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5 Reasons to Go Out Into The World Alone

I was 27 and had decided from one day to the next to travel the world alone. Indefinitely. Into the world. Leave everything and everyone behind me and take time for myself. Do what I want, without having to consider anything or anyone.

It was October 17th, the day of my birthday. I didn’t feel like a party, a visit or anything to celebrate this day. I had had a bad time. No more job due to cutbacks, a relationship that had ended after 7 years and I was back to living at my parents’ house…

On to a destination far away…

Although my mom and dad had my best interests at heart and made my home as comfortable as possible, I didn’t feel at home. I wanted something for myself. I stared out the window, it was autumnal, gray, bleak and it rained for hours. I then crawled behind my computer and started surfing to a tropical destination.

I ended up on a Dutch travel site where I saw cheerful, good looking young people laughing in the sun. There I was in the cold Netherlands, where winter was getting closer and closer…

Australia & New Zealand Here I Come!

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I did some more research, read travel stories, watched movies and saw pictures of beautiful sun-drenched destinations. Australia and New Zealand kept coming back. And so I decided to spontaneously take the plunge.

So by the end of the afternoon I had already booked my tickets. A few weeks later I would leave for the other side of the world. To discover Oceania.

I had travelled many times and had seen quite a few countries, but those were always relatively short holidays. I studied or worked, had my own little house and besides that I had a relationship that could hardly leave her study or work. This was going to be different.

Why Leave Everything Behind And Go Away All Alone?

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I had almost nothing that kept me away for a long time. People I spoke to thought it was a courageous decision, but also said that they wouldn’t think about it for themselves. What can you do alone in a country where you know no one or have nothing?

I did it anyway. It was indeed a threshold I had to cross, but it would be an adventure I would never have wanted to miss. It brought me so much. So I can only recommend it. Why would you recommend it? I’ll explain it to you in these 5 reasons.

You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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It may seem scary, but you’re not the only one out there alone. It has become so easy these days, since everything can be found online.

My first ‘adventure’ as a solo traveller started when I was on a plane. It was after I made a transfer in Dubai and flew to my first destination -Melbourne. When you travel alone, you make contact with other people much faster. As it turned out.

Pretty soon I had an extensive conversation with my neighbour. The Indian young man turned out to have a restaurant in Melbourne and invited me to stop by for a free snack. I had never experienced this kind of thing so quickly during previous trips with my parents, friends or girlfriend.

Now that I was alone, I was also much more flexible. After all, you do what you want. And so you’re more open to everything that comes your way. It would be such a big part of my journey (which lasted a year). You have more conversations with locals and other travelers and you take more time for people than when you’re on the road with someone else. Spontaneous encounters, invitations, parties, places, and lifelong friendships with people from all over the world were the rule rather than the exception.

You Get to Know Yourself Better

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Traveling alone makes you a lot more confident. A long (world) journey alone forms you. You get to know yourself better. Because you are in a different country, with a different culture and different habits, you are -unconsciously- constantly trying and learning new things.

You become a lot more independent. You are on your own and have to arrange everything yourself. After all, you have to have a place to sleep every night, or eat to survive. You discover more and more and get to know your limits better. Constantly you have to make choices: Where will I stay tonight? What do I want to spend today? Where do I want to be tomorrow? etcetera…

You have all the time you need to look at yourself and distance yourself from your life at home. An additional advantage is that you choose everything yourself and thus have absolute freedom. You choose what you want to see and how you want to travel!

You Learn To Appreciate Life More

Of course it depends a bit on where you travel to and where you end up, but being in a different environment often teaches you to value life more. So I regularly thought how good I actually had it in my homeland. Life in the Netherlands is not that bad. We all like to complain, but when you see what what real problems other countries sometimes have, only then do you realize that ‘we’ in the Netherlands don’t have it that bad.

For example, how hard do a lot of people in Asia have to work for a miserable wage, where they can barely make ends meet? Or what about South America, where a large part of the population is in such a bad place that the crime rate is extremely high. In order to survive, robberies on people or shops are the order of the day.

You Get To Know Other Cultures And Customs

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It is wonderful to see how people from all over the world have their own habits and customs. Often also out of necessity. Experiencing and seeing another cultures is often very instructive and special.

In ‘our’ rich Western world, certain work is outsourced and carried out by machines, for example. Experiencing a completely different culture makes you realize that there is more to it than that. In Africa or Asia, for example, much more work is done by hand. Sometimes people work for days on something. And in the rich West it is made in large masses by machines in factories. Despite that, people in these cultures are often very grateful for everything and happy with that little bit of money they earn with their work.

You Make Friendships For Life

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Besides the fact that you actually have a very long holiday and can do what you want, you make a lot of contacts with people from all kinds of countries. When I left when I was 27 years old, I remember I was a bit hesitant, at school I had never gotten higher than a 5 for English. How was I going to be able to do this in terms of communication? That turned out to be absolutely no problem.

A few days in another (English speaking) country, was a world of difference for me. Since then I almost exclusively watch English movies or shows (without subtitles) and my English skills have grown enormously. You have to, how else do you make something clear?

Almost everywhere in the world people can speak English. Even if only a little. Because I got to know ‘new’ people every day and dealt with different people over and over again, not only has my English improved. I also learned a lot of other countries, languages, customs and cultures.

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