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Traveling alone isn’t for everyone, but here are five reasons why I think everyone should travel to a foreign destination on their own, at least once in their lives.

Vineyards of Provence, France | Travel | Grease & Glamour

1. It’s scary, and that’s an opportunity to be empowered.

Gulfoss Waterfall, Iceland | Travel | Grease & Glamour

Traveling solo can yes, be scary: What if I get lost? Will I be bored? Who will I talk to? Isn’t that just weird?

But remember – anything that’s scary is really an opportunity to be empowered.

Remember that slide you stared at longingly at 6 years old, wanting so badly to be able to gather the strength to climb up those stairs and slide down that thing just like your friends did? Except you were so scared you couldn’t muster up the strength to do it, until one day you decided to take control of your fear, slide down that slide, and your chest poked out with pride because you had overcome your fear?

Well taking your first solo trip can be just as scary at first. The thought of being alone in a foreign place can seem overwhelming, but once you do the necessary planning, make the jump and get out there, being alone will be the last thing you’re worried about. You’ll come back feeling proud that you did something that once scared you, and that’s one of the most empowering feelings in the world.

2. Become truly independent.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland | Travel | Grease & Glamour

You’re born a dependent, and that comforting feeling doesn’t just disappear because if it’s not your parents, it’s usually someone or something else that you allow yourself to become dependent on. Your partner, husband, children, pastor, co-worker who comes up with all those awesome ideas by the Keurig machine.

I realized how dependent I had become on my partner, partly because I blamed him for my own unhappiness and dissatisfaction (which obviously was not fair to him). When I felt lonely or bored – I’d look to him for fun things to do, to plan trips for both of us – except he never planned, and he never kept his promises. I finally reached the point where I realized that I had to do what I needed to do for myself. So you’ve been longing to go on a trip for a while – always wanted to go on an African safari or volunteer in Costa Rica?

Well stop waiting around for someone else to make it happen, and make it happen for yourself. When you take control and travel solo, you’re forced to rely on yourself.

If you’re lost, you’ll become the one asking for directions. If you’re bored, you’ll have to do the research to find something absolutely awesome to do. Traveling solo is one of the best ways to build your independence, and that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.

3. Meet more people.

Eating in Dubrovnik, Croatia | Travel | Grease & Glamour

You’re a lot less likely to talk to a completely random person in a restaurant when you’ve already got company. If I had been eating with a good friend at the local Dubrovnik seafood spot I walked into, I wouldn’t have started a conversation with a UK woman who was eating alone two tables down from me.

She was at least 20 years older than me, having a glass of white wine and our conversations ended up being the highlight of my night.

We explored the Old Town, stopped by a bar built on a cliff, exchanged stories (hers being absolutely hilarious) of past travels, and she gave me advice on life and love. She was traveling solo, and so was I. If I hadn’t been alone, I’m sure I never would have started a conversation with her and allowed her to inspire me as much as she did that night.

“But I’m not great at talking to strangers.” – Is this not even more reason to book a trip solo, so that you can get out there and conquer your fear of talking and meeting new people?

4. Do what you want, on your own time.

Le Louvre at Night | Paris | Travel | Grease & Glamour

Spend two hours reading in a coffee shop in Berlin because you find it relaxing. Hike throughout Norway without having to worry about someone holding you back, or you (probably in my case) holding your super-fit marathon-running, mountain-climbing friend back.

Traveling solo means you’re free to do whatever it is that you want.

Build an itinerary that suits you. Traveling with others can become extremely stressful at times because everyone has a different set of preferences. What if your partner/friend wants a beach day, and you want to go explore? What if they want to go rage at a club, and you want to soak in a bubble bath at your hotel and watch a foreign movie in bed? When you travel alone, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s good times but your own. You’re allowed to be selfish, and you don’t have to apologize to anyone for it.

5. Find yourself.

Lavender Fields, Provence | Travel  | Grease & Glamour

Unplug yourself. Take the time to discover what it is that truly makes you happy. Soul search. When I went through the most difficult time in my life, I booked a month-long trip. I wasn’t solo for the majority of the trip, but my last leg was spent alone in Croatia, and that was the place where I had realized how much I had changed my life for the better. (READ: 10 Ways Travel Changed My Life Forever)

Do you remember the exact moment you knew your life had changed forever? When is the last time you actually unplugged and took the time to think about it? Being alone will allow you to reflect on your life, your troubles, your past, you future, your problems, but most importantly, the solutions.

 

Traveling alone is an amazing way to heal. So swallow your pride, conquer your fears and take the chance to explore the world – for yourself, by yourself.

 

Thank you so much for reading this post. Follow along on my day to day inspirations + travels on my instagram: @projectinspo.

With love,
Jinna

  • Great article! I’ll have to show this to everyone that questions why I want to travel alone 🙂

    • Thanks so much Amanda! Haha, yes! I’ve tried to verbalize it to a lot of my friends – they’re always saying the same thing – I could never, I could never. I try to tell them all the time – YES YOU CAN! And it’s so unbelievably worth it. Glad to hear you travel alone as well! 😀

  • lovely post! for me the best thing of travelling solo is the lack of conflict of interests: and I am such a control freak when it comes to travelling! And I absolutely love spending a few days of “me-time”, when I can properly contemplate life!

    however, I do love travelling with others, especially with my boyfriend as well. you get such different impressions of places whether you are alone or not.

    http://wideseanoanchor.com

    • Olga – that’s so true. Traveling with others is great too because you can share moments, and I think it depends on the destinations. Being in a city could be overwhelming alone at times, but when I’m surrounded by nature, I’d prefer to be allllll alone!

    • imran khan

      I love this

  • I really enjoyed reading this article; it reminded me about how, after high school, I decided to do a gap year half way across the world. Fair enough, I had two or three friends there, but a lot of my family and friends were like ‘You’re flying there by yourself? Oh, I could never think about doing a gap year so far away’ etc. But looking back it was so worthwhile, definitely made me want to do more traveling by myself actually.

    • Krys! That’s awesome. You’re brave and inspiring – love to hear that you went despite your fears and others’ concerns. So awesome!!!

  • I went interrailing alone for a month, got back a few days ago and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. It really pushes you into new boundaries and can teach you alot about yourself, alsogave me time to think about the sort of person I was and what I wanted to do. I’ve come back and really feel a new sense of direction in life and it’s great

    • Tilly! I couldn’t have said it better. It’s such an awesome feeling to come back and feel inspired, with a new perspective on life. Plus you look in the mirror and you see a new, improved person, no? You’re so inspiring!! Keep traveling and be safe! xx

  • Thanks for writing this amazing piece! I’ve been traveling solo for about 9 weeks this year. There were times when i surely felt alone, but also you meet the most amazing people on the road, see the most amazing things and just chill when you want to 🙂 I’ll for sure save this post 🙂 Thanks!!

    Saska || Work that Health

    • Wow Saska! That’s so amazing! Where have you been?

      • I’ve visited New York, Sydney, Bali (&Gili Islands), Malaysia and Singapore 🙂 It surely was a great experience! 🙂

  • Honestly the most inspiring article I have ever read and I am grateful for it in many ways. I’m turning 19 soon and travelling to Japan alone; a lot of my family don’t want me to go because “it’s Japan and it’s stupid to go alone” but you know what? I’m 18 now, no one can tell me what I can and cannot do, and seeing the world through my own eyes and interpretations, that is what I want to do. So thank you for the inspiration, Jinna.

    Georgia x

    • man, Georgia you are AWESOME. I think you should definitely go, so you can come back and show your family all the wonderful photos. I’m sure they’re concerned about your safety, so do your part and do lots of research + be as cautious and safe as possible. But stay in the right areas, don’t go out too late at night, link up with other cool travelers and stay in the group. You’ll do great and experience wonderful things, feel empowered, and your family will understand when you get back! 🙂 safe travels, my love. You are so inspiring! xx

  • I love being able to travel on my own and I don’t think I’ll ever book another vacation with other people ever again LOL

    • haha vanessa! Awesome can’t wait to hear about all your travels! Some places are better suited for couples + family, but I think adventure trips are best to do solo. So much peace when you’re surrounded by nature, completely unplugged ya know?

  • Stephanie Forster

    Amazing blog post. Just discovered your blog – already in love.

    xo Stephanie
    http://adored-onhold.blogspot.co.at/

    • Stephanie you are SO SCHWEET! Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment 🙂

  • This is such a lovely post and has really made me think about traveling alone which is something i never thought i would do. x

    http://amytalks96.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Hey Amy! Thanks for your comment 🙂 Yeah, I never would have before, but for some reason I felt so lost and that gave me strength to do something I’d never done before, and I’m glad I took the chance because it was an awesome experience. I won’t lie, it did get lonely at times but it was all worth it – you should try it one day. 🙂

      • Thank you so much! I feel like I could do it one day! you have a lovely story and i would love to do what you have done one day! x

  • Wow, I am a new follower and have absolutely loved your posts. This has really opened my mind to traveling alone. I have always been hesitant to the idea. Thank you so much for sharing.
    xx, Jodi
    http://highheelsandtutus.com

    • Hey Jodi! Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment! You should definitely take a stab at it – it’s a wonderfully empowering experience. 🙂

  • I agree. Everyone should travel alone once in their life. It quickly takes you out of your comfort zone and talk to people you may have never talked to otherwise. And who doesn’t love getting to do what they want to do whenever they want to do it?! The only part I really didn’t like was when I saw something amazing and wanted to share it with someone I loved, but there are plenty of other trips for that! Great post, as always.

    • Exactly, Caitlin! And you’re right, it’d be awesome to share a wonderful moment with someone you love, but there will be plenty of time for that. =P I don’t regret going alone, and some trips are better alone, and some are better with loved ones!

  • I fully agree with you. It is scary at first but then you realize that it is an amazing experience.

    -Madeline
    http://www.madelinefedmont.com

    • Right? I never would have imagined I’d be traveling solo even if it was for a week lol. But now I’m empowered and don’t feel as scared at the thought of doing another place by myself!

      • I agree, solo travel is actually quite fun. I think sometimes it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and face your fear because it will help you grow as a person.

  • Ann C

    I feel so at peace while reading your posts. I can sense the joy and peace you experience. I have been on my own for some time and now have a significant other and I have to make time for being alone. I enjoy that quiet. Fortunately he understands, or tries to. Thank you for your posts.

    • Ann, that means so much thanks so much for reading! I would love to travel with a significant other if I had one. =P The woman I ran into in Croatia was married with kids, but still loved to travel alone! It’s awesome that he understands and gives you your space and lets you take on the world solo! He sounds like a keeper. 🙂

  • Love your blog post, I definitely agree with you. I took a leap of faith and traveled to Japan by myself back in May for my birthday, and it was so scary at first, but after 2.5 weeks of exploring most of Japan, I felt so independent! I felt like a new woman and wondered why i didn’t do this for my self earlier. Great post girly, and lovely pictures! <3

    http://www.tigersinparis.com

    • That’s AWESOME Cherie! I’d love to go to Japan. It’s definitely a dream of mine. Where did you go?

      • I went all over! Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Miyajima, Tokyo, Mito, and Kobe! I’m planning to head down to Switzerland with my dog for New Years. I love traveling alone, but its nice to have companion. You should totally visit Japan, it’s so beautiful there and the people are incredibly nice, especially in small towns. One of my favorite memories was when I had a dog there that I walked every morning, and so many people young and old exercise so I never really felt unsafe or alone. You should read about my latest post when you can, it’s about Miyajima Island in Hiroshima. 🙂

    • holly

      Cherie Amour I loved this blog post but reading your comment really made me smile. After three years my partner turned around and said he no longer loved me and I have now booked a flight to Japan. I am terrified about going by myself but both the post and your comments have given me some confidence. X

      • Merlyn Jacob

        Holly.. what can I say.. the blog, Cherrie’s comment and then yours.. all instill more and more confidence in me to do the same. I’ve been meaning to travel alone for half of my life now but haven’t for fear of everything Jinna mentioned. Japan has been my first love and I realise that I’ve been thinking more of reasons why I shouldn’t be travelling alone instead of reasons to find myself. I guess it’s about time now. Thanks to all of you.

  • 100% agree.

    • Glad to hear Kristin! 😀 Hope you’re havin an awesome week!

  • Just came across your blog recently, and I am loving it. Plus, I’m a bit partial to traveling Virginians =) I’ll never get sick of blog posts about solo travel! I love it, and yours is especially on point. Attempting to write my own take on it soon!

    http://www.lotsofsheep.com

    • Hey Karen! Thanks for stopping by. Your disqus profile picture looks AWESOME! 😀

      • Eric Podell

        Here is a suggestion: get a Thesaurus and try to find other words besides Awesome. You’ll sound less like the 14 year old girl next door.

  • Queenie Lee

    Love this! Great advice 🙂

    http://peanutbutterandmussels.com/

  • I could not agree more with all of this!!! I moved to Ireland for 4 months a week after graduating college and it was TERRIFYING – I had to find a job, an apartment and all of that in a foreign country all by myself. But it was the most liberating, empowering, out-of-my-comfort-zone experience of my life! I’m an introvert, so talking to strangers and things like that is really nervewracking, but this experience also taught me that those one on one conversations and meetings you inevitably have are an introvert’s dream. It opened my mind like I never thought possible!

  • Wow! Thanks for writing down my thoughts!!

  • Agree with all of those reasons! They’re so true.

    I started traveling by myself because I was getting frustrated waiting for when it was “the right time” for other people to come with me. And in the process I learned just how empowering, liberating and luxurious solo travel is. I touched upon it, in one of my blog posts, as well, last year: http://nycexpeditionist.com/2013/09/10/on-solo-travel/

    • Wow Heather that’s awesome! Where’d you end up going???

      • Thanks, Jinna! Two years ago, I went to Guatemala to study at a Spanish school. And last year, I went to Buenos Aires and the Iguazu Falls. They were both amazing experiences. That’s the great part about solo travel: After you get over the initial nervousness about doing it once, you realize it’s something you’ll be able to do–and enjoy–for the rest of your life!

  • Maryland Elly

    This is so true! At age 70, I finally fulfilled a dream from my college days of spending slightly more than a month alone in France, just going where I wanted, meeting people as I travelled, and having the time of my life. So many people thought I was “foolish”, “reckless”, “careless”, “absolutely stupid” to embark on this trip “at your age”. My retort was ” and when do YOU think I should do it? When I’m 90?” It was probably the best decision of my life! Go for it!

  • Charlene Boardman

    I totally agree! I travelled overseas for the first time when I was 53! Hubby was meant to come with me, but his mom took a bad turn and ended up having serious surgery, etc. He insisted I go anyway. I did, despite a seriously sprained ankle 2 weeks before leaving. the ankle was a serious hindrance but I went to London, Oxford, Herford, The Cotswolds to meet up with friends for 9 days. It was glorious! but my father-in-law passed away suddenly and I returned early. I did it again 6 months later, having postponed some tours not taken the 1st time. This time, I’d had an op on my ankle which turned out to have a serious fracture. I went with crutches and a moonboot! Not such a good idea, but my tours were paid for and about to expire without refund. I went to London, Oxford, Tuscany for a week with an old school friend – beyond fabulous! I then travelled around Italy – Rome, Amalfi Coast, Venice and Lake Como for another 2 weeks – ALONE. Back to London for a few day and off to Ireland by train and ferry. Spent 4 days with family, and back to Dublin from where I did daily bus tours to the outer reaches of the Emerald Isle. I had an absolute ball. I was not lonely, met wonderful people, saw many wonderful sights, ate what and when I liked. Glorious! Despite the ankle which took a turn for the worst! I’d do it all 20 times over!

  • My thoughts exactly! I am planning to go to Europe next year but my hubby doesn’t really like to travel and I told him that I will go by myself if he won’t! I have family there anyway so at some point, I won’t really be alone!

  • Nadeen White

    This is a great read! I agree! I have done many solo trips and it’s a great way to regain your mind and get centered! Will follow you on Instagram. I’m a travel blogger @thesophislife

  • Great post, I really enjoyed this. I too am a big advocate of travelling alone and write about it on my website – I think it’s important to inspire people to just take a leap of faith and DO IT. You don’t realise how much you needed it until you muster up all your courage and hit the road 🙂 Fab read, thanks for this.

    http://www.girlvsglobe.com

  • Awesome post! I’ve always wanted to travel somewhere that is not Europe and my friends always find some excuses not to go. Be it that they don’t have enough money, they want somewhere else or just something else they came up with, we never actually went somewhere. I decided to go alone to Thailand for a month! I’m really excited about the trip and I hope I’ll have the courage to just walk up to strangers and talk to them! x

  • On one side the idea atracks me but on the other hand it’s also very scary. So far i haven’t had any bad traveling company yet therefor I think I’m still more keen on traveling with someone. I see only one advantage in traveling alone and that’s being able to do what you want.

    x Karen
    http://dressinginlabels.blogspot.com

  • mizj

    I love travelling by myself. I have never been able to understand people who gone on tour after tour, like they are completely scared of their own company & ingenuity. I would never have discovered the places I have, done all the things I wanted to do, taken crazy risks that turned into amazing adventures.Often I pick up those tour guide booklets & do my own version in my own time. Hate Rome only stay for 2 days instead of 5, love Florence book an extra 2 nights, go to a play in a language you don’t speak, walk for 6 hours then sleep in till 10 the next day. It has also made me a very selfish traveller, I get really frustrated now travelling with my hubby & his 3 kids, I’m not used to having to take into account 4 other peoples opinions & needs.

  • The Queen of Dreaming

    I did it once, and I was quite scary to go, but in the end, when I came back home, I was very happy, more confident, and yeah I realized my life was changing!

    http://justsem.wordpress.com

    • Susan Gallitto

      I am 55 and married 25 years. I am traveling to Italy alone in 2 weeks and I am excited and also scared:) I know I will feel empowered when I complete this adventure and I’m tired of waiting around for my husband to go with me! He encouraged me to go which is so lovely!

  • Courtney

    Jinna, I totally decided to do this when I went through a divorce. It was therapeutic, getting out of the house and just GOING. I did it on a much smaller scale, driving to places I had never been, but it was the same discovery 🙂 Quick questions – how do you get such beautiful pictures? Do you just hike around with your tripod and camera? I love your self-portraits and would love to get some of my own on my next trip!!

  • Courtney

    Jinna, I totally decided to do this when I went through a divorce. It was therapeutic, getting out of the house and just GOING. I did it on a much smaller scale, driving to places I had never been, but it was the same discovery 🙂 Quick questions – how do you get such beautiful pictures? Do you just hike around with your tripod and camera? I love your self-portraits and would love to get some of my own on my next trip!!

  • Definitely #3 and #4. I have met some of my closest friends travelling alone, and it’s pretty empowering to do exactly what you want to and when. High five to anyone that’s travelled alone.
    Claire xx

  • Uc

    I feel like you’ve put it so succinctly. These are the reasons why I LOVE to travel alone. I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want and not having to bother anyone. I went to Paris alone this year and enjoyed myself. I’ll be going to Rome, Milan and Florence next year alone as well. I feel when and If I get married, that is something I’d miss going to places solo.

  • Lipgloss and Paperbacks

    Beautiful. I need to go travelling!

  • lyricfancy

    Just discovered your blog and life story. Love your spirit. I took a solo cross-country trip for three weeks and loved every minute of it. Met interesting people and gained inspiration!

  • Sophia

    I loved this article Jinna, it reminded me of the amazing experiences I’ve had, plus insights; when I have explored experiences on my own. One big experience was leaving my family and friends, and deciding to move to another country. This article has given me inspiration for a blog post. Thanks

  • Clare H.

    I love this post so much, I’ve been away on my own before too and I find it brilliant. I’ve lost friends, and fallen out with people simply because I cannot get along with them when we go away on holiday/trips together. As much as I love my boyfriend, I feel we are not on the same page when it comes to travel. It will hit me one day, that i’ll just drop everything and go travelling, but for now, I need to earn the money to do it.

    Such an inspiring and liberating read, all the best!

    Clare x

    http://purple-jelly.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Laura

    Great post and love the photos as well. I haven’t had the chance to do a ‘full’ trip solo, but I take lots of road trips on my own and love also spending time on my own – including going to dinner and movies solo, etc.

  • Celeste

    I absolutley agree with you, Jinna. I had to do it a couple of times in my life and it sure changed me.

  • Melinda Barker

    Traveling alone makes you really strong and independent. I traveled to Las Vegas (http://www.reservationcounter.com/hotel/las-vegas/ ) and NYC alone and I would say those are one of the best places! You can go to a party and meet a lot of new people. And it seems to me that in those cities the people are more open and it is easy to find even new friends and fun people there. I definitely recommend those as places you should visit alone 🙂

  • This is so inspiring! I’ve been meaning to find the guts to do this for a while! Great post x

    http://www.thevivacestyle.com

  • I’ve always been too afraid to travel myself, and I have a partner who doesn’t share the wonderlust as I have. You post has inspired me to give it a try. I think i’ll be seriously travelling solo within the next 6 months. Thank you!

    Regards,

    Miss Eliza WonDerland
    http://www.misselizawonderland.com

  • Roz

    You inspire me! I’m just about to book a tour for a solo travel in Europe for 12 days. Just trying to have the courage to go out and see the world on my own and meet new people.

  • Amy

    I agree with you whole heartedly! Travelling alone is an amazing gift you can give yourself. Although scary at first, the benefits are so life affirming. 12 years ago I was in a life funk, I left my job and travelled the world for 4 months. Best thing ever. Then, 3 years ago I was laid off from my job ( I also worked in nyc), my boss was horribly mean. I was also terribly heart broken & disappointed about an end of a relationship. I did an apartment swap in paris and spend a month by myself discovering the most beautiful city in the world. I also discovered a few things about myself along the way. Even in your 40’s as I am, you can still do that. Xo

  • Lydia

    I agree completely! Travelling by myself for the first time to China earlier this year was such a life changing experience. You meet so many people along the way and travelling alone gives you so much confidence and a fresh perspective on life.

  • Merlyn Jacob

    Jinna, I found your post just randomly when I was looking for a distraction from something that was upsetting. I was already planning to travel alone for the nth time and thoughts of what my folks would say..how safe it would be..how much money it’ll cost me were beginning to latch on. Ann wrote this below and that’s when I realised what the emotion was inside me of me when I read your post – I was at peace. I hope that soon enough I will be able to drop the shackles that I’ve laid on myself and travel alone and find myself. Every time
    I look at the mirror I see flaws in my face..wrinkles before time..missing glow and nothing pretty really. Somehow when I read the post and the comments below, I saw my future where I was looking into the mirror and smiling, because I saw an uneven sun-tanned face.. more wrinkles and the exhaustion of a traveler. Because beneath all that I knew I found myself. Thanks for writing. Thanks for inspiring me.

  • Susan T

    Your so right! No-one is ever on the same schedule as you, and true to form, none of my friends were available to ride yesterday, so I hopped on my motorcycle, for a spur of the moment day trip, and rode for three hours with no real destination, nervous about being alone, but knowing I could do it.
    I explored an old mining site and took lots of pictures. It felt so empowering to do what I wanted when I wanted. I even realized that going over night would be great as well. So next time I’ll bring a tent and stay over.
    Then I’ll be ready for a trip I have wanted to do for a while, a week or two spent riding down the Oregon Coast. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • millie

    I totally agree with you. All my friends in school want to go for party vacation or trips with their best friends, but I can just think of traveling the world by myself… They always ask what I want to do all on my own and that it’s going to be totally boring but I just think it’s the most amazing way of traveling and experiencing my true self! Loved this post!

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