Jaillan Yehia

10 Ways To Learn From Solo Travel

Written by Jaillan Yehia

Post Categories: Opinion | Travel Top Ten

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Learn from solo travel

A monk in Cambodia

Solo travel is a totally different experience to your average holiday, weekend away with a partner or week’s vacation in the sun with a group of friends.

When you’re on the road alone you have the most incredible sense of freedom and endless possibilities  – it’s probably the one time in your life when you can learn anything you want to about yourself and the world around you.

Here are 10 ways to learn from solo travel  – tactics to approach this amazing opportunity to connect with yourself, with new people, and with the planet, and to get the most out of the whole experience.

1 Be Open

holiday to Canada

The open road in Canada

It may sound obvious, but the most important factor for learning anything while you’re travelling – and even when you’re not – is simply being open to the new experiences that present themselves to you every day.

Not judging, but noticing and accepting that things are different, and maybe for a very good reason and taking some time to find out why.

2 Be Curious

Brunei's Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

Photographing Brunei’s Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

It’s so important to have an inquisitive mind. It’s great to be curious, and explore why things are the way they are, while you are travelling and reset your way of approaching things to the way they were when you were a child – always asking why and really listening to the answer.

Children ask an average of 73 questions a day, but let’s face it on many days we don’t ask many questions at all  – other than ‘What shall I watch on netflix?’ or ‘how long will this pizza take to cook?’

3 Meet new kinds of people

Learn from solo travel

Meeting new people in Gambia

One of the quickest ways to learn any skill is to interact with different kinds of people who know a little more than you about the topic. When combined with travel you’ll meet people who will probably make you question some of your assumptions about life, perhaps leading to those deep, life-enriching conversations we all love to have while away from our home bubble.

4 Read. A lot

A Ljubljana bookshop

A bargain bookshop in Ljubljana

There is so much knowledge already captured in print and in today’s information age, but with screens being in front of us seemingly 24/7 one of the most indulgent things about solo travel is the ability to read books, preferably in a hammock, at a pavement cafe or on a beach.

Of course you don’t need to take a whole stack of books, just one or two, as you can always exchange or swap during your journey.

5 Learn

Tuscan Cookery School

Tuscan cookery school

Don’t forget to actually seek out those places, situations, courses or just little interactions while travelling that will help you learn new things in a structured way.  Join that art course, go on that food tour, go abroad on a singles holiday or discover a program that will introduce you to the kind of people you’d like to meet, and the new skills and information you’d like to learn.

Of course once you’ve started learning in a structured way your brain will adjust and soak up new information more readily in other situations too.

6 Relax

yoga studio at Blue Osa

Relaxing at the end of yoga class in Costa Rica

Depending on how long you have on your solo trip, try to mix actual structured learning courses with time to reflect and relax.

It’s in the down time that everything we are discovering really starts to sink in.  Just as the body needs the “dead man’s pose” to relax at the end of a good yoga session, the brain needs a good lie down after a hard workout, to soak up all that knowledge.

7 Have plans, but remain flexible

Learn from solo travel

A sign for a mobile cocktail car in Thailand

Do your research as to what is interesting to you about a destination, and what you’d like to learn about it, and by all means make a plan, but always remember rule No.1: Be Open! Being ready to change and adapt if the need arises or you get an offer that you don’t want to pass up can lead to the most fascinating experiences of all while on the road.

8 Keep moving

Learn from solo travel

Jeepney in the Philippines

The world is a big place, with plenty to see.  Keep going to the same destination every year because it’s a safe bet?  Live a little and explore somewhere new.  Get out of your comfort zone.

9 Find meaning

Learn from solo travel

Quiet contemplation in Chiang Mai

What’s it all about? What’s the purpose? Connect with something greater than yourself and your own needs while travelling and I guarantee the experience will be richer and more rewarding.

10 Just do it

Student dance shoes at Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Student dance shoes at Royal Winnipeg Ballet

It’s no coincidence that this little slogan is one of the  most memorable marketing lines ever invented. The idea of just going for it really resonates especially with solo travellers and it’s an invigorating feeling to take the plunge. So sign up for something now, and start to get excited about the new things you’ll be learning, the exciting places you’ll be visiting and the new aspects of yourself you can unlock.

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