• Shelley Oto

Traveling Solo Will Change Your Life and Evolve Your Spirit

Updated: Oct 8, 2018


#Traveling solo is liberating, gratifying, and heart-opening. It’s something I believe everyone should try at least multiple times. It may feel different, uncomfortable, or weird in the beginning; but the benefits of taking the leap is well worth it.

Most of my best travel #experiences have been spent trotting around by myself. It’s inevitable that you will meet new people if you’re open to (1) putting down your phone and (2) going out to public places by yourself. Traveling alone keeps you out of your comfort zone and into the world you traveled so far to get to. Furthermore, you get a front seat to one of the best solo activities in the world, #people watching.

New Friendships in Bali

Traveling solo makes it more comfortable for people to approach you and invite you out to experiences you would not have had otherwise. This I promise. During the past two years of traveling, I’ve made countless friends I currently Whats App regularly, fallen in #love once or twice, and have seen the world through the eyes of locals versus the standard #tours available to anyone passing through. In a #world where many of us suffer from “people pleasing,” traveling alone allows you to be free to do as you please. I can attest to the fact that I have had 100% fulfillment while traveling alone. The experiences are simply richer. People ask me all the time if my trips are always as great as they seem. My answer is forever an undeniable, YES.

At the same time, I need to address the questions I’ve been asked surrounding #loneliness and safety. Yes, there are moments where loneliness will test you. Nonetheless, loneliness, like many other #emotions, offers a chance to be an observer of our self during this

momentary discomfort and explore healthy methods to manage it without the distraction of a travel companion. Personally, I call this an opportunity for growth. Nowadays, there are so many ways to meet people when traveling such as using #Airbnb Experiences, #Bumblebff and/or staying at accommodations where you’re bound to meet new people and obtain a super authentic, affordable experience like Hostel World, Couch Surfing, Be Welcome, Trust Roots, and Trusted House Sitters.

I experienced a heavy dose of loneliness in 2017 when the United States was faced with back to back hurricane devastation and gun violence. I clearly recall watching the news as they reported the Las Vegas shooting and me trying to hold back my tears and feeling alone. I wanted to talk to my friends. I wanted to connect with people I cared about; and more so, I wanted to make sure my friends who lived in Las Vegas were safe. This loneliness stayed with me for weeks as I continued to watch as the US news reported on hate crimes, the emotional repercussions from the Las Vegas shooting, and the unrelenting hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. It was a lot of internalization, and I felt like no one really could understand the heaviness of what I was feeling. From there, I had to develop a healthy system for my own well-being. At the end of the day, I grew. I grew a new tool kit for coping with loneliness, and I evolved in the process.

Safety is most definitely something that needs to be addressed. Due diligence is very important. Thoroughly review the locations you choose to stay. Read the reviews of other travelers and the challenges they endured. Gut check. Nothing is promised and anything can happen whether you are traveling or in your home town. These days, I tend to explore more out of my comfort zone, but truly do what’s best and #comfortable for you if you’re new to solo travel.

New Friends from All Over the World in Nicaragua

When I was researching my trip to Little Corn Island, #Nicaragua, there was a report from one woman who shared that she was assaulted on the island. Based on the details of her post and after reviewing the crime and safety report for this island, I decided I was still comfortable visiting there and decided on a game plan that would make me relaxed in doing so. At the end of the day, it is obviously your life and your comfort level that needs to be attended to.

When I first visited #Cape Town, South #Africa, I didn’t know what to think in terms of safety. As a result, I chose to stay at a hotel for the first few nights (other option: hostel/shared spaces), where I had access to recommendations and support if I needed it. Once I was comfortable, I transferred to an Airbnb. I was totally fine and Cape Town has become one of my favorite places in the world to visit. I have been there twice in the last two years and I plan to return for a third time in 2019.

While traveling alone, you can socialize when you wish and take your alone time when you need it. When you’re traveling with another person who may have an agenda that doesn’t align with your personal time and/or what you desire to experience, you may end up doing a lot of things you aren’t interested in and not feel you can take a break when you need it.

On the flipside, I’ve had life-changing trips with some of my girlfriends. Trips that have been so fabulous that it took our friendship to a higher level and made us closer than ever. I have photos that will forever make me laugh and smile and priceless memories that will most likely be shared during slurred speeches at a wedding or birthday party.

One of my favorite new friends from Capetown, S. Africa :)

I now have great friends all over the world. I love following them on my social platforms and hearing from them via Whats App and Messenger. It’s simply awesome to be a part of a global community. Those shared experiences have evolved the way I think and live my life.

All I’m saying is, if you haven’t done it already, give it a couple tries. My acquired independence from travel has completely crossed over to my life at home. I’m comfortable being alone and being quiet for extended periods of time. It allows me space to clear my mind and give quality energy to the people I love. My intuition has heightened and I feel fulfilled in a way I hadn't before. During many of my solo explorations, I experienced a waterfall of tears caused by immense #joy, #fulfillment and #happiness. These memories will be forever etched in my memory and will always be a reminder of how I want to live and feel in my body every day.

Giving yourself time to connect to the deeper part of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give. Growth doesn’t stem from being comfortable doing the same thing over and over again. Growth happens when you enter the unknown, feel the discomfort, and make peace with your situation and most importantly, yourself.

I want everyone to know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and the first thing you think to say is “Thank you for this incredible life”

#liveyourbestlife #joy #solotravel #solotraveler #Nica #nicaragua #capetown #africa #friendships #femalesolotravel #travelsafety #travelloneliness #love #selflove #takechances #yogiswhotravel #travelersnotebook #peoplewatching #Whatsapp #Couchsurfering #airbnb #growth #evolution #wanderingboo #shelleyoto #explore #discover #soul #innergrowth #worldtravel #solotraveling #independence #alonetime #qualitytime #life #lifejourney #journey #lifemeaning #joyful #globalcommunity #shift #shiftingperspective #perspective #peaceofmind #peace #fallinlove #dance #openyourheart #heartopening #justdoit #takechances #livelifetothefullest #lifestoshort #blogger #yogiswhotravel #yogaeverydamnday #lovelife #travelblogger #cuba #sayyes #sayyestolife #comfortzone #leanin #communitylove #communitysupport #adventure #adventuretravel #adventureexperiences

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