My personal journey
I used to be a person who didn't like "travelling". I didn't understand why people had wanderlust. Until everything changed.
I was focused on getting ahead with life - career, business & school. You will get what I mean if you're from a Singaporean (or East Asian) household. I told my family that I was perhaps built differently. Just doing the typical touristy things was just not very appealing.
However, things changed when I took my 3-month solo trip. I visited 17 cities in 9 countries on 2 continents.
It was a life-changing experience, and I totally have wanderlust now...
Why? I suspect I didn't have wanderlust because I didn't know what I was missing out on. All my life, I was vacationing rather than travelling see - Travelling is totally different from taking a vacation (melvinfoo.com). So going alone helped me travel and immerse myself in the local culture instead of my own bubble.
However, I didn't go on a solo trip straight away. I progressively went with fewer and fewer people before taking a solo trip. I gained more and more experience on each trip before finally taking my first solo trip at 24. I could probably have gone earlier but hey, never late than never. I would recommend going to "easier" countries first before going to less safe countries.
Age 01-18 - Yearly vacations with family
Age 18-19 - High School trip with a friend group
Age 19-20 - Work trip & travelling with 1 other friend
Age 20-23 - Due to covid & my startup, I wasn't able to travel
Age 24 - Solo Trip
1 - You get to make the trip how you want.
When travelling in a group, you need to be mindful of everyone's needs. What they are interested in doing, what they don't want to do. You can do that because you feel like having a lazy day and changing it to vacation. Feel like going on a massive hike, you can do that.
If you want to get new experiences, rather than do the everyday travel things - like eating and seeing new sights - you can also change the trip to fit that.
Travelling in a group, although nice, sometimes is commonly a minimal strategy. No one is really passionate about the activity, but everyone is ok with it.
2 - You're forced to interact with the locals
If you're travelling in a group, you can always fall back on talking with your friends. Even though you and your friends are travelling overseas - you are in a "bubble" within the foreign land.
However, if you're travelling alone, you have to ask locals for help. If you want to really force yourself - don't get 3G and depend solely on the generosity of people. Slowly you will get lonely and that will force you to interact with the locals.
3 - Opening yourself up for ultimate flexibility
Suppose you met new friends there or found something you'd really like to do instead of your current plan. If you're travelling alone, all you have to say is yes.
Some of my most fun experiences are the ones that are spontaneous & unplanned. Like going to a correfoc in Barcelona: https://barcelona-home.com/blog/catalan-festival-fire-correfoc/
4 - Its an act of confidence & confidence builder
Travelling is already uncomfortable. Travelling alone is the ultimate act of confidence. It can be a real confidence booster that you can not only survive but thrive and have fun by yourself.
You would bring this confidence back to your daily life.
5- You get to be who you want to be
At the bare minimum, you get to totally reinvent yourself. No one knows who you are. Want to pick a new hobby? Or change the way you communicate? No one knows who you were previously. You get to control how you're seen again.
6 - You get to travel instead of vacationing
Lastly, you get to actually travel instead of vacation:
Give a solo trip a try. Or maybe a solo day within a larger holiday. You might really love it as I have. However, some people have also learned that they prefer travelling in groups, which totally is ok! At least you know now.
A guy I met at a hostel