Seven Ways Solo Travel Will Make You a Better Person

One year ago an Airbus A340 touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi … with me on it. I was so excited I had tears in my eyes as we landed but at the same time I was coping with the nerves that come with setting out on a solo travel adventure (a.k.a. the scariest step of my life).

The next six months were a whirlwind. I travelled through 11 countries in Africa, spent two and a half months in India, a few weeks in Thailand and some catch-up time with friends in England and Ireland before flying back to Malta. You can read all about The Big Trip here – and I still have plenty to write about.

Malta was my recovery time. Travelling full-time comes at a price and I needed to replenish my bone-dry bank account. Luckily for me my parents live on a sunny island in the Mediterranean, so it wasn’t the worse place to spend the Summer. Being back on a small island did drive me a bit crazy though…

…and so here I am back in Ireland. I moved back to Dublin just under two weeks ago meaning I really have gone full circle.

So one year on, I am back where I began but a completely different person. Travelling changed me completely; I’d like to think for the better. And that brings me to…

Seven Ways Solo Travel Will Make You a Better Person

solo travel

A solitary moment at Fish River Canyon, Namibia

1. Positivity

Everything will be alright. You know this because you have proof. After so many people gave you reasons why solo travel was a bad idea, you went ahead and succeeded anyway. If you can survive a cow taking a dump on you, you can handle anything with a smile on your face.

2. Sociability

Travellers are rarely in one place for long and so you can’t wait for an introduction or slowly build up to saying hello to someone. Travellers are one big worldwide family and you’ll quickly learn to ease into conversation with someone you’ve just met. This is a great quality to keep.

3. Understanding

Solo travel is your adventure. Without having to compromise with anyone, you will quickly understand what makes you happy. Once you know what the magic ingredient is, you can focus on this even when you are home.

4. Adaptability

A different bed every few nights. Or maybe even a different country. Different currencies, languages, etiquette… You’ll soon become so versed in handling change that nothing will phase you. When others are running about like headless chickens, you’ll be the cool cucumber in the corner.

5. Communication

Figuring out which bay your bus is in ten minutes prior to departure in a country where you don’t speak the language may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. Who needs phrase books? Everything else will be a doddle.

6. Humility

The very fact that you are able to travel is a privilege. A slice of Humble Pie is usually on the menu wherever you may go. It will help you to appreciate the things in life that may otherwise be taken for granted.

7. Confidence

Knowing that you are fully capable of taking on new challenges, and getting yourself from point A to B with no one but yourself to lead the ship is a massive confidence booster.

3 Responses

  1. I think I started following along just before you left on your trip. It certainly doesn’t feel like a year ago! I’ve done a similar solo trip (in reverse, India then Africa) to you in the last 12 months as well and this post really resonates. I love solo travel but am often amused by my friends and families and colleagues reaction to it. I don’t travel solo because I have to, I travel solo because I choose to.

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Sue, yes I remember you leaving a comment all that time ago. It certainly doesn’t feel like a year ago. How did you find the ‘recovery’? I miss travelling so much and I still don’t think I’m used to ‘normal’ life!

  1. May 6, 2014

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