By Silvia Mordini
For quite some time now I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses why I couldn’t travel by myself:
1. My partner didn’t like to travel and I didn’t want to go without him
2. The guilt of leaving my partner and family behind
3. Not feeling worthy of the extra pampering and expense
4. Traveling alone felt selfish and undeserved
5. The fear of being alone. Even after all the years of yoga, meditation, and being on the mat on my own I was still afraid.
In today’s society you can freely admit plenty of shocking things aloud but saying you’re lonely silences the room. People feel a mix of worry and pity toward you. Rarely do friends or colleagues know the appropriate way to respond likely due to the fact that we don’t fully understand the definition of loneliness. According to Wikipedia it is defined as:
Loneliness: anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or community with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors. Research has shown that loneliness is widely prevalent throughout society among people in marriages, relationships, families and successful careers. It has also been described as Social Pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections.
The book, “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection”, states that 60 million Americans are lonely which is about 20% of the general population. Paradoxically this means that I am not alone in my feelings. Travel is an incredible therapy technique to combat loneliness as it helps us feel connected to small and unique tribes of people in different places.
Here are 5 reasons why women would greatly benefit from solo travel:
1. Interesting engagements and interactions with people you may not otherwise meet simply by getting from one place to the next. Traveling requires interacting with taxi drivers, airport personnel, and hotel staff just to name a few, to get to your destination.
2. You create a shared experience with fellow travelers by practicing curiosity and exploring unknown places. That shared experience creates a certain and often lasting bond amongst the group.
3. Travel puts you in a new ecology away from some of the difficult situations and energy draining people in your life.
4. You can be your genuine self, free from judgment. You can dress, eat, speak, and express yourself in your most authentic ways, which frees your psyche. You no longer have to repress or hold back due to fear of being judged by those around you since you may never see the people you met again. I’d compare travel to Indra Devi’s description of yoga. “Yoga, is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness.”
5. Travel gives you the opportunity to try new things. This practice of courage reignites self-confidence and bolsters self-esteem.
Women traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to travel alone, you can make it fun and go as a part of an organized group or retreat. The benefits come from leaving the house without a friend or partner to rely on and taking chances to grow and spread your wings just as you are. Nothing has furthered my own personal self-development than being a solo female traveler. Why not try it yourself and discover what you’ve been missing?
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!