I woke up one morning with a feeling of frustration and irritation. I had it. I was tired of letting my parents dictate my life. Call it what you want, but I call it South Asian parenting. According to my parents, my autonomy was only to come after marriage in which case it would be dictated by the dos and don’ts of my husband. Nah-uh, I wasn’t having it.
So, my act of rebellion came when I booked a trip to Southeast Asia, packed a backpack, and lied to my parents on my intent to travel alone. Not trying to toot my own horn, but I was pretty darn impressed with myself for taking this leap of faith.
I’ve curated a list of reasons below to encourage you to get out there, explore the world unknown, and wander solo.
1. You’re the captain now.
You decide where you want to go, when you want to go and if you want to go, around town. New experiences in a new country are fun, but when you are caught up traveling with others, you might be stuck having to compromise. Traveling alone means, no compromise.
2. Discover more than meets the eye.
It might sound cheesy, and you probably hear it from everyone, but it’s true. You discover yourself. You don’t have to be lost, to do that, but you really do find yourself. Maybe you discover a sense of peace, courage, or confidence, in full gear – either way, it brings you to the mercy of a combination of feelings and emotions.
3. Step out of your comfort zone.
If you are someone like me that doesn’t quite entertain the idea of socializing with strangers, this is for YOU. If you want human contact, you have no choice. What better way to challenge yourself than to put yourself out there?
4. The kindness of others will pique your interest.
You will make some lifelong international friends that want to help you, spend time with you and give you life advice. Maybe not everyday friends, but friends nonetheless that you’ve built humbling memories with. Some of my favorite people are the friends I made while traveling.
5. Take time to reflect.
When you are forced to eat alone, walk alone, or meet others alone, you are forced to think and observe. You will find yourself looking at life on a grander scale and appreciating the opportunity to see life in a different lens.
6. Listen to your voice of reason.
You won’t be afraid to try new things because you are your voice of reason. So, a few days in when that voice tells you it’s okay to try eight different snacks from the street vendors or buy those elephant pants from Thailand – do it!
7. Embrace all of that self-care.
You only have to worry about yourself and your well-being. Solo traveling might sound scary since you are on your own, but when you think about it, you are your full-time concern, and that alone should keep you hyper-vigilant. Listen to yourself. Pamper yourself. Treat yourself!
8. Learn to take care of your every need.
You eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and socialize at your leisure. You invest time and energy into yourself and you work on satisfying your needs without asking others for support. No background noise.
9. Master the art of planning.
You are the author of your own story, which means you will have to book your hotels, plan your itinerary, and figure out the best means of transportation in a new place. You will quickly transfer this skill into your professional and personal life.
10. Discover a whole new experience.
You will come back different from when you left. The journey, the challenges, the enlightenment, the new friends, the foods, and the culture – it all comes back and completes you full circle.
I came back from Southeast Asia, with a different perspective and understanding of life. Solo travel will give you a confidence boost, knowing that you pushed what was holding you back, far, far away and chose to run in the direction of independence. Don’t just take my word for it; try it for yourself and be your own judge. Go, be brave, be bold, be safe, and experience life on your terms!