Expect the unexpected is the advice most travellers are used to getting, usually as a warning. But, trust us, the most beautiful things happen unexpectedly, too. Travelling on your own isn’t just a way to be free from others’ itineraries – it’s a means of opening your mind to new possibilities and seeing yourself for who you really are. Itinerant travel blogger and influencer Aubrey Daquinag's recent book, Wander Love, is all about the life lessons solo travel provides. Here are seven of the best...
All photography: Aubrey Daquinag / The Love Assembly
1. Don’t wait for ‘the one’
There’s an important difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Just because your ideal travel partner doesn’t exist at the moment, there’s no reason to compromise your own travel dreams and experiences.
2. Swallow your fears
Dining solo can be quite intimidating – you’ll feel isolated and a little embarrassed at first – but that solitude will taste sweeter as time goes on. All you really need is a good book, either to read, write in or draw in. Also, be strategic in your seating choice. It’s best to dine at the bar, where you’ll get to feel the ambience of the place, but with a good view – like dining at a chef’s table. Plus, bartenders love to shoot the breeze.
3. Make it a journey of discovery
Solo travel means being left only with your own thoughts. It gives you time to explore and learn about yourself – what you like, what you don’t, how certain things make you feel – the focus is on you. We’re such social beings, fixated on learning and getting to know others, that we hardly leave enough time to ask ourselves these questions. When alone there’s no need to compare yourself to anyone but who you were yesterday.
4. Stay frosty
Trust your plans, but also don’t beat yourself up if they go wrong now and then – keeping your emotions in check will allow you to make clear decisions. Think you might get lost? Download offline Google Maps, so you can still track your location if you’re not connected to wifi. Wallet’s been stolen? Show some stiff upper lip, retrace your steps and contact the right people to fix the problem, rather than drowning in your own misery. Resilience is a useful skill.
5. Places deserve playlists
They’ll end up being the soundtrack to your life. Whenever you want to revisit your trips, you can always find your destination playlist and press play. Headphones on, world off.
6. Time’s your most valuable currency
Technology has connected us in so many ways, but it has also disconnected us from living in the present moment. Travelling solo will make you realise how valuable time is and how significant it is to be here now. Keep a balance between documenting and being in the moment. Put down your phone and seize the day. Right here and now, it’s all the time we really have.
7. Remember, it’s on you
There’s no one else to blame when you travel solo. You’re in control of the direction, activities, plans and, above all, your happiness. That is the true beauty of travelling solo: doing all the things that you discover make you happy. The number-one benefit? Self-awareness.
Wander Love: Lessons, tips and inspiration from a solo traveller, £16.99, is out now. theloveassembly.com