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5 things you learn when traveling solo

November 5, 2015

A trip on your own to a strange land can lead you straight to yourself – and answers to questions you didn’t know you were asking.

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Professor, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author Steve Blank once said that the best parenting advice he ever received was that his job is “to teach his child how to leave.”

I think my parents excel in that. Other Asian parents would go ballistic if their daughter told them she was going trekking in a distant land on her own. Not mine. So, it was with their blessing that I embarked on my first solo traveling experience in Nepal – and learned something new at each turn.

Loneliness can be dispelled
I began my Nepal trip trekking with a big group of fellow travelers. For six days, we did everything together. The moment we had to part ways, my world was suddenly silent. I felt lonely and empty inside. Then I told myself: “You’ve gotta move.” Everything turned better the moment I did. Loneliness is just a mindset that can be changed by willpower.

Talking to strangers doesn’t kill
Chatting-up strangers can be awkward – but what if you start with a smile? I was amazed by the power of smiling while travelling. It breaks down barriers between people instantly. And I love communicating – everyone has a story, and speaking to strangers taught me subtle things about human behaviour that I’d never find in a travel guidebook.

You learn to trust in others
I needed help with things like looking for authentic local food and navigating my way around. So I decided to lower my guard (which had been up all my life) and believe in the goodness in people in order to ask for favours. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe it’s the people of Nepal; but everything turned out fine, even when I was told not to trust so easily.

You can be whoever you want to be
In a place where nobody knew me, I could do things that were out of character. I wasn’t planning on doing anything bad – just to step out of my comfort zone, make different choices and see where they brought me. A lot of awesome things happened because I was willing to let myself go and simply ‘be’.

Your perspective is forever changed
I took stock of things when my trip ended. I had survived alone in a foreign land. It felt great. After seeing new people and other ways of living, the map in my heart had expanded. I see things differently now, and it affects my life decisions. I appreciate every single moment in life because I know how big the world is, and how small my problems are in comparison.

From an article published by coffeepreneur and traveler Isabelle Thye in http://www.theartsycraftsy.com/

 For more illuminating reflections, lifestyle lessons and inspiring thought pieces, visit www.theartsycraftsy.com: or follow the blogazine on Facebook @theartycraftsyblog; or on Instagram and Twitter @theartsycraftsy.

 


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