What Solo Travel Really Teaches Us

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Many of us live in our own little bubbles. Surviving day to day, content existing amongst our own little luxuries and hopelessly attached to our daily routines no matter how boring they are. Our job, regardless of how much we dislike it gives us the financial security we think we need.

We have family and friends close by and knowing they are, gives us ease. We have our favorite places to shop and dine, our go-to dentist, pharmacy, tailor, hair salon, café, you name it. Walk into any store and people know your name and greet you with a big smile.

So why would you ever want to leave? Why do some of us leave the comforts of home to live out of a backpack? Do we really need to travel to grow?


Learn new things and uncover your passions

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Stepping out of your bubble, even just for a tiny bit will teach you things you will never learn in your comfort zone. Have you always dreamt of surfing Sumatra, rock climbing in Suesca or hiking the glaciers of Patagonia? As a child, I read my father’s National Geographic magazines, daydreaming of visiting all these places far and wide. We’re so lucky to live in a time when reaching any point of the globe is now possible with cheap airline fares and so much information at the palm of our hands. Having a career no longer means being tied to a desk 8 hours a day. If you’re part of the lucky few who have already found their passions, ask yourself, “Are you getting compensated for it fairly?” If not, it maybe time to seek out greener pastures while you can.


See the world and yourself in different perspectives

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We all have our own views of the world. The trouble with that is, if we were born, raised and still live in the same place, we will only have ONE view no matter how many university degrees we have earned. The moment you find yourself in the depressed slums of Manila where 4 million people sort through trash everyday, you’ll probably never look at food the same way again. When you realize that millions of children around the world have to walk or swim miles just to attend school, you’ll probably never miss another boring class in school. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to raise funds to build homes and schools in Nepal with your own bare hands.


Lose your sense of entitlement

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A lot of us have been raised with a sense of entitlement, perhaps because your family was rich, or because you studied in a prestigious university, or maybe because you hold a first world passport. When you travel, you will find out that NONE of these matter when you get caught in a rainstorm in middle of nowhere biking through Laos and need shelter for the night to survive. You will learn how to talk to everyone the same genuine way, from the garbage man to the president of the country. You’ll stop thinking that everyone should speak English once you step out of your comfort zone and make an effort to learn new languages to communicate with different cultures better.


Know that there is more than one way to live life

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Most of us were raised to follow society’s path. Study, find a good job, get married and have kids. But when you start traveling, you’ll find that many successful people don’t necessarily follow this recipe and there is nothing wrong with that. You’ll start thinking of the infinite possibilities you can achieve for yourself. Being raised by a lawyer and a realtor, I was raised to succeed in the corporate world. I never thought I’d become a yoga teacher and digital nomad who happily explores the world one country at a time.


How to be fearless

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Having perpetual wanderlust has forced me to suck it up and draw strength and courage from places I never knew existed within me. From a spoiled little brat who wasn’t even allowed to take public transportation back home in Manila, I have explored many areas of the globe tagged with adverse travel warnings. 3 out of 4 of my siblings think I’m crazy, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. You will learn to use your common sense and do some research of your own instead of being a slave to the whatever the media feeds you. Colombia was probably the biggest surprise in all my travels. It still has a bad reputation for drug cartels and kidnapping but I have never felt safer traveling around Latin America.


Heartbreaks are just as painful, but you recover so much faster

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Photo by Stephanie Dandan

Travel doesn’t make us immune to emotions. We’re homesick and miss our family and friends dearly, but we get used to it. We still fall in love hopelessly and get our hearts broken recklessly. Travel will no doubt be a huge distraction to our depression. Who would want to lay in bed all day listening to sappy songs and watching run-of-the-mill cheesy romantic comedies when you have a whole new country or continent to explore? As a backpacker, you are also exposed to a whole plethora of new people from different backgrounds who may share your interests and dreams.


Let go of all your inhibitions

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Being away from your circle of friends allows you to be a whole new other person, or the person who you’ve always been. Most people initially get lost in the revelry and the allure of unrestricted freedom and become quite irresponsible, using people and breaking hearts here and there. But when the illusion of anonymity fades, we instead begin to peel back all the layers of who we’ve become to reveal our true authentic selves. We let go of expectations set by those around us, as well as expectations we’ve raised upon ourselves.


You are the master of your own destiny

I went to college with a girl whose ultimate dream was to become a housewife. After college, she worked for a bit, found the man of her dreams and had lots babies. They couldn’t be any happier, and we have a deep understanding for the lifestyles we have consciously chosen. There is no right or wrong way to live, so don’t get pressured into marriage just because society dictates it. At the same time, don’t feel like you have to travel halfway around the world and live off a backpack for a year if your soul doesn’t agree with the idea. But ultimately, you choose your own path. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

This is a guest post by Adi Zarsadias, one of our homegrown Yoga teachers at Flow Retreats. She writes about her worldly adventures at LoveTheSearch.com Join Adi as she co-leads our Yoga + Adventure Retreat in Siquijor this June 9-12. Find more details about the retreat and the registration here.

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