9 Times Traveling Has Taught Me to Be Content with Being Single

There is nothing quite as eye-opening or exhilarating as travel. Seeing the many different and unique facets of the world will teach you things about life you’ll never find in a book or classroom.

Traveling not only teaches you that true happiness lies with your ability to know and accept yourself for the amazing individual you are, but it also teaches you to be happy, content and fulfilled with just you.

I have learned a great many things during my years traveling, and being single through most of it has been one of the best decisions I ever made. This may be difficult to describe to your nana at Christmas, but one thing you’ll also learn while on the road is that it doesn’t really matter what she or anyone else thinks (sorry nana).

Here is a short list of my favorite lessons learned as a single, independent lady—all hail Queen Bey!—on the road.

  1. I learned to get out of my comfort zone.

We each begin our lives in a bubble. Some are smaller than others, but these bubbles are what we dub the ‘comfort zone.’ In order to grow and change as a person, we have to push the limits of our bubbles constantly. Deciding to travel as a young, single woman, I laid the path for a constant desire to stretch that comfort zone. Because it began as my quest, my decisions weren’t dependent on what other people thought. I learned to govern my own challenges. It’s taken me to hundreds of cities, numerous countries and more than half of the continents, and I’m far from finished.

  1. I explored my creative genius

Getting out of my comfort zone, I was able to explore avenues that were not available to me back home. In the process, I discovered work that I loved and had a passion for. It has allowed me to move continually and deepened the understanding I have about the creativity that burns within me.

  1. I tested my limits and became self-reliant

I stepped out into the world a single lady, ready to take it all on, and it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There were lots of lows to go with those highs, and yes, I was lonely often. But, during these hard times was when I learned the most, especially about building lasting relationships, knowing when to be self-reliant and when to ask for help.

  1. I discovered self-confidence

One great thing about moving around constantly is the blank slate you have at each destination. There are no preconceived ideas of who you are from anyone (okay maybe a few American stereotypes, yes, but those great to poke fun at right along with the locals). Because you can be you each place you go, you begin to find the self-confidence that was always there to begin with. No fluff, no exaggerations—just you. And the people you meet will love that!

  1. I became very good at networking and learned to trust people.

Because you’ll begin to naturally exude self-confidence, you’ll also find it easier to meet and connect with people. The more places you travel and languages you navigate, the easier you find common ground with someone from any part of the world. This is perhaps, my favorite lesson learned throughout my travels. We, as humans, are the same no matter what part of the world we come from, and that network you build will leave you with family and friends in every corner of the globe. I find I really connect with the words of long-time travel blogger, Brenna Holeman, particularly on learning to trust people from all walks of life.

  1. I learned to adapt and be flexible

Nothing teaches you to be adaptable in a pinch like traveling. If you’re not sure what I mean by this statement, here is a list of twelve career skills travel helps improve. You’ll find they are very valuable to have in your personal and professional life. As a master of adaptability you’ll be able to enjoy more, rather than waste time being stressed if things don’t go ‘just so’ with your plans.

  1. I sampled the local flora and fauna

Now, I mentioned already that there are bouts of loneliness when traveling solo. But, a very big bonus to being single is getting to sample the local flavor (if you know what I mean). While my travel has been mostly as a single lady, this doesn’t mean an interesting individual from some far off exotic place hasn’t visited me from time to time (oh the stories I could tell!). I’ve dated casually and seriously throughout my travels, and had passionate affairs—all learning experiences. Personally, I think it’s beneficial to explore the options before you as your grow and change. How else will you actually know what you want in a long-term partner?

  1. I learned how take myself on a date

Besides dating locally, I also learned how to take myself on a date. What does that mean? Well it means that I am no longer self-conscious about going to a nice restaurant, seeing a movie or grabbing a beer alone. In fact, I make a habit of doing it about once a week. If I discovered myself in a time period where traveling somewhere far away was just not a feasible option, I discovered different ways to travel around my own town. I’ve come to really enjoy this alone time specifically for me. It lets me love on myself and also leaves time for necessary self-introspection.

  1. In discovering who I was, I fell in love with myself.

Allowing myself to take on these challenges and adventures alone, I was very aware of the many flaws and imperfections that I had. Coming to terms with these parts of myself was really difficult at first, and I didn’t always deal well with it all. But, when you are self-reliant and determined to grow and change, you realize that you’re giving too much power to those feelings of self-guilt and self-loathing. They are merely parts of you, but they do not define you.

When you discover that your flaws are part of what make you the wonderful human being that you are, you fall in love with the absolute work of art it is to be uniquely you. In a lot of ways, traveling alone allows you to lose yourself over and over, so that each time you find yourself for the remaking, you’re more whole and complete.

You realize that you don’t really need anyone or anything to be happy. You, and you alone, are enough.

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