Independence can mean so many different things for each person in all the areas of life. It isn’t all about making your own money, despite what Destiny’s Child might have us believe. For some of us, independence simply means being able to rely on ourselves instead of others, male or female, parent or best friend. For many of us, it can be difficult to trust ourselves, to act responsibly without the push from others, to fix our own problems, to create independent opinions, or even to just go to a restaurant alone. What it comes down to is our confidence and self-reliability, which can sometimes be a tricky thing to build.
In order to live life as a newly independent, it’s important to put yourself in situations that require independence. Traveling alone is a great way to prove to yourself that you can handle all the stressful things that life has to offer. It requires saved finances, planning, organization, new places, unforeseen problems, and a unique spontaneity. Doing something for the first time can be stressful for some of us, and anxious circumstances are hard to handle alone, but being on your own in a new place will force you to rely on yourself and really grow into the self-reliant person you dream of. Here are 4 reasons you need to take a leap of faith and run away to a far off land, all by yourself:
Learning independence is all about being confident in yourself and your decisions. When you travel alone, it’s all up to you; when your gate is changed, when you need to find your shuttle, when you have to find your way around a new place, or any other new circumstance that you are used to handling with a companion. You’ll learn to trust your instincts.
When something goes wrong, just take a minute, breathe, and think about the solution. Ask someone for help, Google the answer, or practice some trial and error. Think about how you’d tell someone else to solve the problem. The bottom line is that eventually you’ll build your confidence and trust in yourself the more you learn to solve problems on your own.
2. Fear vs. Caution
Traveling alone can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s important to balance your fear and cautiousness while you’re seeing the world on your own. For women especially, there is a common fear of traveling alone, whether it’s across the country or even just walking home. Many of these fears are completely legitimate but it should not deter you from doing anything independently. The travel industry has seen a rise in solo travelers, so you are not the only one out there setting out on an independent journey. Whereas safety should always be a concern, it shouldn’t keep you from joining in on the trend of solo travel.
Take all the proper precautions to traveling alone. Tell a family member or friend at home where you will be and your contact information, stay away from dangerous areas, stay alert, and research your area beforehand. Don’t allow fear to keep you from seeing the world on your own, but trust your instincts and be confident in your ability to keep yourself out of dangerous situations.
Relying on ourselves can be a tricky thing if our confidence isn’t where it needs to be. It involves trusting your own judgement and your ability to solve problems. Relying on ourselves is more than just reliance on funds or troubleshooting, it’s about relying on ourselves for emotional stability.
Traveling solo you’ll have to deal with the wonder of seeing a new place, possible homesickness, culture shock, or loneliness. Prepare for your trip by preparing for your alone time before hand and prepare to make friends, bring a book, and plan your outings ahead of time. You’ll learn to cope with being alone with these emotions, and possibly enjoy this aspect of traveling alone. You’ll have more time for introspection, assessing your own thoughts, and developing an emotional connection to yourself when you only have yourself to rely on. Try using a journal to let things out and cope with how you’re feeling during both the good and scary moments
Traveling alone is a great time to make your trip about something that will resonate with you forever. Instead of just taking a trip to another city, plan a hiking trip, volunteer overseas, or go to a historical location. Allow yourself to connect with your trip on another level instead of only associating it with being alone. In the case of culture shock, research ways to ease your transition and relish the new atmosphere. You’ll learn the confidence and self-reliance needed to see this big change as a positive and exciting experience to have by yourself.
Learning independence in everyday life is something that can be difficult to achieve, but not impossible. When we are so conditioned to rely on others for comfort or safety it can be difficult to trust yourself enough to live with emotional independence, let alone social and financial independence. Traveling has the ability to open our minds, and traveling alone amplifies that feeling of openness. All of these skills you’ll learn will translate into your normal life and help you to live more independently being at home, with people you know. It’s really all about trusting yourself without anyone else to fall back on and is a great way to prove your worth to yourself while seeing the world around you.
Featured Image via Aly Meyer.
Guest Post by Chelsy. She is writer from Montana who graduated with her journalism degree in 2012. She enjoys travelling, skiing, and throwing a frisbee for her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter!