One: You are the creator of your journey.
– The power of planning is in your hands everyday. You are not forced to be around a group of people and argue about who has the best ideas for things to do and you are not forced to travel on someone else’s schedule. We have all been there and we all have different tastes for what we like and dislike during a trip. Sometimes you don’t want to spend all day looking at main tourist attractions and that’s okay. You can literally do whatever you want and it is a great feeling. Which leads me to:
Two: You’ll develop decision making skills ~LIKE A BOSS~.
– This has been the biggest eye opener for me because I do not like making decisions. When spending time with friends or deciding on a place to eat with my family, I have always been the person that says “I don’t care, we can do/go whatever/whenever.” However, when traveling you realize that there is no one else to make decisions but you. Again, this is part of being able to create your own journey.
Three: Your experiences will mean more.
– They will mean more because every experience that you have is a directly based off of a decision that you made. You are able to go and experience the things that you want guilt free. Fundamentally, they will mean more simply because you are choosing to do activities that genuinely mean something to you or that you have a peculiar interest in.
Four: Saying “yes” is something you’ll learn to say without hesitation.
– Traveling makes you feel more risky. I don’t know why, but it does. When you start to meet people and make friends, you’ll be asked to do all kinds of activities and some of them are things that may normally scare you a bit. Whether it is traveling alone or starting a new activity, you’ll feel more inclined to try new things. For me, it was surfing. Granted, I am a good swimmer and have no doubt in my capabilities, but when you grow up in BFE Kansas, surfing is something that is completely foreign. However, I went with my instincts and said yes to going to a beach with people that I barely knew (at the time, we are good friends now) and it turned out to be one of my favorite days here in Spain so far. Say yes to as many possibilities as you can, you’re only here for a short amount of time so you need to make awesome memories while you can.
Five: You’re forced out of your comfort zone.
– Obviously, this applies to number 4 as well. However, more importantly, you are forced to interact with complete strangers which is a new experience in itself. Many of us tend to stick to those we are familiar with. I tend to be a very shy person but being in Spain has forced me to go out and practice my Spanish with the locals while making friends in the process.
Six: You will spend money on simple and completely unnecessary pleasures.
– I have spent so much money during the first month that I have been here. Yes, many purchases were necessary items for my apartment or groceries. But many were also things that I could be living without, this includes clothes and bar tabs. I don’t regret my purchases because it has taught me that the vacation part of my trip is over and I need to start managing my money better. I also realize that I am only here for a short amount of time so splurging is okay as long as you are paying attention to and keeping track of your finances.
Seven: At first, you’ll be lonely, but you’ll meet the most amazing people whom you’ll never forget.
– This kind of speaks for itself. My first two days in Spain were very lonely. I came here and traveled for almost 40 hours completely by myself. I was forced to figure out the Madrid metro system and train system on my own with the help of one American couple, which turned into mostly them following me because they couldn’t speak Spanish. My first night, I stayed in León and I remember getting to my Airbnb and feeling so helpless. I couldn’t believe that I had made it this far. I was so excited and terrified at the same time. While I am a shy person, it killed me not having anyone to talk to face to face. I live off of human interaction. So I knew that in the next few weeks to come that I would have to start making conversations with the people around me. Therefore, I have started to make conversation with other people in bars, on the trains and buses, and with the familiar faces that I see around town. I am starting to find more activities to do throughout the evenings so this also helps me to meet people. In summation, don’t be afraid to talk to people even if it is someone that you will never see again. You never know how they might impact your life.
Eight: It’s an opportunity to soak up all the “me time”
-Because you do not know many people, you will have plenty of time to spend on your own as well. This is not a bad thing. Many times when you are constantly surrounded by people you know it can be a little suffocating therefore, travel is perfect for taking time to take care of yourself; physically, mentally, and spiritually. Many times I will take walks to just simply clear my mind and to think and be in perfect peace. It is necessary for all of us to do so.
Nine: You’ll feel invincible
-This one is a little harder to explain because you won’t understand until you do it yourself. But navigating yourself through a foreign country with little or no help will make you feel fearless AF. You’ll feel like you can accomplish anything now that you are *worldly*.
Ten: You’re making an effort to fulfill your bucket list and that is pretty amazing
– Finally, this one may go without saying but I think it is the most important. Traveling alone gives you a chance to see and experience life that you may have never dreamed of being able to encounter. Everyday is a new opportunity to cross one more dream of off your list and that is what makes traveling alone completely worth it.