It’s the start to half of the romantic comedies that exist; woman get dumped on the eve of a fantastic couples vacation, then decides to go on her own. She usually finds her inner self (Eat Pray Love) or her real soulmate (French Kiss).
While solo vacations may be less dramatic without the movie cameras rolling – and can even be planned as solo trips from the beginning – there is something special about being a woman traveling on her own. Many women who have gone on trips by themselves say they come back with a fresh understanding of who they are and what power they have in the world.
Live Without Compromise
When you’re traveling by yourself, you don’t have to agree to anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to accommodate anyone else’s food preferences. If you want to go to bed early and walk on the beach at dawn, you can do that.
When you’re traveling on your own, you get to make all the choices on your own. It’s a pretty powerful thing, especially if you’re a woman who often has to meet the needs of others.
Explore Your Passions
You may think you know all the things that you love, but when you set out on a vacation on your own, you’ll find things you never knew you loved. Maybe you’ll find out you love picture taking and decide to practice the basic skills of photography.
Perhaps you’ll learn to surf and fall in love with the waves. Maybe you’ll decide to give rock climbing a try. When you’re on your own, you can be more adventurous than you are with people who know you.
Make Friends With Strangers…
Traveling alone can get lonely at times. Managing that can be a challenge; you can connect with old friends through social media to share stories and pictures, increase your sense of connection with those at home, but you can also walk down to the hotel restaurant or bar and say hello to a friendly stranger.
You might have fun, you might make a new best friend, or you might just share some conversation with someone you’ll never speak to again. However it goes, you’ll feel less alone.
…Or Enjoy The Solitude
On the other hand, if you’re someone who regularly has to manage other people, be social and approachable at all times, and generally be available to those around you, having some solitude might sound like heaven. You might go day or two without speaking to anyone, especially if you’re going to local grocery stores and buying food to cook yourself instead of ordering in restaurants. The silence can become peaceful and meditative.
Keep Your Stupid Decisions To Yourself
We all do wild things, and sometimes having your friends there to witness you making a fool of yourself can be really fun. It can create a sense of comradery and shared backstory that can keep a friendship going strong for years. But it can also be harder to get outside of your comfort zone when your friends are there, watching you do everything you’re doing. If you make a fool of yourself, who will they tell? Will they laugh?
It can be a lot easier to potentially humiliate yourself in front of strangers. After all, if you wipe out on the waves or are disgusted by whatever food you ordered, the people you’re with will never see you again. Even if they tell the story about “that tourist that one time,” no one will ever know it was you.
Do remember though that while your friends may tease you mercilessly, they also may keep you safe, just by being nearby. Getting blackout drunk while traveling solo is not a safe idea, for example.
Rely On Yourself
The most important thing about traveling on your own is probably this: you will learn just how much you’re capable of. Often, women let someone else take over for them, or let someone else handle something they could probably do themselves. Maybe they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, or perhaps they really don’t feel comfortable with what’s happening.
But when you’re traveling on your own, it’s up to you to stand up to staff who are being unpleasant, find your way around town, decide what you’re going to do with yourself, and figure out all the things you want to enjoy. Traveling on your own can teach you so much about your value and independence.