and almost drowned off Zanzibar. I came out of it just fine, and perhaps that was one of my biggest lessons: things happen, life goes on.
One last lesson? I learned to truly appreciate what I had left behind.