photography by Julia Michael
I caught the travel bug early on in life. My parents had always encouraged seeing the world from a perspective other than your usual surroundings – and I don’t think I truly started to appreciate this until I began to travel alone. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely appreciated it before – but what I meant was that it took travelling alone to really leave a large impact on my life. I would argue that traveling is a part of life that can give you the most value. I watched a video yesterday that I wanted to share a quote from with you:
“Travel is the only thing that you can purchase that will make you richer.” –Sorelle Amore, Photographer/Youtuber
Now, technically speaking, there are other things that you can purchase that will make you richer in a monetary sense – stock, being one example. However, I do think that there is a lot of credibility in what Sorelle was speaking about – because in fact, travelling alone gives you a fresh lens on the world and what it can offer you. Solo travel can seem frightening, the first time that I ever took a trip by myself I’ll tell you – I was nervous. But in reading a previous blog post that I’d written last year, I’d mentioned that travelling alone was one of the most enriching experiences that I’d had that year. But why would travelling alone be such an incredible experience?
TO TRAVEL ALONE
The first thing to note when you’re travelling by yourself is that you need to be aware of your surroundings – that’ll be the first thing that family will say to you (after the traditional “have fun”). On solo trips, no one is going to look out for you except for yourself, so you need to be able to look after yourself and maybe adapt your lifestyle a little bit to better aid this. That being said, what makes this an incredible experience?
Personally, I think it’s the self-reliance that really put travelling alone over the edge for me. I really like being able to depend on myself – and when you travel alone, you need to be able to do so. Self-reliance is, in my opinion, something that really solidifies being able to be independent. In How Living Abroad Changed My Perspective on Independence I’d touched on this a little bit – but it can be incredibly freeing to only have yourself to depend on. Again, not to say you can’t accept or ask for help but being able to be independent in a city foreign to you and potentially a city that may speak a different language, is really quite cool. It makes for an experience that is uniquely your own, and you can tailor it however you like.
YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
I love being on my own schedule. Absolutely adore it. If this is something that you enjoy, maybe consider taking a trip alone to a city that you’ve always wanted to see. You can see as much (or as little) as you’d like – order room service, walk the entire city, sleep in, give your camera a workout (guilty!) or even dine alone at a fancy restaurant. You may get a funny look or two for doing the latter, but I think that eating alone over the course of travelling has made me a bit bolder in the choices that I make, which in itself, is a benefit.
Being on your own schedule is one of my favourite aspects of travelling alone. Personally, I love to sit at corner cafes and people watch, really taking in my surroundings and experiencing the culture of a new place. Some may not be interested in doing that. I remember taking a trip with a companion that felt you needed to be doing something at all points of the day – if you weren’t, it was like wasting a day. To some, you may enjoy that style of travel. Yet, I’d argue that sometimes taking a trip a little slower and seeing where the day brings you can be just as rewarding if not more so.
YOU’LL MEET PEOPLE YOU MAY NOT HAVE
This is my ABSOLUTE favourite aspect of travelling by myself. I love meeting new people – but keep in mind, I’m also an extrovert, so maybe this may not be your cup of tea. However, I think meeting new people, that are both local and/or tourists themselves can be extremely enriching. One particular instance comes to mind whenever I think of this – Paris. Last year, I visited Paris twice, each for a weekend. The second time I went, I spent pretty much every moment on my own. I loved it, primarily because Paris is a city that I’ve been enchanted by since I was sixteen and I’d already been twice before.
Spending the day in Montmartre, I was standing in line for a cappuccino in the morning. I got to chatting with an older man in the line, whom was very charming and interesting to speak with. He was an artist and said that he frequented the area because of how many people tend to make their way there. Saying our goodbyes, we parted after I’d gotten my coffee and he his. Later in the evening, I saw someone waving at me, from a decent distance away. This got me thinking, “who do I know in Paris? Better yet, who do I know that can recognize me from that far away?” Lo and behold, it was the same man from earlier – he waved me over and invited me to join him for dinner. I don’t think I would have made a friend in him if I’d been with a larger group of friends.
Sometimes it’s one person, or maybe you even meet an entire family that can really give you a taste of the area – or maybe a different perspective that you may otherwise not have had. This is the main reason that I personally love meeting and speaking to new people. I find each person’s story so intriguing, and each interaction is something that you have the potential to carry with you for your entire life.
YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
Taking a chance as big as travelling alone, you’re bound to discover something new about yourself. Perhaps you’re bolder than you realized, more fearless, accepting or maybe it’s as simple as finding a new food you adore. Sometimes it takes being in a completely new surrounding in which you don’t know anyone to really kick self-discovery into gear. In my case, when I’m on my own, I can’t make the excuse that someone else could do something for me and tell me about it later. If I want to know about something – what it’s like, how it works, or how it’s made, I need to go and experience it myself. It makes me put myself out there more, wear my heart on my sleeve, try something new or maybe even do something that scares me (within reason, of course).
Being on your own can be incredibly enriching – and I think that this is why watching Sorelle’s video really resonated with me. Travel is indeed (in my opinion), one of the only things that you can purchase that will make you richer. Both in mind and spirit, and sometimes even in wealth, too.
Get the Look
Have you ever traveled on your own? If you have, what did you enjoy about it? Would you do it again? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments, perhaps maybe even a funny story or two! Until next, xoxo.
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