Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thought Corner: Why You Should Consider Traveling SOLO?

Yes I love traveling. Yes I am a Female. And Yes I travel SOLO.
Sometimes it's fun to go mainstream. 
Being tourist-y in Singapura's Hop-on/Hop-off bus. It's always good to be back. 
People are always weirded out whenever they learn and hear that i travel solo and yes love it too!  Oh wait, May I just say that I feel happy now because finally my family and close friends understand my passion for travel and when i go solo. Well, not totally agree with me BUT now there's less violent reaction. 

Ok so why do I travel SOLO and encourage you to do so as well?

My first solo travel happened almost 3 years ago. Singapore was my chosen destination. You can read more about it HERE. Yes it wasn't easy for me because I had a hard time convincing my parents. I scheduled it during my birth month so I'll have a good excuse and yeah, it worked out well. The perks you get on your birthday. Oh yeah!
If you're gonna ask me what I gained from it? Well, A LOT. I'm proud to say it changed me. 

In Solo traveling...

1. You might be Surprised on How much You Can DO. Being solo especially in other places outside your comfort zone teaches you to be more independent, deepens self trust and confidence, challenges your critical thinking skills and unleashes your NEW self. Yes, I DO mean all those things written above. When you go SOLO, all you have is yourself and no one but yourself to decide on everything in order to survive your planned travel. You will be pushed to your limits during unavoidable times like getting lost in unfamiliar places, unleashes that inner confidence to converse to strangers (because traveling involves a lot of communication), and Yes imagine a BOOST on your Confidence after a Successful travel and BIG Credit to of course, YOURSELF. A different feeling of self accomplishment. 
Have you heard that according to studies, travelers find it easier to interact to people during social gatherings or situations compared to others?
Hmmmmm says a lot about Positive Self-Esteem right? 

2. You Meet and Gain a Lot of NEW Friends. Traveling in a group is fun. I also travel most of the time with friends and family. But sometimes the disadvantage is you limit yourself with the same crowd. You lessen the chance to get to know more about the people in that certain place and to learn more about their culture. Sometimes through interaction with the locals or other travelers, you get to know more about their culture that broadens your knowledge about each one's differences and why people act this way and that. And yes, I am proud to say that I've met many of my good friends now during my Travels. You can establish and build new connections in every place you go and that certain place might be your home away from home. You'll see the world in a different way, you'll see and feel that YES there are still so many good people vs. what we see on the news (re: crimes). You'll appreciate and see a lot of random act of kindness from strangers around you. But learn to trust your instincts as well. 

3. You Feed Your Soul. POWER of MEDITATION.  Traveling Solo can also be a form of meditation. When you are solo, there will be a lot of chances where you'll be caught up drowned in your own thoughts. Flashbacks, A vision of what you wanna BE and DO on your future or maybe just enjoy your NOW while you're in a train ride going to your next destination. Submerged into Nothing but your own thoughts and reflections, listening to no one but your own self which in turn strengthens your inner self-awareness. In our busy schedule with work nowadays and other stuff, when was the last time you listened to yourself? When was the last time you heard that "voice within you"? During meditation we detach ourselves from reality for a while and we learn to embrace our "wholeness". We learn to feel and really listen to our hearts and provide more space for great ideas to come. Yes, a time to reflect and re-create self. You'll feel more relaxed, happier and calmer. I really feel reinvigorated after every solo travel. Ready to face anything again with a bolder heart. Let me share some thoughts I had during another Solo Travel, La Union, Philippines: More than just a Surfing Spot

Yoga in Maldives
A Solo traveller must master the skill of Timed Shots And equip themselves with monopod or tripod. 
Taking this shot wasn't easy but upon seeing it... All worth it!

4. You Become OPEN MINDED. Definitely NO to BIGOTRY. An Open Mind is what you learn to exercise from traveling in general. That's why I really encourage people to start packing their bags and go! Doesn't mean international right away. A visit to a nearby town is already traveling away from the world or routine you've created. You'll see that the world is way different outside your own world. That there are a lot of people luckier or less privileged than you; a lot of problems bigger than what you are ranting for days; a lot of differences in culture and places; and a lot of things to be thankful for. You'll understand more why certain people act this way or that. Maybe, just maybe, you'll see and live your life differently from before. Traveling changed me a lot. I learned to appreciate (more) every bit of me and what i have (contentment). So before you leave any negative comments about other people, do you really know why they act that way? Before focusing on negative things in your life, maybe there are more things to be grateful for? 

5. You Create a Great Investment. The rewards you gain from it are priceless. Furthermore, the life lessons you get from traveling especially SOLO lasts a lifetime compared to mundane things. Traveling shapes you to be a Better, Wiser and Stronger person depending on how you accept and embrace each valuable experience and lesson. As for me, I always try to see through the goodness in things. 
I definitely disagree whenever I hear some people say that traveling is just a WASTE of money. I think it all depends on how you perceive things and how you use them in favor of you. When you buy fancy things, Yes you experience happiness BUT short-lived. When you buy a travel ticket, you are investing on yourself and on an experience that may totally change you. Experiences weigh more than tangible things. Great and inspiring experiences leave an imprint in your heart that will definitely last a lifetime and can be surely passed on from one generation to another. When time comes that I'll have kids of my own, I'm gonna share all my wonderful travels to them and teach them that they may see the true Beauty in the World and Life. 
May I just add, a lot of really Successful people (self-made people) traveled the world before they became Successful or More Successful. The Ideas you get when traveling are Infinite.  

6. You are FREE.
Yes, you get much freedom during solo travels. You're FREE to: follow your own pace or time, make your own itinerary (IT) and visit all the places you love, plus eat and sleep anywhere you want without having to worry about others. Moreover, you are also FREE from stress, rush and conflicts which may arise at times when you travel with a group.  Sometimes when we travel, we just need to sit back, relax and savor the experience without any ITs, no time pressure, and just…. get lost for a moment. The best travel experiences are sometimes the unplanned ones. So don't be scared to go out of your comfort zone, and be ready to embrace the unknown. It might be an experience of a lifetime. So pack your bags and just go! 

Surely I can add-up a lot more to this list but for now let me leave you with 6. 

Some Things To Keep in Mind:

When traveling solo, SAFETY should be your first priority. Try to research about the place and people, the DO's and DON'Ts beforehand. 
I always get the number of the hotel (and inform the front desk) or Police Station in case of Emergency. Plan some important things well and Be ALERT all the time. 

And yes, traveling doesn't have to be lucrative. For tips on how to travel cheaply you can also read my blog: I CAN Travel, You CAN Travel TOO: 10 Tips on How to Travel Cheap

Solo Biking in Maldives.
I stayed for a night in one of the islands where the locals live so I can get to know more of their culture. 
It was so fun! 
A Date with my favorite person, Self.
I usually spend my "ME" time pondering about a lot of things. I fell in love with the place and the food, ah heavenly. 
This is one of the restaurants in Kurumba Resort in Maldives and it's so hard not to fall in love with this place, hence Maldives is every Honeymooners' dream. 

So serene and private. 
Who wouldn't love it here? I had a hard time bidding goodbye, Maldives. 

Gardens by the Bay
I am the "Little Princess" surrounded by Baobab trees. 

Taken during my First Solo Travel in 2010. National Orchid Garden in Singapore. Thankful for mirrors. 

Meet my New Friend Mrs. Pecker.
The Perks of Going Solo in Universal Studios Singapore? I was able to have lots of photos with the stars, others got strictly one picture each only then you'll hear: Neeeext on cue no more take two's! haha 
MIRROR! Oh well, there's only one thing to do. haha
 Very rare chance to capture that picture perfect moment during Solo travels especially when always on the Move. Biking at Pulau Ubin, Singapore. 
Back in one of my favorite local destinations, La Union and another Solo Travel. 
Yes, I lived here during my stay in La Union. Hostel living and loving it. 

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