We spend the first decade of our existence on planet earth learning about how to be a good member of the community. Then we spend another decade learning about how to be a skilled member of the community. Some of us go even beyond that to learn a trade like business, law, design or medicine. And yet, the lessons that one of our best teachers - Life - teaches us are left to chance. Time to take control of your learning, girls & boys! These are the 7 lessons Life can teach us only in the classroom of Solo Travel. 1 - YOUR IDENTITY HAS MORE ELEMENTS THAN YOUR PASSPORT. School & work have subconsciously limited your identity to your name, nationality, date of birth and other stuff they can conveniently capture on a passport page. That's how you usually introduce yourself right? When you're back from your first #solotravel, you'll discover the beautiful and universally loved "onion" you really are, each layer unique to your identity. One of those layers, of course, is your identity as a Traveler - For instance, I'm a traveler who loves history and local cuisines, but don't really have the patience for serious photography. Have you thought about your identity as a traveler?
2 - THERE IS NO SET FORMULA TO FRIENDSHIP. It is easy to buy the lazy myth that you can build bridges of friendship with only certain kind of personalities. "Birds of a feather, flock together" right? Well, solo travel will convince you that just as your brain is bigger than a bird's, so is your capacity to create relationships. Solo travelers connect across ages, genders, faiths, countries & mother tongues. Sure, they share the love for solo travel, but that's just one of the many other things that define who they really are. The #solopacker community is growing proof of the bond we can develop with others no matter who they are or where they were born.
3 - TO EXPLORE THE UNKOWN IS TO BE FREE. As a toddler you're born with the instinct to explore hard coded into your soul. But growing up in the web of rules, fears, do's and dont's to function in a society, we slowly chip away our sense of freedom & curiosity every day of such an existence. So how does one repair the damage (sans taking up anarchy)? Solo travel in one of the medicines you can try. You'll find yourself free and motivated to take decisions towards the unknown - taste a unfamiliar cuisine, buy a ticked printed in a language you don't understand, or seek help from a fellow traveler you just met. 4 - GENEROSITY IS NOT A TRANSACTION. Ask yourself or a solo traveler you know if they have experienced generosity from the locals in their travel destinations. I bet that you'll get a resounding YES! In your solo travels you'll find locals helping you with directions, negotiate taxi prices, suggest interesting things to do, give you a free ride or even welcome you for a feast. Why does that happen? What's in it for the locals? Am I so special that I deserve their generosity? Excuse yourself for asking those questions, but they are not relevant. Generosity is not a transaction. It is a gesture that you, as a solo traveler, were shown by the locals simply because. =)
5 - SILENCE IS STRENGTH. I'm not necessarily talking about shutting your mouth, but about your state of mind. To be surrounded by family, friends, neighbours and, of course, online social networks is really a luxury that your gluttonous mind loves to munch on. But when was the last time you were in control of the "Off Button" inside your head? Solo travel first makes you aware that there indeed is an Off Button without which you feel weak and anxious. As you continue to solo travel, taking lonely train rides, eating a meal by yourself, staring into a valley or ocean, you also learn how not to over-rely on the luxury of social engagements. Each solo travel journey builds your strength to thrive in silence and take control of that Off Button.