Someone asked me the other day, what has been the best aspect of my round-the-world travels? Was it the activities I’ve done, the people I’ve met, or the feeling of freedom and adventure? I had to stop and think. Of course all of these have been important elements in creating what has been an incredible trip. But if I had to choose one of these to show the importance of solo travel, what would I pick?
Amazing activities around the world
As well as doing yoga in beautiful yoga studios around the world, including taking a Thai yoga massage workshop in Bali and unexpectedly enjoying Bikram hot yoga in Sydney, I did so much over the 10 months I travelled solo around the world.
I learned to scuba dive, qualifying as an Open Water diver in Malaysia, which later allowed me to explore the colourful depths of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In Borneo, I watched orangutans eat their breakfast and spotted nocturnal creatures on a nighttime jungle trek.
In Bali, I cycled through rice paddies and climbed a volcano at sunrise. In New Zealand, I went white-water rafting and hiked over the active volcanic terrain of the 12 mile (19 km) Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
So many memories I will treasure for the rest of my life, particularly when I’m back working in an office every day.
Meeting incredible people from different countries
As for the people I’ve met, I won’t name them all here, but I have been lucky enough to meet wonderful people at every stage of my trip.
Several are now friends who I stayed in regular contact with, as we shared our slightly offbeat travelling lives. Some new friends I met up with later on in a different country, which makes the world feel like a very small place indeed. Sometimes there were friends from back home who I was delighted to see again on the other side of the world. All have played an important part, as our paths crossed on our respective journeys, and I’m over the moon to have shared it with them.
When you embark on a trip like this by yourself, you find yourself drawn to other people, and often they are in a similar situation themselves. We help each other, learn from each other, share travelling tips and tales and, sometimes, become travel partners for a while. It’s a joy to be able to share your newfound experiences as you explore unfamiliar places together.
Freedom and adventure like never before
The sense of freedom and adventure is a huge one for me. An escape from routine of the 9 to 5 (and beyond) job, and to get a different perspective on life from the consumerist, celebrity-obsessed culture we’re used to in the UK. And also, of course, to appreciate how good we have it back home.
Personally, I find travelling an energising and nourishing experience which inspires me like nothing else. It breaks open your expectations of yourself and of your life, as you explore the wonders of the world in all her beauty. To have this freedom is an absolute joy and a privilege. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone, without anything to really define you, can be unexpectedly satisfying for the soul in ways you can’t anticipate.
Conclusion on the best thing about solo travel
On reflection, the one thing that has really made my trip special and memorable are the connections I’ve made with people. People from all over the world, some travellers, some local, have all made my journey extra fun and insightful. And for me this is what it’s all about.
Whatever you are doing, the people you spend time with elevates an experience in so many ways. You can forge bonds quickly when you’re travelling; you support and encourage each other – a loving friendship can be created, even if you only spend a couple of days in each other’s company.
And then to come home. Going on the trip is special and coming home is something else, too. There is something both faintly unnerving and comfortingly reassuring about how easy it is to be reacquainted with life back home after such a long time away.
Wherever I continue my travels, I know that this love and this happiness from my home life will still be in my heart, wherever I am. Just as, wherever I end up, the spirit of freedom and adventure will be there, even once I return to the 9 to 5 daily routine. Whether travelling or at home, it’s the people that really matter.
Next up, discover more about the surprising benefits of travelling.