Why travelling alone can make you happier
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to travel alone but felt a bit anxious or wary of taking the leap?
While holidaying with friends, family or a partner can be magical and make priceless memories, some experts believe it’s actually through solo adventuring you can really enjoy a break.
While there are obvious benefits to taking a trip with people you love, there are plenty of pros to being your own travel companion.
Here, travel expert and founder of Synergy – The Retreat Show, Laura Montesanti, explains why travelling alone can bring joy, open your mind and bring an unrivalled sense of freedom.
“City life. Exciting, exhilarating – yet also exhausting. It was when I lived in London that I began to truly understand the multiple health benefits that a solo trip away could bring about – to take time away from the 24/7 busy lifestyle and instead recruit this crucial healing tool that many of us are quick to dismiss.
“From its very origin, solo travel can be yours and yours alone. Deciding on the destination of your trip can be exclusively dictated by your needs – allowing you to think deeply about where you are drawn to and enabling you to get in touch with what you want from a travel experience at this critical stage in your journey.
“I like to refer to this as Destination Energy – assessing what you need and following the different energy that each destination has in order to fulfil what is right for you, as you are in this moment. Being fully present, with the freedom to explore and follow exactly what you need, allows your body to relax and unwind without having to consider the needs of others.
“On a solo trip, you can practice yoga, explore a unique diet, sleep deeply, stick to a meditation routine, or employ breath work practices without explanation to others. Solo travel allows you to shake off any concerns or anxieties about judgement from those who you may usually travel with and liberates you from making choices based in part on the needs of others.
“I’m often asked whether I miss sharing experiences with others – yet being alone when travelling enabled me to direct joy and fulfilment directly to my heart, bringing me to the centre of each and every experience. Some of the most breathtaking memories I have, I have enjoyed on trips made alone. Taking the time to be fully present with our surroundings and with ourselves is one of the greatest gifts we can enjoy.
“Interestingly though, through the many solo trips I have taken, I have found there to be deep connections to the people who I meet and interact with. Travelling alone instantly makes you more approachable and as such, other solo travellers or local people will connect with you on a much deeper level than if you’d been with a group or a loved one. Funnily enough, when looking back, I feel I was rarely alone on my solo trips.
“Similarly, I find it incredibly rewarding to connect in deep and meaningful ways with the local culture when enjoying solo travels – largely because I can fully immerse myself at the moment with them, in their space. Community is a key part of sustainable travel and for me, it’s essential to spend time solely with the people who live and work in the area I’m visiting – without the distraction of fellow travellers or the expectations of others.
“We are all aware that communication in 2023 is more instant and more constant than ever before. Solo travel gives each of us the opportunity to switch off from this if we need to. With space and silence, it’s often quicker and easier to delve deeper into practices as a personal journey. There are myriad benefits to exploring areas of our mind, bodies, practices and breath work that we simply don’t have the time, focus or energy to do in our day-to-day lives. Solo travel brings with it a sense of freedom that is only amplified as you start to really follow the true pace that your body needs at that moment.
“Obviously solo travel comes with its challenges – as in any part of life. There may be difficulties that you will face that you would otherwise turn to your fellow traveller, friend or family member to solve for you. Yet when you are travelling alone, you will be required to overcome these alone. This allows the huge potential for growth and self-development, enabling you to see your immense capacity and capability.
“When things do go wrong – as can happen on any trip – you can also reflect on your reactions to hardship and gain greater clarity and understanding around your limits and capabilities. I compare this to being in a challenging yoga pose – when you sit in it and explore that discomfort, you realise your real strength and can work through it. There will be an amazing sense of empowerment and achievement that only you alone can reach.”
Laura’s top 3 tips for solo travel
1. Destination is key
Take the time to pick a destination that feels right for you at this moment in your life – this will set you up for your own very personal journey from the start.
2. Open your mind
Be open to learning and connecting with people you meet, the communities you visit and the cultures you’re exploring.
3. Listen to your body
Embrace silence and solitude – this may be a struggle at the start but your mind and body will reap the benefits. You could choose to be in nature or surround yourself with people if that is what your body needs. Being solo is all about tuning in and being able to really listen and do what your body tells you at any given moment, and if today means just chilling out, that’s also OK.