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A unique bliss emerges during a solo journey. I’ve felt this joy during my own travels, yet while some of us may revel in an adventure of solitude, others may cringe at the thought. Traveling alone can quickly expose any self-doubt or fear. But areas of discomfort can be openings into exploring yourself and the world in a new way. If you’re open and willing, some beautiful lessons may emerge. You’ll never know how much you’ll grow if you don’t push a few boundaries of what’s comfortable. Isn’t that what yoga is all about?
1. Problem Solving
Since there’s no one else to fall back on, you’re constantly figuring out a way through whatever you’re facing, which builds self-confidence. You learn how to problem solve quickly and creatively. With that lone responsibility comes a deep sense of empowerment.
2. Trusting Your Instincts
You might make some mistakes and second guess yourself sometimes. But ultimately you may begin to notice that your first instinct ended up being right. Building and listening to your intuitive voice sets the stage for a whole new way of living.
3. Relaxing in Heightened Awareness
Sometimes fear is useful, justified, and necessary on the road. But over time, a wise traveler learns how to cultivate a keen sense of awareness of her surroundings while maintaining inner and outer calm. Your mind is relaxed but observational at all times. You learn to be more present. If real danger arises, you can respond from a place of calm rather than panic.
4. Making Friends Anywhere
The comfort of a close friend on the road is nice, but being alone allows for conversations with new people. You create space for others. Some of the most amazing people I know have entered my life in this way.
5. Enjoying Alone Time
After moving past the part where you’re longing for familiar faces, something strange may happen. You may begin enjoying your own company more than ever. You may even return from your journey and crave more alone time. Finding joy in your own company is a lifelong skill that will serve you well.
6. Following Your Bliss
The obvious perk of being alone is that you can do what you want. No travel companion needs to be consulted. No need for compromise. Simply allow your heart and mood to lead the day. It may be the first time in life where there’s no boss, family, friend, kids, or schedule to impact your choices. Enjoy it fully.
7. Seeing the Beauty of Connection Without Words
If you’re traveling in a country where the language is unfamiliar, your usual means of connecting is gone. You’re forced to notice a deeper human connection. For example, humor may be expressed with a flash of the eyes, a smile, or a laugh. No words necessary. So much love and joy can be communicated without shared language. Once this underlying connection to all people emerges, you may never feel alone again.
Traveling is one way to fall in love with yourself and the world. But creating an environment where you can only enjoy the world when you’re venturing alone isn’t the end goal. When you become an observer of the world, you learn to enjoy the simple moments and a shift happens. The tourist becomes a traveler.
The new challenge lies in cultivating this blissful traveling state of mind in all your adventures, with all people, at home or away. Whether you’re in a stressful twist of events on the road or compromising on what’s for dinner, you begin to hold your peace. In this way, traveling can become a unique reminder to learn, trust, be present, compromise, and find your joy in all of life’s moments.
Outer truth-seeking journalist turned inner truth-seeking yogi, Nicole Harris now writes freelance and teaches yoga. Her practice on the mat began in Minnesota in 2011 and eventually led her to teaching in Florida. Her true passion is to cultivate awareness and live from that honest, real space as much as possible. She finds her quickest ways to get there are through nature, adventure, and travel. The deepest way is through a meditative yoga practice.