Hola from Peru! I’m writing this from a balcony in a cute cafe I stumbled upon in the bohemian neighbourhood of San Blas in Cusco (and finishing it off in Colombia while waiting for my connecting flight to Chile). It’s been quite a few weeks now of what I like to jot down in my life as the first destination/s I have officially travelled to solo.
I say ‘officially’ because I have travelled solo before – having a travel and lifestyle blog has opened up many opportunities and places for me to travel to and experience for work, sometimes with friends and loved ones, other times on my own. It’s very different though. I can go into details of what’s involved but I think I’ll save that for another post on travel blogging.
I think it’s extremely important for us to always challenge ourselves; push to be better versions of ourselves each and every day. Now, I am no expert in solo travel and I certainly don’t have all the answers but I have learnt so much on this trip already that I would love to share with you and hopefully be some kind moral support if you’re thinking of doing the same.
So here’s the challenge I set myself: To travel solo for at least two months where I don’t know anyone in the country and English is not the first language. From the abundance of experiences I’ve gone through so far, this is why I think women should travel solo at least once in their lives:
Just like everything else, practise makes perfect. I do believe that learning is endless but at least you’re certain that you get better at it, whatever ‘it’ is. For solo travel, the act pushes your boundaries. It will make you, at times break you, test you and change you – all in a good way. Instead of letting your decisions in life be lead by fear you learn to face them and go in the direction of your dreams confidently. Growth happens. You evolve and become more confident in standing strong on our own, being vulnerable and knowing; accepting and loving, who you truly are.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
The comfort zone. It’s warm, fuzzy, feels good and oh so secure… Why would you want to leave? But you know there’s also more right? Some of us attend to the curiosity and have the courage to step out whilst others stay in this bubble for the majority of their lives. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be absolutely terrifying, but once you do it you will surely think to yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. This is where the magic happens, trust me.
I learnt from a really young age that when you throw yourself in the deep end you have two options: you either sink or swim. You will have no one else to depend on except for yourself when you travel solo, from the little things like carrying heavy bags and booking all transport/ accommodation, and the more challenging aspects like navigating through a new place and adapting to certain situations that don’t go in your favour. You also identify what you really want to do, no sacrificing for anyone else, you make your own decisions, learn on your own accord and figure out everything on your own. To sum it up: it’s liberating and it’s empowering.
Please don’t travel and ignore the culture, be completely unresponsive to the language, or choose to do what you can do at home. Overflow your experience with everything unique that the country has to offer. Nothing is a waste of time if we learn to take experience as growth. All the things you will experience teach you something if you open yourself up. If we have never felt sadness then we would never know what happiness feels like. If we never felt how sleeping on a bad mattress was like then we would never appreciate what sleeping on an amazing mattress feels like. These little things that we tend to overlook. These experiences that we never stop to think about the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. This is what shapes us and where we learn, ultimately making it the best teacher.
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
There are so many things in this world to be discovered and inspiration is everywhere. You may find it in vibrant colonial architecture, the energy and rhythm of life in a particular city, the style of costumes in a traditional dance, or the distinct scent from a ceremony. You will be left to take all your experiences in and truly be inspired by what you are personally drawn to. The beauty of travel is that we all see things differently, but will sure to be inspired in some way, shape or form.
Travel tip: Bring a notebook + pen, a camera, and let your thoughts and creativity flow.
To Love… To Learn
Love is life here at The Love Assembly and when you travel solo there are so many things that will happen unexpectedly – both good and bad. You become more patient and understanding when something goes wrong. You appreciate the simple things that bring joy. You attract the same wave of energy from people that you produce internally. You learn to love others with an open heart. You learn to look at every situation with an open mind, seeing the true beauty of life. Most importantly, you learn to love yourself; flaws and all.
The Kindness Of Others
You will meet many new people, really click and become great friends with a few, and maybe even develop an intimate relationship with someone special when you travel solo. There will be situations where you naturally learn to really trust your gut and follow your instincts with people. It’s funny when life turns out like that; when amazing human beings show up at times and provide you with exactly what you need, sometimes without you even knowing. You will just know who to have stick around and it’s a nice feeling to know that you can just feel it.
You Create Yourself
I have always heard about women travelling solo – how it changed them, how they grew, or the more so cliche of ‘finding themselves’ out there in the world. Honestly though, I completely disagree. I think when you set out on your own you instead, create yourself. You show yourself who you really are, or who you can be in all the different scenarios you will find yourself in. Your true character will show in how you treat those who can do nothing for you. On the road you can be anyone you want to be… but it’s a beautiful thing when you choose to be yourself – to create yourself – to know who you really are.
She could be anyone she wanted, but she chose to be herself. Each and everyday.
Our Guide to Solo Travel will be coming out soon! Subscribe to be notified on launch and comment below on any travel tips you would like to find out about or topics you would like us to include: