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Things I learned from traveling solo – PART II


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I started traveling solo when I was 22. My travels and experiences have been the best life teacher so far. I want to share things I learned from traveling solo and how they benefit my life today. This is part two.

In PART I of this series I shared the first two things I learned from traveling solo: Listening to my gut feeling and change needs time. Today I reveal two more.

NO I. You are the one

Society has always kind of told us that there is “the one” and “your better half”. I find this thought misleading & restricting and to make finding the one to ones life mission can be a waste of time for two reasons:

  1. There are so many people on this planet that there can’t be only one person which is right for you. And why does the one happen to speak the same language in most of the cases? Would be a huge coincidence.
  2. Even if someone finds a perfect match for a few years it doesn’t mean that this relationship has to last for a lifetime. We change as a person and circumstances change. I think it is beautiful to share your time with someone you have deep feelings for – as long as the beauty lasts. Why make something work and invest a lot of energy instead of accepting that it was maybe not meant to last forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I love when people share their time with a person and are happy. And relationships also come with arguments and compromises. However, some might feel disappointed or lost if they haven’t found anyone yet or if relationships fall apart. I find this very sad because they forget that something is much more important: A respectful and loving relationship to themselves.

sunset from volcano El Teide in Tenerife

My travels taught me: Stop seeking. Start embracing life because you already got what you need: You are the one. Everything else is a wonderful add-on. This way of thinking decreases a lot of pressure many people might feel.

Be happy with yourself first

If you’re not clear about your own needs and you are not comfortable with yourself, how can others be? The most important thing to make any relationships on this world work is to get along with oneself first. If you know what you like, what you need and where your limits are you won’t make other people responsible for your well-being. Thus you’re less dependent on others to be happy. Can you imagine how much easier life can be if you are the only one responsible for your contentment?

I love sharing moments and to be with people. But I know that even though some relationships don’t last I can be happy. So whether I will spend my life in a relationship (in terms of having a partner) or not, I’m sure it will both be beautiful. Also because there are many other relationships – to friends, animals and mother nature. This thought gives me calmness and makes me be open to whatever comes.

How Koh Tao became my home during the pandemic.

NO II. Just do it – it’s better to fail than not even try

Facing failure can be discouraging and scary. And there’s no point arguing that failing itself is a negative thing. My travels taught me though that it is better to risk to fail or to get rejected than to not even try.

When I was in Costa Rica I wanted to take the early morning bus from Manuel Antonio (small town) to Quepos. The bus cost less than a Euro but I only had a note worth around 30 euros. You can only pay by cash and I was quite sure that the bus driver wouldn’t accept a note to pay with. Therefore I tried to get money at ATMs and asked in the one supermarket that was open if they could exchange the note for change. Not successful. I had to get that bus though as I had a connection booked from Quepos.

There was one big challenge facing me: Getting on the bus and trying to explain to the bus driver that I didn’t have any change (he couldn’t speak English). With the little Spanish I learnt before the trip I told him that I will get change at the big bus station in Quepos and then pay him. Luckily he understood, drove me to Quepos and I managed to pay him after the trip. At that moment everything was very stressful. But in hindsight I will never forget this experience and am glad it happened. The success was so much bigger than it would’ve been without facing these challenges. It made me more relaxed facing similar situations in the future. And trust in the good in people.

What is the worst that could happen?

Ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen? In my case it was the driver saying no and me not getting on the bus. But that would’ve also happened if I hadn’t asked which is why it was worth trying.

I sometimes catch myself not asking for things (e.g. to get a better seat in a restaurant) because my head is making up a potential negative reaction of the person. In these situations I tell myself that the worst thing that could happen is the person saying no & then I just do it. Ask for things, be brave and there’s a high possibility you’ll get what you’re asking for.

Whether you’re succeeding or failing, if the worst that could happen is bearable, I think you can only become a stronger person by just doing it. Try things and be not scared to fail.

This was part two of my “things I learned from traveling solo” series. Read Part I here.

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