Solo travel: Lose your-self to find yourself
Our entire journey of life is to find who we are?
The goal is to find the real you, and not the character you have been playing for years.
Most of us have a public image and a personal image.
The way we behave around friends, society, or colleagues is different compared to our real selves.
There might be instances where you feel bad, that you never stood for your own beliefs. You let your friend’s opinion to get the better of you.
Why am I saying this is because this is exactly how I behaved in my younger days?
Growing up, my friends were my life. Their frame was so strong that I believed in whatever they said.
I would never stand for my values, often feeling sad about this.
I still remember, my first international trip was Malaysia and I did exactly what my friends told me to do. I didn’t even know what I wanted in the first place.
I just packed my bag and left with them.
I did zero research about the place, food, or country.
I was so dependent on them that I would be scared to lose their company (might get lost).
When I look back, I would not hang out with my old self. It sucks to be dependent on others.
Just post my Dubai trip, I decided to do a solo trip to Europe.
My first solo trip was unforgettable, I travelled to Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
This was the first time; I was doing research, to the places I was travelling.
Creating your itinerary is a gruesome task, but there is so much learning.
There was a lot of paperwork involved to get the visa.
I was attending an event in Bulgaria, so clubbed the other two countries to my itinerary.
The visa process was extremely painful, as nobody was sure about travelling to the Non-Schengen area (Bulgaria).
One visa agent said, he would get the work done but then stopped answering my calls.
There was an agent from my office, who did was good at getting visas. Even he communicated that he wouldn’t take up the work.
Finally, I got the visa work done through Thomas cook.
You can travel in a Non-Schengen area (Countries like Bulgaria, Romania) up to 90 days with a Schengen visa.
Pro tip: Send a mail to the embassy and post their confirmation, take a print out of your communication. This acts as proof when you travel.
Getting the stamp to travel to Europe was an awesome feeling.
I was excited also sacred. I had never traveled alone before.
This was out of my comfort zone.
The entire process of booking my stay, flight, and mode of transport was a new learning experience.
I was travelling to Europe with a lot of anxieties and I was not sure what is in store for me.
It was a scary as well as exciting feeling.
Deep down I was worried that what will happen if things go wrong.
I got my first jolt at Dubai airport (Connecting flight to Athens), My passport was checked vigorously by the security person for no specific reason. She asked for my relevant travel documents.
I was taken to a prison cell in Bulgaria airport (I will write a full article about it).
These experiences shake you up, but they also make you stronger.
After experiencing these things, your resilience to adversity increases.
You can easily handle challenging situations, as you have reference points from the past.
I can never forget how this one trip changed how I felt about myself.
I was in a place where I loved myself for pushing my boundaries. I was more confident.
Post my trip, there were plenty of calls from friends and relatives.
They were curious how did I plan my trip; how did I manage the budget?
This was just the starting point where I wanted to travel long term. Experience life at the core.
There was this belief that I can deal with any situation, that I encounter during my travel and still be ok with it.
Well, now the golden question, how is this all connected to you?
I’m sure if you look back, you would have so many moments where you didn’t travel due to some reasons. We do many plans on social media. But, everyone is so busy that no one can make out time to travel. (PS Me and my friends are planning for a road trip for years, and I don’t see that ever happening.)
Good news, you don’t have to wait for others. Just pack your bags and leave. You will learn so much about travel and life in general.
Experience life & connect with yourself.
We usually get lost in work, family duties that we never get time to be with ourselves.
Solo travel gives you that space. Take a pause, look at your life.
You can get to know yourself on a deeper level.
There is so much to life when you change your environment.
You value a lot of things; when you get to see different people's perspectives.
So, take your first solo trip or if you have already taken your first solo trip, please share in the comments how it helped you.
Takeaways for Solo Travel:
You can always make friends on your journey. Meet some cool people through travel.
You have no option but to be social, you are forced to go out of your comfort zone.
You can only rely on one person and that’s you.
There will be times when you will get lost, but deep down you know that you will be on track soon.
If things go wrong, you must take ownership.
Solo travel is great to build confidence.
You have complete control over your schedule and do whatever you feel like doing.
So next time when you get a chance to travel, don’t be dependent on anyone. It is a great opportunity to go solo and connect with yourself.
If you are unsure, do one solo trip and I promise you that your life will never be the same.
PS I must warn you; solo travel is not for everyone.
I will leave with a beautiful quote from Rolf Potts
“Choose what sets your heart on fire and your mind at ease. Choose what brings out your happiness and provides you, that mental boost. Choose to dream big. For me, I choose to travel.”
I see you in the next one, this is Shekar signing off. Ciao.