For some the thought of traveling or volunteering abroad alone is terrifying, but going at it alone has many perks. When you finally do overcome the fear and anxiety of traveling by yourself, you discover there are an infinite amount of possibilities. Suddenly you become the pilot of your journey.
1. You don't have to make any compromises. Want to spend the entire time reading a book on the beach? Want to visit a million museums at your own pace? Want to volunteer teaching in rural Nepal? You can do whatever you want, and opt out of whatever you don't want to do. That's the best part about going at it alone. The only one you have to care about is yourself. Start checking things off that bucket list rather than thinking 'what if' or 'maybe next year.'
2. You will be more observant. When you travel with your friends, family, or partner, sometimes you find yourself paying more attention to them than to your surroundings. Being alone takes away that distraction and forces you to focus on the immediate now. You see details easily missed.
3. You'll become more self-reliant. You never realize how much you are capable of until you are forced to do something. When you travel alone, you'll have to figure out how to get around, read a map, do your own currency conversions, figure out a routine. If you get lost, you'll have to figure out your own way back. Maybe you'll wander around for hours navigating tiny streets, or simply asking for directions. It's an especially great exercise for the indecisive.
4. You control your time and budget. Traveling with someone on a different budget can prove annoying. Traveling with someone who sees time differently (lets get the day started at 7 am vs. 12 pm) can make you pull your hair out. Traveling and volunteering abroad alone lets you accommodate to only one person- you.
5. You'll find like-minded travelers. Here's the thing- your decision to travel and volunteer abroad alone isn't unique. There's literally a million people doing it, and very likely, you're bound to run into them. You can join up with them if they're into the same thing, spend a few days together, and make some cool new friendships. But here's the cool thing, you aren't obligated to hang out with them if you don't want to.
6. You're more approachable. Volunteering abroad in a community is the perfect opportunity to fully immerse yourself in another culture. As a single person, those members of the community, your host family, and your colleagues, will find it easier to communicate with just you. No one will feel like they're interrupting or feel like one is doing it better than the other. You'll be forging fast friendships.
7. Meet the new you. If you're ever having an existentialist crises, imagining a life different from your own, or wanting to discover something else, this is your chance to do it. Traveling or volunteering abroad alone gives you the opportunity to be the person you always wanted to be. There are no stigmas attached to you. There are only possibilities.