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Solo travel will boost your social life


Reasons why solo travel will give you a better social life. (Watch this video!)

I wouldn’t call myself “outgoing” or “the life of a party”.

As personable as I might have seemed to others growing up, there was always an intrinsically quiet and shy person inside, who longed to be a social butterfly, but felt like a failure at it. Always awkward at parties,  my inability to connect with small talk chit-chat, weather, politics, business, verbal jousting (all totally not my thing)… all enhanced my flailing confidence. Those pinches of social loneliness haunted me into my adult years.

But then that all changed, when I began traveling alone. Solo travel boosted my social life!

Why people are driven to solo travel.

Solo travel isn’t always a traveler’s first choice. In fact, travelers are often driven to it out of necessity. The most common reasons tend to be:

–  Difficulty aligning travel plans with friends.
–  No one is interested in the countries you’re interested in.
–  You can’t find friends with the same travel style or budget as you…
–  And you’re tired of waiting on other people to start your dream to travel.

These were all of my reasons when I first started. But likewise I had many fears and self-doubts too, such as “Will I be able to get around by myself?” “Will I have to eat dinner all alone? “”What if I get into a bad situation and have no one to help me out?”

Is traveling alone lonely?

For a while, I believed this myth about solo travel being lonely. The mere thought of it reminded me of the pain of my social awkwardness.  As a result, I put off solo travel for a long time.

We assume  that “Solo” equals “Alone” and “Alone” must mean “Lonely”.

Um, wrong.

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Is traveling alone lonely?  Nope. Solo travel will give you a better social life.

Having been a solo traveler for over six years, I find traveling alone is actually not lonely at all. It’s actually quite opposite. This was something my first solo trip to India revealed to me and has continued since. Traveling alone made me realize I am quite social, well-adjusted to meeting people, adaptable to changing cultures and conversational. If you can travel the world and converse with people from all corners of the globe, but can’t do so in a party at home,… then what gauge will you trust?

No, I’m not broken. Traveling alone, I’ve learned that… I’m just fine.

Reasons why solo travel is not lonely

These days, I meet more and more women traveling alone. I also meet many first-timers and when I ask them if they feel lonely, a majority of them deny the myth of loneliness.  Many tend to say the same thing– I feel I’m almost never alone.

Of course, there’s always exceptions to the rule.  Admittedly, I have my winces of loneliness, but they’re nowhere near the loneliness of being at a party among people I had no shared interests with or I’m traveling with someone, whose travel style is not a good match.  Solo travel has opened me to a larger and more vibrant social life.  It’s better and more active than my social life at home.  How can this be?

1. Solo travel makes you more open to making friends

Alone, I have the potential to meet more people.   People are easier to meet when you’re on-the-road. No one talks about their job or concerned with their ego. Everyone is excited to share, meet, explore the adventure around them… which is Travel. Travel is the passion string and conversational piece that binds. You won’t find yourself struggling to find things to talk about here.

2.  Being alone makes you more approachable.

Locals and travelers are more inclined to offer you aid when you look lost, if you’re alone.  Being alone makes you less intimidating.

3.  People feel more protective towards women traveling alone.

I always find people soften towards me because I am a woman. Locals, fellow travelers, mothers, single men.. every one of these people have offered shelter to me at some point of my travels.   I’ve had local families offer assistance or take me under their wing, if they see danger headed in my direction.

4. Solo travel teaches you to befriend or adapt to your environment quickly

Travelers often carry a little fear when entering “foreign” environments. It’s natural. But as a solo traveler, I only have myself to rely on and because I can’t do it all alone… I have to befriend my environment and find resource in it.   I have no choice but to rely on locals, travelers and the new environment around me. So I don’t feel fear of my environment. Instead, I find comfort in it. I make it my home.

5. Solo traveler’s survival instinct will forces you to be direct and outgoing.

If you’re shy, solo travel is a perfect cure to breaking you out of your shell.  Based on the innate will to survive and the fact you’ll need help in order to get around, you’ll talk to strangers to get crucial information.  The greater your need, the less self-conscious you feel in asking for it.

6. With solo travel, you have the power to create your travel experience.

Many first time soloists don’t understand the freedom at their fingertips, but if they put a little effort into it, they quickly learn. The world is a buffet and you can pick and choose your experiences and who you want to travel with, invite to dinner, share a ride with, etc…  Being on the road makes people open-minded to experiencing new things and people. Most travelers are open to meeting others and joining up in activities. Thus, being alone is a choice.

Ever experienced solo travel? What are your fears and concerns?  What did you discover when you traveled alone? Was your solo travel lonely?

25 Comments

  1. I found traveling alone as a single man in his 30’s people regard you with suspicion, light to moderate fear, have less reservation about arbitrary hostility or contempt, zero sympathy and negative empathy. But, if they haven’t attacked you or stolen your wallet, they warm up after a while.

  2. Christi says:

    I agree, i just came back from NYC and it was exactly that….
    I love your blog
    Thanks!
    Christi

  3. Ada says:

    Your blog played a major role in my taking a solo trip. I “stalked” your blog for a few months before I decided to take the leap. I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I am sure I am not the only one who has been inspired by your boldness and courage. I am coming to the end of my first 3 week solo trip and it was anything but lonely. Days of panic, I ran to your blog to see what you may have advised about situations. Thank you again for being an inspiration to a complete stranger.

    I look forward to my next trip.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Ada: Apologies for the delayed response. Thank you for your comment and stalking!!! I’m so glad you’re rocking your first solo trip. 3 weeks alone in a foreign country is very impressive and I’m glad I was able to help. I feel like a lot of folks don’t understand how much easier it is to make friends as a soloist and that solo doesn’t have to mean alone. Comments like yours makes me glad I write these posts!

  4. Audrey says:

    The last reason was what started me off in my solo travel but I started off in some place safer, a place I’d been to before. But it’s amazing how my senses open up when I’m revelling solo. Now when I travel with friends, I always feel I need to go for another solo trip to recover from that! I yearned for the freedom of travelling to a place where I don’t have to speak if I don’t want to. My job means I need to talk everyday and I treasured my solo travel as a gift, a period of time which I can do whatever I want where ever I want whenever I want.

  5. I travel alone all of the time and agree with all of the aforementioned points. The first time I traveled solo was to the Philippines. I had booked a room in Manila with a Couchsurfer for a couple of nights before I was off on my own; and you know what, I did just fine. It came like second nature, and now three years later I travel alone all of the time, and love it!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Chanel: Very brave for you to choose Manila for your first solo trip. Depending on who you talk to, that can be a challenging city for a first time soloist, but my first solo entry point was India, which was crazy but good journey! I think we always think it will be harder than we imagined and are surprised when we find, it’s the opposite. =D

  6. These are precisely all my reasons for traveling alone. When I was younger, a lot of people would also feel protective of me. Solo travel rocks!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Aleah: So now that you’re older, people don’t feel as protective of you? That I’d find hard to believe- you’re so cute and tiny. 😉

  7. HannahontheMap says:

    I’m about to solo travel again in just a few days, so these tips are good reminders for me! I’ve traveled alone before, but I always get a little nervous every time I visit a new country.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Hannah: I think many of us go through nerves despite how often we travel alone. I feel the same. It’s that initial doubt, until you’re on the road and it reminds you that you’re capable.

  8. Derek4Real says:

    Excellent post, all so damn true. I may have felt a vague sense of loneliness once or twice over the last five years, but overall I’m too busy absorbing in everything and learning/seeing as much as possible to feel lonely.

    My travels are about 95% solo, 5% with new friends randomly for a few days or maybe a week every so often. I enjoy those group adventures for the first day or two but then all I’m thinking is “damn can’t wait to get back out on my own” 😉

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Derek: Yes, I feel like solo travel keeps you really busy. It’s interesting to hear your feedback because you’ve been on the road for a while. If anything, I would’ve thought being nomadic and slow travel, would be a place loneliness might occasionally arise more.

  9. cubiclethrowdown says:

    This is awesome, and very true!! The first time I traveled solo, I did it because I wanted some time to myself… and I barely got any, since so many people were interested in saying ‘hi’ and chatting since I was alone!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      ha ha @cubiclethrowdown. Wow, you actually wanted to be alone? That’s brave.

  10. Karisa - My Hot Pink Passport says:

    Great video & I love your message 🙂 I was terrified of traveling solo until I actually did it! Turns out I love being in charge of my schedule and creating a nice mix of alone time and social time 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Yay! I remember your first jaunt to Myanmar, @Karisa! But you didn’t seem too nervous to me. Good for you for crossing that threshold.

  11. Candice says:

    I made a lot of friends travelling solo. It really forces you out of your shell. I never used to be the girl who chatted up random strangers, but when you’re a solo traveller, that’s what it’s all about!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Candice: Random strangers- exactly! It gets to feeling natural.

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