The time is now...
Words by James Wong
Gone are the days of Bridget Jones’s-style pity if a woman in her 30s chooses to travel alone. Attitudes have changed dramatically in the last few decades, and today we see a rapidly increasing number of fearless females braving the world with the ultimate companions – themselves.
‘I love travelling alone,’ says Mandy Jhamat, co-founder of the UK’s leading yoga retreats company Yogasphere. ‘I spent two months backpacking across India at the turn of 30. It’s such an empowering experience and you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy your own company and autonomy.’
If you’re undecided about taking the plunge and taking off alone, here’s why the time is now…
The planning is simpler
If you’re in your 30s, chances are within your lifetime that you’ve organised trips with a significant other, your mother, or worse – for a hen weekend. Remember how stressful it was just settling on a date? And don’t even get us started on accommodation budgets.
‘When you’re flying solo you are the captain of your own plane, you choose when, where and how you travel and there is nobody else to consult. No sweat, except on the beach,’ adds Mandy.
While you’re there, it’s your rules
The best thing about travelling alone is that you only have to worry about making yourself happy. ‘Alone, you can go to as many museums as you like, spend a solid day shopping, or if staying in the bed of your five star hotel room all day is bliss to you then go ahead and do it!’ says Mandy.
‘There is no worry about entertaining somebody else, and you won’t be dragged along to see that soccer stadium that you couldn’t care less about. It’s your trip, your interests, your rules.’
You’ll make new friends
OK, so many a little company might be nice. Did you know that when you travel alone, you’re automatically more sociable?
‘Without company, you’re more approachable, and vice versa, you are more likely to make conversation with another single traveller at the bar, workout class’ assures Mandy. ‘You’ll have new friends to make memories with, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to continue that post trip – which most people do.’
You’ll have no regrets
‘Just because my peers had settled down and were busy with family, that didn’t mean I had to follow suit.’ explains Mandy, “There were things I still wanted to do and I set out to do them.
‘We all have a wish list of places we want to see or things we want to try, and when you’re in good health with the means to do it, then do it, because one day it’ll be too late and you don’t want to look back with regret.’
You’ll find your girl power
Spice Girl or not, there is no better feeling than that ‘girl power’ moment, when you feel empowered and truly comfortable in your own skin. ‘At the end of a solo adventure, you’ll have faced your fears, tackled some challenging foreign situations and actualised your own strength’ says Mandy.
‘You’ll also be surprised at how much you enjoy your own company – to not “have” to be with others to feel you are having social time is a great gift to offer yourself.’
You’ll come back more focused
After plenty of space to gather your thoughts and let the clutter in your mind go, you’ll return home with a clearer head.
‘A solo trip can be a powerful and life-changing experience,’ Mandy concludes.
‘You’ll have an honest conversation with yourself, and come back with a clearer vision of where you want to go next in your life.’