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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

The empowering surge in solo travel

Travel is one of the most worthwhile experiences that a person can have in their lifetime. When we get the opportunity to travel, we get the chance to experience something exciting and new. Experiencing the world and everything that it has to offer is one of life’s greatest thrills. There is nothing quite like experiencing the same world one is so achingly familiar with, from a brand-new angle. From the red desert in Australia, to the snowy mountains in Canada (and anywhere else on Earth, for that matter), every part of the world is special and unique in its own way, and they all have something exciting to offer. We travel with our families, our friends, and our partners. And there is one trend in travel that is becoming more prominent all the time in recent years. That surging trend is solo travel. Of course, travelling alone is not a new concept exactly, but the number of adventurous souls taking on solo travel is growing exponentially, all the time.

We are positively obsessed with seeing the marvels of the world around us, and travellers bold enough to take on the world on their own are some of the most adventurous souls there are. In electing to travel alone, an individual decides that they are going to jump out of their comfort zone and freefall into the adventure of a lifetime. Some of life’s best experiences and moments happen to us when we are willing to break through the status quo, and establish our own rules. Solo travel is all about accomplishing that very feat. Is there nothing more inspiring than watching someone conquer the world for themselves, rather than waiting for someone to come along and conquer it with them? I didn’t think so. And in addition to the experiences and memories, come the lessons learnt along the way.

The allure in travelling alone often (if not always) stems from not only the desire to see the world, but the freedom that comes with travelling with no one but yourself. When one travels in groups of two or more, there is an element of having to cater to what everyone wants to do on the trip. Sometimes, this can lead to an imbalance that throws what you want out of the experience out of focus, and what everyone else wants into focus. Travelling solo means that you have complete control over the entire experience, from start to finish, and there is an overwhelmingly positive sense of wild freedom that comes hand in hand with that realisation. Solo travel gives one the chance to do it all on their own terms, without having to compromise at all. Some people might call it selfish, but what is so bad about putting yourself first for a change?

Travelling solo does not necessarily mean having to be alone the entire time, either. Just because one travels somewhere alone does not mean that they cannot sign up to join a tour with a walking tours agency, or go to a bar crawl to meet fellow travellers (or any other manner of activities to meet new people, for that matter). Solo travel can be lonely, but it can, and often does, push you to meet new people or simply just experience life from the untainted perspective of yourself, an individual who knows exactly what they want out of the experience. The underlying power in solo travel comes in the form of self-growth. There is nothing in the world quite like backpacking through Europe solo or riding a scooter through rural Vietnam on your own, to help you grow into who you are as an individual. Too often, people lose themselves in those around them, and while this is simply the measure of our love for these people, we need to spend the same energy and time focusing on ourselves.

To see the world is to go on the grandest adventure that life can offer. For decades, people have taken to the roads, skies, and seas to take off to exciting and new parts of the world – or even just to revisit old favourites. The nature of travelling is that it is designed to send people out of their comfort zones, to show them what the world can look like when they are brave enough to go out and immerse themselves in it. We travel with the ones we love, but more and more a rising trend is the adventure that is solo travel. In recent years, the number of individuals taking on solo travel has risen significantly, and it speaks volumes of the shift in attitude towards travelling alone. While of course solo travel is not an entirely new concept, there have never been so many people adhering to its adventure before. This is a new frontier in travelling, and it is inspiring more and more people to join the ranks of the global solo travelling movement.

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