Before I left New Zealand I had booked a few trips around the UK ahead of time. So in my second week after arriving I jetted off to London to see the very last performance of the Royal Shakespeare’s Company rendition of Wolf Hall.
I sort of assumed I would end up on my own despite my parent’s pleas to take someone with me. It was just too early in the semester to find any one I really wanted to travel with yet. However, those three days I spent travelling on my own taught me so many things that I reckon everyone should travel solo at least once in their lives.
Here are the five reasons why:
1. You can spend as much time as you want doing the things that you want to do.
The last time that I went to the Tower of London, I was on a tour that only stopped there for an hour. Not only did we have limited time, my sister and I lost our parents so we had to run around for about 30 mins trying to find them. Safe to say we missed a lot of what there is to see at the Tower. This time I spent a leisurely five hours exploring every part and totally indulging my inner history nerd.
2. It is a massive test of your independence.
When you are totally on your own you only have yourself to rely on. I had to try not to go totally spend happy in the gift shops to make sure I had enough money to eat that night. My will power was seriously tested.
3. You learn to not care what other people think.
One of the most awkward moments was arriving at a restaurant and having to ask for a “table for one.” I had successfully avoided sit-down meals the first day, but my friend had recommended a restaurant that she loved (Byron Burger) and I really wanted to try it.
It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized it was table service. At first I was slightly put off, but I really wanted that burger. So I walked in confidently and asked for a “table for one, please.” The waitress didn’t even bat an eyelid, nobody but me cared that I was eating alone. And you know what? The burger was totally worth it.
4. Travelling solo provides time for reflection.
I spent a lot of time of buses, trains and walking around London. Not only did I take a lot more in than I usually do, I had a lot of time to think. It was one of the first moments that it really hit me that I was in England doing exactly what I had been daydreaming about since I was 15.
5. It is a huge confidence boost.
Successfully navigating the London underground and just generally not have anything go majorly wrong was a major confidence boost. The best moment was when someone asked me for directions! I must have looked like a local. I left London on a major high, confident in my abilities to look after myself. If I can take on London on my own, I can take on the world—which is exactly what I plan to do next.Add this article to your reading list