Adventure travel and lifestyle blogger Lucy Ruthnam aka Absolutely Lucy has been travelling solo for years, and since then it's become one of her greatest passions. Here she is to tell you why you too should step out of your comfort zone and give solo travelling a go...
Travelling solo can be a scary prospect. After all, it's a big wide world out there and with the media scaremongering us at every opportunity, it can seem a little intimidating. But as someone who has been travelling the world solo for over four years, I'm here to tell you all the reasons why I believe every woman should experience travelling solo at least once in her life. As an adventure travel and lifestyle blogger , I'm pretty confident at heading out on new adventures, but it wasn't always like that. I started out much the same as you – a girl with a travelling dream but no-one to travel with!
After being let down by a few friends, finally it became clear I would never get to live my travelling dreams if I didn't go it alone. Once I had made the decision, I refused to think about it until I was on that plane headed to South-East Asia. A glass of wine to calm the nerves and I touched down in Bangkok. That was over four years ago and since them I've travelled across Asia, Australia and Europe solo, have lived in two different countries long-term and have loved every second. Travelling solo has given me the biggest adventures of my life and is a journey I'm not ready to give up yet. I hope this article will inspire you to dive headfirst into this amazing lifestyle and to experience solo travel at least once.
WHY I'M GLAD I WENT TRAVELLING SOLO
Finding the perfect travel buddy is no easy task, and planning an adventure that squeezes both of your travel dreams into one trip can be quite the challenge. When you've spent your whole life imagining jetting off on that once-in-a-lifetime trip, you shouldn't have to compromise on your dreams. I will be forever grateful that I went travelling solo because selfishly, it meant that I got to live my travelling dreams every single day. It gave me the opportunity to really learn about myself – what I love to fill my days with, my favourite tastes and smells, and colours. It was the ultimate self-care experience. By investing time and love into my own life, I became the best version of myself.
Filling my life with creativity, spirituality and the things I was most passionate about became my new focus. By working on making myself happy, I created the best kind of vibrations and in turn, that attracted the most amazing people. Full of character, these souls left their mark on my heart and keep that connection alive today no matter what the distance between us. By forcing myself to make friends and meet people, I lost that fear of the unknown. I realised the world is filled with the kindness of strangers. Because a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet.
5 THINGS I LEARNED FROM TRAVELLING SOLO
Travelling solo is one huge learning curve and I can guarantee you will never learn more about yourself, and the world around you, as quickly as you will in a solo trip. Whether you just plan a weekend away in a new city, or a year-long backpacking trip around the world, you will find out what your travelling strengths and weaknesses are. Solo trips come with a heavy dose of self-awareness and it's a great way to discover what kind of traveller you are and to apply these skills to real life upon your return home.
1. CONFIDENCE WILL GET YOU EVERYWHERE
Travelling solo does wonders for your confidence and self-assurance – and until it does, fake it until you make it. Don't underestimate the power of standing tall, walking with purpose and making eye contact when you're in a new place. You may feel nervous, but don't show it or you are more likely to become a target. Instead smile, talk to people, and always look like you know where you are going. It won't take long until you believe it and people think you've been travelling solo for years!
2. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Long bus rides, flight delays, layovers. Travel means a lot of waiting around sometimes and one thing you will quickly learn is you have very little control over some things. All you can control is your reaction. So if you want to be the person screaming at the staff because your flight is delayed, feel free. But that big vein bulging out of your forehead will do you no favours. Instead, take it all in your stride, be prepared with entertainment to keep you busy and always keep your plans flexible. You'll make life a lot easier for yourself and the people around you.
3. THE VALUE OF A SMILE
I'm a big believer that a smile can really change someone's day. So imagine how much it could change yours when travelling. By being the person who smiles and is kind to others, they are more likely to help you in return when things go wrong and you need help. It doesn't matter how scared or lonely you are feeling, be the person who extends a smile to a stranger and you never know where you could end up. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship or an amazing adventure, but you'll never know unless you smile.
4. PREPARATION IS KEY
Travelling isn't always sunshine and roses, sometimes it can be downright difficult. You could easily go away and have the most perfect holiday ever, but you could also have everything go wrong. But the thing to remember is, you could just as easily end up in a car accident or get robbed in the UK as you could abroad. Bad things happen everywhere, it can seem scary if they happen when you travel solo, but that's why preparation is key as a solo traveller. So many bad situations can be avoided with good planning.
5. SAYING GOODBYE NEVER GETS EASIER
It doesn't matter if you've been travelling solo for a weekend, a month or a year. It never gets any easier to say goodbye to friends and family at home, and it never gets easier to say goodbye to the people you meet along the way. What does get easier, is recognising that incredible souls can come into your life at any moment and can change your world. You might meet them for a day, or you might travel with them for months, but either way, they can have such an impact on life as you know it. Every day is an adventure when you don't know who you might meet.
HOW COULD TRAVELLING SOLO CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Travelling solo has completely changed my life. Before I went travelling, I was the kind of girl who had always had someone there – friends, family, a boyfriend. I didn't realise how reliant I had become on others, and how little I really knew myself. Travelling solo made me realise that being alone doesn't have to mean being lonely. Going it alone made me face all of my fears head-on, it made me challenge myself in all new ways and it forced me to push my body, and my mind, to its limits.
Exploring the world around me made me realise how important it is to find beauty and wonder in the world everyday, how it inspires us and drives our passions. It made me realise how living in that desk job and stifling my dreams was just hiding from who I really was. If you have a soul driven by wanderlust, you'll know what I mean. It doesn't matter how you travel – whether you take short breaks around work or you escape for years at a time – what matters is that you travel. What matters is that you grab your opportunity to travel with both hands, that you (almost) fearlessly dive in. That you will be a woman who travels solo at least once.
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