Seven Reasons Why You Should Travel Solo (At Least Once)

You love traveling with your friends. The jokes, the memories. It’s those times wandering through Time Square or getting lost in Barcelona that you’ll remember for a lifetime. But you will also remember the first time you successfully navigated the London underground by yourself or sat on the Spanish steps eating some delicious gelato pondering the meaning of life. Traveling Solo is an incredible experience and one that everyone should try at least once.

Build Self Confidence

If anything is going to help you build some self-confidence it’s traveling solo. You have to make all your own travel plans and ensure they are carried out. If you want to talk to someone, you’ll have to break the ice. If you get lost, you will be the one to find your way. There is something empowering about traveling solo – especially in a foreign country. I will always remember my first solo journey in New Zealand and my first adventure in the country. I took a ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island. I ventured around the island visiting wineries, finding hidden beaches, and devouring the most delicious burger I’ve ever had.

Mt Cook NZ

What You Want

This is a big one. No more agreeing on what sites you want to see or what hikes you want to do. You don’t have to worry if one friend wants to go rafting, but the other wants to zip line. If you are on a road trip, you create the itinerary and even better you are in control of the playlist. When you travel solo, you can do whatever you want, no questions asked.

Quad Ride Peru

When You Want

What you want, when you want. I was on a water taxi crossing Lake Te Anau getting ready to hike the Kepler Track. There were two other guys in the water taxi and we were all traveling solo. The driver asked if we liked traveling solo and in unison, we said, Yes! We can do what we want when we want. If your alarm goes off, and you want to hit snooze (for a few more hours) you can do it. You set your own schedule and you choose if it changes. There is truly something liberating about traveling solo.

Make New Friends

Either someone will see that you are by yourself and approach you or you’ll be craving for a conversation that isn’t on your phone and you’ll strike up the conversation. I believe it’s almost easier to make new friends when you are traveling solo vs with a group, and especially with other people also on their own. While traveling through New Zealand, I sat down for breakfast at a table with two girls and we started a conversation. I mentioned how I would be traveling to Ireland soon, and one of the girls said she lived in Ireland, and I should hit her up when I was there. Not only did I see her in Ireland, but I was headed to Scotland in a few weekends and she also had plans to go to Scotland with some friends, and we met up again! It was so much fun!

Rose and Keelie Ireland

Learn About Yourself

When you only have yourself to rely on, you tend to learn a lot about yourself. Like if you are good at directions, what type of activities you like the most and how you want to spend your time. You learn your limits like how long you want to spend exploring a city or how adventurous you are willing to get with the local food. There is no one there to persuade you in a direction and every choice in one you made.

No Expectations

Timon and Pumbaa said it best – “It means no worries.” When it’s just you, you are forever on island time living the island lifestyle. You might have some bad days, but no one but you will know. And tomorrow will be a brand-new day filled with brand new adventures. Create your own schedule and go with the flow. It’s relaxing when the only needs to service are your own and there aren’t any expectations to meet.

New York Skyline

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I always thought of myself as a shy person. The new people I would meet were through friends or we would be paired together somehow whether it was school, work or a sporting team etc. And I usually took the safe route. I went to the safe school, took a safe job. But when I was in a foreign country all on my own, I had to broaden my horizons a little. Eat foods I wasn’t used to eating, jump off rocks I thought were a little high, and strike up a conversation with countless strangers. I love traveling with my group of friends, but I think we tend to be complacent when we are around people we know. When it’s just you, the limits tend to get pushed and you step out of your comfort zone.

Vatican Rome

So what do you think? Have you traveled solo before and it changed your life? Do you have an reservations about a solo trip? Tell me in the comments below or tweet me at @keeliec5 and let’s get the conversation started!

Until next time….

Cheers!

Keelie

36 Hours in New York City

I was looking at flights to London when my mom said, “Why don’t you fly through New York? Get out and explore the city a bit.” This was a brilliant idea. Reno had just launched a direct red-eye flight to JFK. I decided I would fly to New York City, spend the night and take a red-eye to London the following day. This was my first time to the Big Apple, and I was traveling solo. What was I going to do?

New York Stock Exchange

I arrived at my hotel around 8:30 in the morning. Too early to check in obviously, but I was able to drop off my baggage and hit the streets. My first stop – Wall Street. I had just ended a five-year career in the Brokerage industry, so this was a no brainer for me. It was Saturday (and 8:30 am), so the street wasn’t flooded with brokers, but I was still able to soak up the energy and nerd out in the financial center of the world.

New York Stock Exchange

The 911 Memorial 

I was in the 7th grade when the Twin Towers collapsed. I remember my Grandma getting off the phone and running over to change the TV to the news. This is such an awe-inspiring memorial, and it gives me the chills every time I see it. Where the towers once stood, there are now two beautiful water fountains with the names of the men, women and children that were killed during the attacks inscribed along the edges.

911 Memorial

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island  

Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of New York, the Statue of Liberty is a must for any New York first timer. I imagined myself as an immigrant woman who just left all of her family and friends behind to start a new life in America. I had just traveled by boat from Europe and after entering the New York Harbor there she was – Lady Liberty. A symbol of freedom, hope and my new life in America. Don’t skip out on Ellis Island. The history of the building and what the immigrants went through to start their new life here is astounding.

Statue of Liberty

Times Square 

It’s a tourist destination, you’re a tourist, so check it out. It felt a bit like Vegas to me with all the lights, sounds and people. I had no idea that the NASDAQ was located in Times Square, so that was a bonus item for me. Check out the iconic stores, people watch, grab a drink nearby and take lots of photos. It really is a cool place and worth checking out.

Times Square

Central Park  

Did you really go to New York City if you didn’t visit Central Park? I was staying at The Pod 39 Hotel near Grand Central Station and decided to run to Central Park. It was a bucket list item for me – to run in Central Park. It was the middle of winter, so the trees were bare, but the park was still beautiful. Because I was on a time crunch, I decided to run from my hotel to the National History Museum via Central Park. Kill two birds with one stone. And on my way back it started snowing! Snow in Central Park is New York City at its finest.

Snowy Central Park

Natural History Museum or Top of the Rock

Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough time to do both, and both are amazing in their unique ways. The Natural History Museum makes me feel like a kid again. I love going through the dinosaur exhibit and calling out all the Land Before Time characters – Littlefoot! Petry! Spike! Duckie!….Sharp Tooth!

Natural History Museum NYCNatural History Museum NYC

The Top of the Rock is my favorite view in NYC. Everyone tends to go up the Empire State Building, but you can’t see the Empire State Building when you’re on it. 70 floors and 850 feet in the air, you have a Bird’s-eye view of Central Park in one direction and a stunning view of Midtown Manhattan (Empire State building included) in the other.

I ended up choosing the Natural History Museum but was fortunate enough to make it up the Top of the Rock on a subsequent visit.

Top of the Rock

Whichever direction you choose to go, you can’t go wrong. New York is an amazing city and the perfect weekend getaway!

What are your favorite things to do in New York? Tell me in the comments below! Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie