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Most people travel in the company of family or friends; some, however, like to globetrot alone. With adventure on their minds and courage in their hearts, lone travelers step out to see the world. Though travelling in company has its plus points, one cannot deny that there are benefits of travelling alone. What are the things that travelling alone can teach you?

1. Self-dependence

When you are out all by yourself, the foremost thing you learn is how to depend on yourself. You take your own decisions, right or wrong, and rely on your best judgments. There is really no one to blame or crib to. In this situation one learns something special – one learns to trust one’s instincts or intuition. Suppose you lose your way in a foreign land and find no road signs. What do you do? You follow your instincts and try to use your resources. Travelling solo teaches you to be on your own.

2. Self-discovery

Self-dependence leads to self-discovery. While travelling alone you discover many things about yourself that you were not aware of or had overlooked. Imagine you are in a foreign land and where people speak in a tongue unknown to you. You start your interactions through sign language and guess what, you discover that you are really good (or really bad) at dumb charades! Jokes apart, when on your own you might find that you are able to pick up new languages quicker as needs arise. Travelling alone definitely gives you a chance to know yourself better.

3. Overcoming fear

One’s fear is one’s biggest weakness in life and travelling solo is one of the best ways of overcoming fear. Think of travelling alone and you will initially feel queer in the tummy, thinking of the uncertainties of being in new environments and interacting with new people. The fear of the unknown is deeply entwined in the human psyche. Travelling alone will help hack away the roots of this fear. What better way of overcoming a weakness than through garnering the courage to step out by oneself and explore new lands!

4. Patience

An important value of life one learns while travelling alone is patience. When you are in a new place and don’t understand half of what the people are saying or in which direction you are headed, the last thing you would want to do is get heckled and hyper. Being on your own amidst strangers teaches you to be patient, as is the need of the hour, so that you are able to understand your way around and calmly measure your next move. It can get difficult but it is essential to be patient; a feeling of empathy arises in the heart and people feel drawn to you.

5. Making new friends

If one travels in a group, one seldom ends up making new friends. But, the lone traveller is bound to strike up conversations with new people, the starting point to build friendship. It is a great feeling to draw a new person into the ambit of one’s life, to get to know each other and share experiences. Friendship may happen while catching a quick lunch in a roadside restaurant or while watching a local sport or at a bed n breakfast lodging – a friendship for life may blossom just about anywhere!

6. Budget management

Most people travel on a pre-planned budget, which can easily be thrown out of gear during actual travel. One has to readjust and reallocate resources. Options present themselves, choices need to be made and fast! For instance, the choice between watching an expensive once-in-a-lifetime show and missing a train or forgoing a lunch or dinner. The lone traveler needs to decide what he wants and how he wants to spend his resources and time.

7. Try out new things and test your limits

You are on your own you have the freedom to make choices, try out new things and test your limits. Your decisions only affect you. This kind of an adventurous approach can seldom be taken in group-travel. Suppose you are travelling through a beautiful countryside and don’t have a ready accommodation for the night. Would you stretch out on the grass beneath the stars for the night? If you don’t have a train ticket, will you hitchhike to the nearest town on a bullock cart? Travelling alone offers you such opportunities galore.

8. Planning and organization

There are many people who are not very organized in life and lack planning. It is important that such people plan solo trips for themselves. Solo trips offer a wonderful opportunity to hone planning and organization skills in oneself. Such trips include planning itineraries, organizing tickets and hotels, making a to-do list and following through, all by oneself. There is so much learning in organizing solo trips that these trips should be made compulsory for students!

9. Time management

Imagine – seeing new places, experiencing new things, all at your pace, with no one to hurry you up or bind you in a schedule. Alone, you have time in your hands; you decide your own pace and manage your travel time yourself. This expands your awareness of how you value and use your time within set limits. Travelling alone teaches you to properly allocate your time according to your needs and circumstances. This is a major learning and can be applied to all spheres of one’s life.

10. learn to appreciate home better

When travelling alone the most common message that is conveyed to a loved one is – ‘miss you’. One realizes the value of one’s relationships when one is away from his or her friends/family/loved ones. Travelling alone teaches us to appreciate the presence of loved ones, most of whom we take for granted, in our lives. So, it is not necessary that we travel with our family to bond, we may travel alone and bond better with our family!

11. Personality development

The lone traveler also experiences a growth in personality. He or she develops interpersonal and bonding skills that are important to interact with new people. The solo traveler meets new people and experiences new cultures from very close quarters. He or she finds it easier to mix up with indigenous people and learn their ways of life. This definitely helps in personality development and character growth.

So, do not think twice about travelling alone. It is very beneficial. In fact we are lone travellers in the journey of life – we come alone and we go alone and we live alone, though in a social milieu.

Anjali Nayyar

Anjali loves to read, philosophize, travel and spend time with her family. With a Masters in Sociology, Anjali ended up as a writer instead of a sociologist. She believes that writing is a channel through which one can express one's innermost self and express one's uniqueness, the gift of life, for all to savor.

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