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Travels in solitude

Being alone can fuel life. It gives us the opportunity to free our minds from the constraints imposed by daily living, whether it’s an emotionally draining work or a frustrating relationship. Solitude boosts our mental strength, sparks creativity and helps us get to know ourselves more.

Such benefits magnify when we pursue a trip to a different city or some faraway place. It permits us to submerge ourselves in an experience distinctly different from when traveling with a group. In solo travel, there’s an independence that enables us to satisfy our own needs without being judged, free from any obligations and expectations.

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But independence has a price. It will require the solo traveler to have the courage to ask strangers for directions, or simply a favor for them to take his or her photo. One may need to endure some harsh racist comments from rude locals or other foreigners. Then there is a demand to be vigilant at all costs, for danger lurks for the naïve lone traveler.

Getting lost is a nightmare, too. It’s like you’re the lone star in a movie in which nobody knows the fear and anxiety crippling you from within. Will you get kidnapped, raped or murdered? These questions will throw you further into the abyss of uncertainty, as tears erupt from your eyes.

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However, hope will anchor your soul. Kind people around the corner may be willing to assist without asking for anything in return. Such an act of benevolence will convince you to believe in humanity once again.

Being alone abroad will activate your appreciation for unique surroundings—for even the tiny details you’ve neglected back home. For instance, you may be aghast to discover that the tissues and ketchup usually given for free by McDonald’s in Manila are charged to the hungry buyer in Paris.

Moreover, you will never be lonely. Sometimes, a question for directions with one of the friendly locals will lead to enlightening conversations. Through their stories, you gain new perspectives, and stereotypes are crushed.

There is truth in that quote: “Great things never came from comfort zones.”

Should you accept the mission to embark on a voyage alone, have courage and patience. Cherish each good and bad moment, for these experiences will forever linger in your mind. One day, when you return after the adventure, you’ll have wonderful stories to share with the people who matter to you the most. And they, too, will witness how traveling by yourself has transformed you into a better human being.

Joey Kiele M. Lumain describes herself as “a 26-year-old mademoiselle who finds both opportunity and frustration in this crazy world.”

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