There could be no better time than now to really understand why we travel. While I’m not travelling (and can’t) I miss it, and I miss it a lot. And now that I can’t travel far and wide, the yearnings are growing.

Long periods of confinement, social isolation, or limited outlets to socialise compared to the way we used to (before the pandemic) sure bring the allure of travel front of mind. And, for singles that have done some hard yards of social isolation, especially if you are living alone, the pull towards travel and the desire to set some plans in place may be stronger than ever.

There are the obvious reasons why we travel; visiting family and friends, seeking out a break for some better weather or otherwise planning a short diversion from your work routine.  Then there are the big travel discoveries where we are seeking out something completely different, or foreign.  

What drives one person to travel may be very different to another, but I feel sure most of us will connect with at least a few of these deep motivators, and it's not just about the destination.

1. ALLURE OF ADVENTURE

Thinking back to my first ever trip when I left my home for the first time, I can’t ever forget it.  The months, then weeks, then the days building up to the day (of departure).  The allure of adventure underpinned them all. Adventure comes in so many forms. It’s not that you have to be taking risks for an adventure. Adventure is the excitement of something new or something different.  Still, after years of travel and lots of solo travel, I think it is the allure of a new adventure (and the unknown) that takes first place for me, and why I love to travel.

Sand dunes near Abu Dhabi
A sand dune safari near Abu Dhabi

2.         Challenge

With new surroundings, maybe a foreign language, different customs and culture, travel to another country will undoubtedly bring challenge.  I think especially for solo travellers it’s undeniable that challenge plays a role in travel and it can be part of the attraction to travel and why we love it.  Everyday life and routine don’t present the challenges that a new travel adventure can offer. It’s a chance to show your resourcefulness and in the face of tougher challenges, resilience.  

Great Wall of China Hike
Satisfaction of finishing the challenge of a 5 day hike on the Great Wall of China

3.  CURIOUS MIND

Travel satiates the desire to know more about the world we live in and there can’t be any better way to learn than through experience.  It is a curiosity for different ways of life and culture that’s a driving force as to why we choose to leave our familiar surroundings and travel somewhere foreign.

Chichicastenango, Guatemala with Encounter Travel
The colourful culture and tradition of Guatemala at Chichicastenango

4. SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

Travel affords us the time and opportunities to be social, whether connecting with new people or creating quality time with the people important to us in our lives. In our modern world where life is fast paced and too often too many of our days are hurried; those opportunities to take time out to socialise can be badly lacking. It’s these small joys of sharing social connections when you travel that play a big part of our travel memories and why we love to travel

5. RECONNECT WITH SELF

Travel and especially solo travel is incredibly grounding. It brings you back to your true self.  Do you remember as a kid laughing every day, laughing so hard you could forget what it was that got you started in the first place?  Is it too common place for the simple pleasures of daily laughter and joy to escape us the older we become and the busier our lives get?

Travel offers the space and time to reconnect with yourself. Unshackled from the daily grind and the demands of everyday life there are more chances to declutter your mind; laugh again (or laugh more), relax and be your very best.

The daily joys of travel. The feeling of spreading your wings with blissful content.

6.  APPRECIATION

 Travel is a privilege and I love that travel reminds me of my good fortune. For me, without doubt I think my travels allow me to have the gratitude for what I have, and the place I call home.  I still take regular walks around our beautiful (Sydney) harbour and without fail I think to myself ‘this is so amazing.’ I still take photos of the views.  I’ve never tired of it and I never will. I think because of my travels I know just how lucky I am. I often wonder if I hadn’t travelled if I could have this same appreciation for what I have.

Sydney Opera House
Travel is a privilege

 7. Inexplicable Wanderlust

You can’t pinpoint this one – you just know you have to go. For me, wanderlust is all of the above bundled together that drives this inexplicable urge to take off.

 

Wanderlust

I have a feeling solo travellers could be the first ones first out the door when it’s safe to go again and we can all move freely across our borders and leave our shores. I’m sure it’s not just me hoping to scrape in with creating some new travel memories in 2020 before this year passes us by.

There has to be a silver lining to this damned year of struggles and challenges and travels in our own backyard may be just what’s needed to deliver adventure, challenges, new discoveries, social connections, reconnect with oneself and appreciate how lucky we are to enjoy the privilege of travel.

About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 14 years of leading travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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