Why do I choose to travel solo?

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When I decided to travel solo for the first time some 5 years ago, I never anticipated that it would lead to a lifetime globetrotting from one continent to the next, sharing my adventures here on my blog along the way (while not expected, it is totally appreciated x1000!). And while I may have been nervously excited from the get go, I’m now more comfortable with solo travel than I am with travelling with others (don’t get me wrong, I love my friends + family but when it comes to travel, I just love flying solo!)

So if you’re struggling with the idea of solo travel and are looking for a little encouragement and advice, then look no further! Here’s a little insight into why I choose to travel solo, how I started with solo travel, and why it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in your lifetime.

Brooke Saward | World of Wanderlust

Making the decision to travel solo

Looking back at myself and my travels, by far and large the hardest decision of all was decided to just go. I had long wanted to explore the world on my own, but continually made excuses for myself – that I was too young, that it would be too expensive, that I would probably hate it and want to come home on the soonest flight out!

Then one day I was sitting at work (I was a hotel receptionist for five years before blogging) and saw a super cheap flight sale with Cathay Pacific in the incoming emails. Being a (huge, massive, extraordinary) fan of Hong Kong having travelled there twice previously as a teenager, I was immediately intrigued. But the flight sale was for Europe, with Hong Kong as the stopover. Perfect, I thought to myself. Too perfect…

Feeling a little uninspired in my every day office lifestyle, I had a strong urge to want to get away to somewhere, anywhere. Minutes later I was booking the sale fare to Paris via a Hong Kong stopover and the rest was history.

Brooke Saward | Gaya Island

Freedom, Salty Hair & No Cares

Since that first trip solo (at 20 years old), I have since visited all inhabited continents solo (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia). It should go without saying that I would love to travel to Antarctica as well, but I’m still waiting for that day to come!

From my first trip overseas solo I learned a few things.

I learned to think twice about that “I miss home” feeling. Instead I switched it around on myself. If I did go home, I’d be thinking the exact same thing: I miss adventures. I didn’t miss home, I missed familiarity. And the only way to break away from that shell of comfort, was to put myself out there into the world to see and experience all I could.

I learned to stop caring about what anyone thinks of me BUT me. People are more concerned about themselves than they will ever be concerned about you, anyway.

I learned that life’s simple pleasures are also the most enjoyable. Sand in between your toes, sun-kissed skin, rain drops on bare skin…. money cannot buy any of the above.

Brooke Saward | Gaya Island

All the time… in the world!

One of the main reasons I continue to travel solo, despite having a boyfriend who I’m sure would love to tag along on all of my adventures (I do allow him to come on some – haha!), is because I still love travelling solo so much more than being with others or in a group.

I’m sure you’re wondering why.

The biggest reason I still choose to travel solo is because I find I have more time to see and do all the things that interest me, spend time just being independent, and its also a great way to meet new people (when you’re with others you tend to stick to your group)!

I’m also much more comfortable now that I have ever been before – each trip just continues to grow my confidence in myself and my capabilities to go it alone. Before you know it, you’ve forgotten all about those fears you once had and what was once a weakness has soon become a strength.

Gaya Island Resort Malaysia

Collecting moments, not things

And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned whilst travelling solo? Collect moments, not things.

While I love nice things as much as the next person, I’ve learned over the last few years that whatever you can pack into a suitcase is usually all that you will ever need in life. After spending 12 months solo travelling to 5 continents, it didn’t take me long to figure out that everything I had with me was all I needed, plus the fond memories of home to keep me comforted in those times I allowed loneliness to creep in.

And what about souvenirs? I’ve been operating on the “take only photographs, leave only footprints” mantra for a while now… and its going quite well thus far! Of course every so often I find a souvenir that resonates with me (like my Moroccan wedding blanket cushion cover), but for the most part I try to keep my personal belongings to a special few. Quality over quantity!

Brooke Saward | Gaya Island

Having Doubts?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! One of the biggest struggles I first faced when travelling solo was being able to deal with the little things on my own. Things like flight delays causing you to miss a connecting flight or winding up in hospital due to exhaustion were minuscule on the grand scale of things, but at the time felt like a heavy burden to carry on my own. For that reason I’d highly recommend travel insurance (for all travellers – not just solo travellers!) as it takes the weight off your shoulders when things to go wrong. Below is a short video I made to help quash those fears and encourage you to go it alone.

WOW Readers can get 10% off Travel Insurance with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. Just use the code “WOW” at the checkout! (Australia only)

Why do YOU choose to travel solo? Join the conversation in the comments below!

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    April 12, 2016 at 7:28 am

    […] Why Do I Choose To Travel Solo? on World of Wanderlust […]

    kathleen khalid
    March 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Your blog loaded with useful tips.
    I always wanted to go on my own,travel solo,i think i could do that,but the only thing i concern is,i don’t like being alone in the room at night I’m afraid of ghosts,haunted hostel.and afraid no one can accompany me at night when i want to go pee(if toilet separate or downstairs or somewhere) lol.

    February 19, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Hi!! I’m pretty new to your blog and Youtube channel, and I just wanted to let you know that (don’t mind the cheesiness) you’re inspiring me to go see more of the world and experience new things, even though so many people have doubted me when I’ve told them. I’m in desperate need of more adventure in my life, and I’m waiting until the day I can go out into the world and explore it all for myself (and prove everyone who’s doubted me wrong)! Till then, I’m planning on reading your blogs and watching your videos . . . until the day I can be the one creating blogs and vlogs! 🙂
    Anyways, I admire what you do, and look forward to new blog posts and vlogs every day 🙂

    February 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I am going to be travelling solo soon, so it’s nice to get some reassurance and some tips about not buying too much whilst abroad haha!

    February 11, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I started travelling with a good friend and when she decided she loved her grandkids more than travel I was shattered. It took me a while to get my head around flying solo but I’m sure glad I did! Now when I travel with someone (rarely) I feel cramped and I find myself charging off forgetting my partner. LOL
    Yeah it isn’t all roses and unicorms but I find writing in my blog helps me feel less lonely during those rare times.
    It is always nice to cyberally hang with a kindred soul. 🙂

    February 9, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Everything in this piece resonates with me so strongly! Ever since my first solo trip, I’ve always felt burdened when travelling with others. Solo travels have been the best adventures by far! Now I live in Iceland and am enjoying exploring the gorgeous country on my own!

    Angela Carson
    February 9, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Love this post, Brooke. I just spent 2 months in Bali doing back-to-back hotel/villa reviews, which was my longest solo trip to date, and all the benefits you shared are spot on. After having a pretty rough year living in Hong Kong, it was exactly what I needed to find myself again and that wouldn’t have happened in the same way if I wasn’t travelling solo. Admittedly, I started to really feel lonely half way through the trip — blogging and even posting about it in an Instagram vid. Although I think that being single and reviewing romantic honeymoon packages over and over again probably brought up more of those feelings than just being solo hehe 🙂 In the end, having full control of a schedule like that was just what the doctor ordered! Thanks for always inspiring with your blogs ‘n vlogs 🙂 –Angela

    February 9, 2016 at 5:09 am

    I’m 16 and I aspire travelling the world! My main goal is to do most of it on my own. I’m still scared about it because I’m too attached to my family, but I’m starting to travel only with my friends and it has been good for me to let go of the fear to be without my parents! You and your blog inspire me a lot and since I’m young, I have time to plan my trips, which is so nice! Keep travelling and keep blogging, Brooke! Love from Brazil!

    February 9, 2016 at 5:00 am

    I love your blog so much!!!
    But I notice you have not visited Mexico. It is a beautiful country full of history and nature. You should consider it!!

    cristiane magnani
    February 9, 2016 at 2:55 am

    I’ve been traveling alone despite being married and loving my family too. I’m a professor and sorrounded by people the whole year so I do really need to be on my own and avoid talking or hearing my mother tongue (I’m Brazillian). I spent 1 month traveling from last December to January. I went to Ireland, Scotland and England. It was such a great experience!!!!!

    Belle Hover
    February 8, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I had a taste of solo travelling last December when I decided to go to London on my own. I was feeling down in the dumps at that time and just wanted to get away from everything and have a break. I was a bit apprehensive to go on my own but I’m glad I’ve done it. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it and it was so liberating! Would not mind travelling solo in the future. Thank you for continuously inspiring us.

    Leonie Parker
    February 8, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Ill be doing my first solo travels in 3 week and ive very excited and a little nervous. But I cant wait for what I will learn and experience
    Leonie ♥

    Hannie Blaise
    February 8, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve always wanted to travel solo. And I definitely will! I enjoy my time exploring towns and places on my own more most of the times.

    Sneha Marappa
    February 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Nice Post, I have been traveling solo too and can relate to everything you have mentioned! 🙂

    February 8, 2016 at 5:52 am

    I’ve been following your blog a while now and you are definitely the person who inspired me to travel completely solo to England and Paris in March (Eep! In 4 weeks)!!
    I love the tip about changing your attitude when you want to go home! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long that I can go there and be sad, stay at home and be sad, or go there and have the time of my life.

    February 8, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Lovely post! I do travel solo sometimes and I love it. However, I sometimes miss to share my thoughts immediately, but since there is Instagram this shouldn’t be a problem anymore, hahaha. I also would love to visit some countries which I wouldn’t travel solo, like Morocco or Arab countries in general (except the Emirates) so I need to wait for some of my friends to join me 🙂 What surprises me, is that people are surprised to hear that girls travel solo. It seems something so rare, which actually isn’t. Happy and safe solo travels to u 🙂

    Chic Therapy
    February 8, 2016 at 5:34 am

    I started travelling solo in Nov 2014, and I do not regret it. It is the most liberating feeling! To think that I can just book a flight to any part of the world and not bother about the schedules and budgets of friends/family is amazing.

    February 8, 2016 at 5:25 am

    This is nice. Have you been to the Philippines yet?

    February 8, 2016 at 5:15 am

    This was such an inspirational and positive post. I’m just wondering about one thing: how do you make money so you can take care of yourself and book new flights? When I’m done with college in 3 years, I want to travel the world too, but I’m afraid (just like you wrote) that I won’t have enough money. Do you have tips or anything for this during your travel?

    Sunita Sukhana
    February 8, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Hi Brooke, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post and your video and how I admire you for your couragous lifestyle. I am turning 25 this July and I have been thinking about giving me a solo vacation as a present for my birthday. I’m not sure where and when this is going to happen (I was thinking about a short trip to a city in my country – Germany – or a neigbour country – France, Denmark, Netherlands… -). Also, it makes me feel a bit sad to leave my boyfriend behind but I feel like I have to make this experience for myself. So thanks for your tips and encouragement!

    February 8, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I been traveling solo for years. I like it both ways, but I do have to admit that solo is more freedom to do and see exactly what you want. I also do solo when I think having anyone else alone would be too distracting. I traveled for years on business and solo was the norm.

    But two non-business examples come to mind, my daughter was studying in London many years ago, and my sister and I traveled over to see her. My sister had never been there and wanted to do the first-time sights like the Tower of London, etc, I had been there several times, so she did London and I hopped a train to Scotland alone. Another example was when I decided to try to follow one of the old American trails, like the Oregon trail. It is better done alone. It took me more than two weeks and a lot of the time when I found a site, there wasn’t much to see. If I had taken someone with me, they would have probably wanted to skip some. But by going to every single one sometimes I happened on a place that was truly amazing. You just never knew. I’m a history buff, and most people aren’t like me. I’m also patient when it comes to this. Most people aren’t.

    Sarah - 7stepsfromhome
    February 7, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    After about a year of following your adventures, I’ve finally begun to plan my first solo trip! I’m heading to Europe in July this year, and if I had never found you, I probably would never have found the courage to go it alone. Thank you for inspiring me with your endless adventures & your love for our world! xx

    February 7, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I don’t mind any mode of travel – groups, (some) friends, and solo. My sister is my favorite travel partner. Having said so, I LOVE traveling solo. The feeling of independence, the chances of meeting other people, the possibility to stay silent and think. I just enjoy that so much!

    Gabi @ Books & Trips
    February 7, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    This is very inspiring! Never traveled solo up to now, I’m more of a social butterfly, but I admire those who have the courage to do so!

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    Michael Taylor
    February 7, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I usually travel solo, but it’s not necessarily my preference. I simply can’t usually find someone to go with me. I think there are pros and cons. On the pro side, it means I can do what I want when I want. But cons seem to outweigh the pros. If I’m with someone, I have someone to chat with when I’m waiting in line or flying in an airplane or driving in a car or riding on a bus. I don’t have to lug my stuff into the rest room when nature calls because I have someone to watch it for me. And in an emergency, I have someone to help. My passport was stolen in China last year, and it would have been so much easier if I had a friend to help out. To start with, you can’t book a hotel room without a passport so where was I supposed to stay? Getting a passport replaced takes several days! Fortunately, my wallet wasn’t stolen. If it had been, WOW!!! What would I have done for money? Also, I don’t like dining alone – especially when I’m in a new or exciting locale. I want someone to share the experience with! I think the ideal scenario is to travel with someone else, have breakfast together, and then go your separate ways, meeting for dinner. That way you can have the best of both worlds.

    Outsource Clipping Path
    February 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm

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