Riding Solo: 3 Ways Traveling Alone Will Make You Love Yourself Again

Two months ago, I decided it was time to leave home again, and so the trip planning began.

I started with my usual flight search, and I ended up choosing one to Porto, Portugal because I scored round-trip tickets for €57. I also made the decision I would travel alone for this trip.

Although I’m an extremely independent person, this was my first real “solo trip” (moving abroad alone doesn’t count), and I was incredibly excited.

Being in Porto for five days on my own was a rejuvenating feeling. The trip made me fall in love with myself all over again, and it taught me lessons I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

To grow as individuals, we long to see different places and to experience new things, and solo traveling allows us to do just that. Here are a few reasons how:

1. You get to do what you truly want.

When you travel solo, you don’t need to stress out about trying to please everyone. You have the opportunity to participate in things that truly interest you.

While traveling, people search for different things and enjoy different parts of the culture. For example, I feel like I best experience a new place when I spend time in the cafés, restaurants and small locales.

During the trip, I was able to search out the things I wanted to do.

I spent my mornings in hotels or outdoor cafés, working and writing. I chose to explore during the afternoons by going to wine tastings and food tours.

In the evenings, I treated myself with either a relaxing night in or dancing at live shows. I experienced no pressure or guilt while planning my days because the only person I had to please was myself.

2. You realize your “weaknesses” are just a part of your imagination.

We all have certain things we think we’re “bad” at.

So, what do we do?

We rely on others instead of trusting ourselves to try to improve. But we’re more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

I often proclaim I am the worst at directions. I'm usually sure of where I’m going, but then I'll second-guess myself and rely on handy-dandy Google Maps to lead me the rest of the way.

But on my first day in Porto, I walked 30 minutes throughout the entire town with only a paper map and no cell phone. I took my time figuring out where I wanted to go, and when it was time to head back, I challenged myself to find my hotel sans map.

And guess what? It worked.

I walked my way home from pure memory. At times, I questioned myself, but I stuck to my intuition. I arrived flawlessly without anyone else's help.

3. You enjoy your own company.

At the end of the day, all we truly have is ourselves. Although we can be surrounded by others who love us, we also need to understand and love ourselves.

Taking a solo trip can really help you to understand who you are. No matter the circumstances, you’ll figure out how you thrive and survive in certain situations.

Spending time with myself helped me to remember how much I love my quirks. I love the little things I do to bring myself happiness, whether it's laughing at a joke no one else thinks is funny, or turning up music and dancing on my own.

We often censor ourselves or hesitate to do certain things because we’re with other people. But when we’re on our own, we have the freedom to do whatever we want. Who is there to judge us?

Solo travel can teach you so many things about yourself, including how you interact with the world around you. More importantly, it can remind you there is so much more to your complex beauty than what meets the eye.

When you give yourself an opportunity to be your authentic self, you realize that deep within yourself, there is greatness.