Recently I decided last minute, I wanted to travel to Europe. I had just graduated from high school, and I’ve been having the time of my life exploring Vancouver with my best friend throughout the summer. Swimming through little creeks of water near waterfalls, going zip lining in the mountains, catching sunsets at the pier and last but not least making money at my new job. By the time it hit September I was getting quite restless to move forward and take a leap.
I love traveling with a passion, except I had always traveled with family or a school class, but not yet on my own (besides the one time I took a plane to Germany on my own to meet up with my parents for a trip). Now, of course, I realize not everyone has a yearning to travel a ton, which I understand as most of the time I am quite comfortable to stay in my bed back at home and be around familiar faces. But I knew time was moving quickly and no time is better than the present, so I talked through it with my parents then booked my stays and airlines for October 1st which at the time was about 3 weeks away. I was over the moon about the trip, I was pintresting and researching throughout the days, and then driving myself crazy at night questioning why I was doing this and how nervous and uncomfortable i felt to reach this far out of my comfort zone
So, let’s get to the part you’re actually here for! Now, of course, you should travel solo whether your 18 or 80, but from my experience here are some ideas or reasons that may inspire some people who are debating whether you should take the leap or not (spoiler alert, you should).
3 reasons to travel solo young.
Now I can be a very shy person, and I hate having to cause trouble when somethings not right or ask others for help, I try to keep to myself. But I knew that was no option for me if I were to travel across the world alone. I learned to negotiate prices and know when people were trying to take advantage of the fact I was a tourist. I got groceries on my own, budgeted my money, found my own places to stay (although Airbnb makes it crazy easy to find safe clean places to stay). I spoke up when I needed direction, and was able to get myself around through the cities and figure out all the transit systems in each of the three countries. Before going on this trip I read about many peoples experience traveling solo, and many mentioned how traveling gave them a sense of strength and power that they never discovered for themselves beforehand. and after traveling I must agree, not ever have I felt so able and secure. So before doubting yourself, remember you are capable of so much more than you realize and taking risks is a beautiful part of growing.
2. STRENGTHENING YOUR INTUITION
I have always tried my best to live by the motto “bad vibes don’t lie” because whenever I felt the strong urge to get out of somewhere or leave a friendship or situation it usually was for the better. To me this means, to lean into my own intuition and my sense of surroundings. Traveling alone heightens your senses as you are so greatly present in the moment, as you have nobody around you to distract you or pull you out of the moment you are in. don’t get me wrong traveling with others and alone both have their own perks and downsides. But to really be present and fully alarmed of what is happening around you, having the wind in your hair as you walk through a lit up old street filled with conversations in a language you don’t know is surreal. being able to listen to yourself and know whether going in one direction would not be the greatest decision or knowing when it’s time to head back to your apartment, or even knowing when to push yourself to keep walking is all a great exercise for you to learn to listen to yourself and what you know is best for you.
Looking back on my trip to Europe, I remember the excitement I felt to meet someone around my age and bond over the fact we were both traveling. I also remember getting discouraged on day 3 of my trip when nobody in my hostel spoke English and I was starting to lose hope in the expectations I had for staying in a hostel. But I kept praying that I would meet someone to hang out with even if it was for a day and on the fourth day my prayers were answered and two older girls from the US came into the shared room and I pushed myself to speak up when I heard them speaking English and long story short the next day we went to the Van Gogh Museum and a cafe together. It was tons of fun, even with the age difference it was so much fun to have met two complete strangers i would have never got to connect with without my voice to speak up and say hi. I don’t want to go so far into detail about all the connections i made on this trip just because this paragraph would turn into an essay. Not because I met many people, but each experience was so perfectly placed in the right moments of my trip. at one point I did meet two girls from London who were going to all of the same places as I was at the same timing, though we didn’t meet up much we did spend two days out talking about things I couldn’t even speak with my friends back home. we all clicked on such a similar subject each of us could relate too, and best of all they were on their “gap year” too. as Amadeus Wolfe says “sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation,” some of the most beautiful moments were spent getting to know strangers and stretching yourself beyond a simple hello.
There you have it, not all the many reasons I would love to share with you but 3 that stood out to me most. I still have tons I want to talk about with you about my trip and things that could help you or inspire you to take a leap of faith to do something you always dreamt of doing but never actually did. I have created a travel video/montage that I will be posting soon on my youtube channel where I will also speak about a few of my experiences!
for now, thank you for spending this time reading your way till the finish line.