3 Things Solo Travelling Taught Me. (And What You Can Learn From It)
Exactly one year ago, I awoke in my cold London flat in the vibrancy that is Kilburn and decided today was the day. Today was the day I was going to book my flight to Bangkok. So, I got out of bed. Opened my laptop. Typed Skyscanner into Google and began the booking process. I scanned the calendar, popped in a random departure date and a return date. Got the confirmation a few moments later and just like that, I'd booked a 2 month long solo backpacking trip.
Now when it comes to creating, travelling is the ultimate method by which we can find inspiration. Art comes from our lives and in order for us to have something to say we need to live those lives. Below are three things I learned along the way that have transformed the way I live and subsequently, create.
1. Travelling Alone Is The Ultimate Confidence Builder
I’m not going to lie. When I got off the train in the centre of Bangkok and walked towards the main road with nothing but a backpack I was freaking out. It’s hectic. I didn't know the language. I was in Asia. And, I was on my own. All I could do was take one step after another and see what would come across my path. And, when the fear vanished, exhilaration, wonder and pure curiosity took over.
It was empowering to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I wanted to move on to the next city I could. I had an idea of the cities I wanted to visit but no idea when I’d go. I’d just decide on the day or one day prior and book a ticket. I didn’t have to be anywhere. I didn’t have to answer emails or phone calls about things I didn’t care about. It was incredibly liberating.
This extreme amount of independence, in turn, can raise your confidence. It did for me. By not asking someone ‘so what shall we do now?’ Or ‘where do you want to go?’ You begin to listen to your own instincts more carefully and build trust within yourself. You speak to more people when you’re on your own as well and I had some incredibly surprising and life-changing conversations along the way.
2. Being Stripped From All You Think You Are Will Be The Most Eye-Opening Experience
Because you have unlimited time with your own thoughts, you end up exposed to your inner demons. Or at least I was. Stripped of all my to-do lists, I was left with who I was without the things that I do. Because it doesn’t matter how much people argue otherwise, who you are and what you do are two separate things. Most people in our society are focused on the latter and think that who we are is something that’s defined by what we do.
This made me realise that we don’t spend enough time trying to figure out who we really are as individuals. It was uncomfortable. It still is. But it’s also making me a better person.
3. You Realise That There Are So Many Options The World Has To Offer
Travelling around the world helps you recognize how narrow our perspectives can be. When you move to a city like London to chase a dream you forget that there’s more to life than just that. For me, it was the moment when I was driving a motorbike through the Hai Van pass in Vietnam that made me grasp this. We can literally reinvent ourselves every few years if we want to. There’s so much of the world to see, so many people to meet and so many new things to try that it almost seems a bit silly to not take full advantage of this.
Before I left, climbing up the music industry ladder was everything. Now, I just want to try different things, take more chances and explore other industries. Because why not?
To conclude, that trip was not at all what I expected it to be. It ended up being a much more introspective journey than anything else but above all, it has gifted me with a ‘fuck it’ attitude. I always put achievement at the top of my priority list and in a sense, it’s still very much there but I’m now approaching those things without the same constant pressure and worry that I put on myself before. What does it matter if things don’t work out as planned? Do it anyway because you might notice that the journey is the best part. Worrying about what people think of you is a waste of time. Find those who get you. The rest just give you the opportunity to reiterate who you are. Unapologetically.
Call To Action: How about taking a weekend trip somewhere new on your own? Stay in a hostel and push yourself to interact with your surroundings.
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