Elysian Being: Traveling Alone

Written by Jessica Comingore and Loren Crosier

I’ve always said if you can make your way around a foreign country halfway across the world, you can do pretty much anything. I discovered this first-hand on a trip to Spain about three years ago that solidified my love for solo travel and the self-discovery that comes along with it. While traveling alone isn’t necessarily for everyone, the experience can make for some pretty terrific life lessons that I think each of us can benefit from. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a jaunt across the globe; even a drive an hour or so out of town can give provide a wonderful sense of solitude and the opportunity to reflect.

Whether it’s been traveling for work or pleasure (more recently the former), I have certainly had my moments of wishing someone were alongside me when I’m staring out at a beautiful view or enjoying a delicious dinner alone, but I’ve also come to value these experiences and learn to be at peace on my own. I’ve realized that those moments may not have necessarily been as meaningful (or have taken place at all) had I been roaming with someone else.

I think so often we get comfortable in our routines that we don’t realize what we’re capable of if we force ourselves outside of them. I don’t think this comes easy, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes, and the more comfortable you become with yourself. I used to dread the evening when I was on a trip alone, wondering where I’d go to pick up dinner and how early would be an acceptable time to go to bed. Now I’ll park myself at a bar in a restaurant I would’ve gone to with a friend and bring along a book, note pad, or chat about things to do and see with whoever may be seated beside me. I think conquering the fear of solitude can pave the way for conquering any hurdle life throws your way. Suddenly what once felt so daunting seems completely doable after you’ve spent two weeks navigating a new place on your own. Try it and see — I can guarantee it’ll change you. —Jessica

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Some of the most rewarding experiences of my life occurred while I was exploring new places on my own. Travel in itself is a way to expand your horizons and learn about new places and things. When you travel alone you have even more potential for full immersion into a new place because you are void of the preferences and opinions of another travel companion. When you don’t have anything familiar to hold onto, you are able to take in more of what is around you; what you don’t know. Most importantly, you are 100% focused on your own needs and desires.

In my experience, I don’t think I would have taken the same paths or gotten lost in the same ways if I was with someone else. I don’t think I would have had the same adventures or have met the same people (if any people). While I traveled solo it made me really think about what exactly it was I missed, what mattered to me, and what I wanted to do when I got back. To some it might seem like a cruel torture to remove yourself from everything you know just so you learn to be grateful for what you do have. Do it anyway. It’s about being alone with your thoughts and navigating the world at your own pace, putting yourself first.

Although most of the experiences I am referencing are foreign and for extended periods of time (both highly encouraged), I think that even a small weekend trip to a neighboring town reaps the same benefits. There is still time to recharge, follow your own desires and focus on your own needs. These really are the best types of adventures. If you find things that you really enjoy then by all means bring someone with you the next time and share it. Just remember to also take time for yourself and travel solo. —Loren

 

Take-Aways

01. How I Learned To Love Solo-Travel by Cat Huston
02. Traveling Solo: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman on The Cut
03. The 10 Reasons Why It’s Better To Travel Alone on Elite Daily
04. Go Find Yourself: 10 Best Destinations for Solo Travel
05. Molly Steele (a frequent solo traveler who traverses the backwoods like nobody’s business)

Comments (5)

  • Anna

    i really enjoy your quiet quality posts, they always leave me feeling calmer and with a sense of serenity… thank you

    • Jessica Comingore

      Hi Anna! We’re so glad to hear. That’s just what we hope you’ll take away from them. 🙂

      Happy Holidays!

  • fernand et firmin

    It seems so brave to me to go out to have diner alone and – oh my god – even more to go to a bar and have a drink by yourself. It always looks glamorous when I see it happen in movies, but I am completely petrified of doing it. Scared of sending a wrong message, not knowing what to do whit my hands and wear to look .. I will definitely push myself and try . Soon . 😉

  • Josefin

    Oh I totally agree with you – travelling solo really does open up to self-discovery, and you learn how much you are capable of.

    I travelled alone for the first time when I was 18, I was shy, insecure and had no confidence at all – yet travelling alone wasn’t daunting to me. And I meet too many who are nothing like I was, yet they always say: “Oh I could never do that.”

    And I thought I never could either, but I just went for it and since then I love travelling alone.

    Although sometimes, traveling with someone is lovely as you can talk and remember it afterwards, with someone who knows exactly what you talk about! It is hard for someone who has not been there, to understand the feeling you felt at a specific moment.

  • Feliz Ano Nuevo | Women on a Whim

    […] do a lot of things alone, traveling is next on my list (Jessica […]

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