Sunday, 31 December 2017

5 things I learned while travelling by myself

One of my biggest achievements of 2017 was travelling by myself. I can't say it's something I've always wanted to do, but this year has taught me that if I always wait for other people, I will never do the things I want to do. My first solo travel adventures took me to Malta.
A photo diary with my tips and experiences will be up in the new year (which is tomorrow - eek!)

I've always been someone who has enjoyed their own company, so the idea of doing things by myself doesn't scare me. In fact, this is something I've embraced a lot more in the last two years. I've gone to concerts by myself, museums, events, the cinema and I hadn't thought anything of it. However, it was the idea of travelling to another country by myself that really got me. The idea of travelling to a country whose language I couldn't speak (although once arriving in Malta I realised this wasn't an issue because almost everyone speaks English), the idea of eating alone, getting lost by myself... it was all quite daunting. That was until I actually did it. Four days in a foreign country taught me so much about myself and about my life, and I want to share with you the five important things I learned.

1. Personal responsibility
When you're travelling by yourself everything is your responsibility. This became very apparent to me the first time I got *lost. It was then that I realised there was no one there to share the burden and it would be my responsibility to get myself found! Although, with modern technology (Google Maps), a good ol' map and the help of strangers, I wasn't lost frequently or for too long. But it's not always something as big as losing your way, sometimes it's the small things like deciding what you're going to do that day, or where you're going to have lunch. It was my responsibility to plan my time and make those decisions. There are things that will always be out of my control, but the things that I can control, I will control and will take responsibility for. I cannot control when the bus or train will arrive, but I can make sure that I give myself enough time to travel to my destination so that I am not late.

*Side note: one of the best things about going to another country is getting lost and discovering places that only the locals know about. But when you're trying to get somewhere and you realise that place is not where you currently are, that can be very intimidating and frustrating lol! 

2. Embrace every moment
I found myself taking in my surroundings a lot more than I do in my every day life. I do believe this was because I was in such a beautiful country and genuinely interested in seeing all it had to offer. But I don't think this is something that should be restricted to travelling. As hard as it may be to do living in a huge city such as London, and even with the current times where there are so many distractions, I think it's important to appreciate the now and the things that are right in front of you. This is something I want to embrace a lot more of in my life, as it's so easy for it to pass by and I honestly don't want to miss a thing.

3. Don't be afraid to take risks
Travelling by myself was a really big deal for me and it showed me how brave I actually am. To spend a day in a different part of a place you're already familiar with is one thing, but to take the plunge and surround yourself in an unfamiliar environment for four days is something else. Instead of using public transport I took some extra time to walk to my destinations and take in even more of the Maltese culture. Instead of getting dinner-to-go and eating by myself in my room, I sat down and had dinner (still by myself lol) but in the restaurant. I think it's important to put ourselves in situations that we're not familiar with to challenge ourselves and see how we deal with it. Yeah, sometimes, it won't work out for the best but when it does, it feels great.

4. The importance of looking after myself
Taking a break is healthy. Taking the time to understand yourself and work on yourself is important.
I found that I invested a lot more time in myself when I was away. And again, it was the little things, like laying in bed a little longer in the morning or taking my time in the (amazing) shower. The trip as a whole was a huge investment because as the year was drawing to a close I realised that I hadn't travelled anywhere; I hadn't even left London and that upset me. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere before the end of the year and Malta was somewhere I always wanted to visit, so I just did it. And I'm going to do a lot more of that from 2018 going forward. If there is something I want to do and I am able to do it, I am going to do it. I've learned that it's important to look within myself for the things that I want and do everything I can to make them happen.

5. There is always something to learn
The first four points have been things that I learned from spending four days in another country by myself and that brings me to my fifth and final lesson - that there is always something to learn. Bear in mind I've learnt a great deal about myself this year but these are the five I wanted to share with you. I truly believe that no matter how old you are or how far you get in life, there is always something to learn. It won't always be those grand lessons that drastically impact your life, but could be those smaller tips that make you do or see things slightly differently. The main thing is to give yourself the opportunities to learn and embrace the knowledge you gain.

Maybe I won't get so used to doing everything by myself all the time because I do enjoy the company of family and good friends, but my solo travel adventures taught me that there is nothing wrong with spending some time by myself, working on myself, for myself.

Happy New Year guys xo
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1 comment

  1. Lovely post with great and realistic tips! looking forward to your travel diary x

    ReplyDelete

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