Tara Cappel is the founder of For the Love of Travel, a boutique travel company offering unique, curated group trips for millennial professionals, creatives, and entrepreneurs. A self-proclaimed “professional gypsy,” Tara travels the globe creating “slow travel” trips that focus on an authentic cultural experience to connect travelers with the soul of the destination and people they can relate to.
Travel is touted for its path to adventure, etc. But it is not as often recognized for its healing effect. Whether you’ve gone through a divorce, suffered a loss, or just feel like you’re in a rut, getting out of your comfort zone and traveling somewhere new can help you restore your faith in humanity and in yourself.
With solo travel, you’re able to just focus on you and what you need. Even if you join a group trip, you’re really not responsible for anyone’s experience but your own — no kids to watch out for, no partner to please, no friend to dictate plans — so you get to wholly give yourself over to whatever experiences your travels bring.
Here is why taking a solo vacation might just be the best thing you can do for your well-being.
Travel gives you something to look forward to
The healing power of travel actually begins before you even go anywhere. Studies have shown that anticipating a trip can give you as much as 8 weeks of boosted happiness leading up to it. Something exciting like an upcoming vacation is the light at the end of the tunnel that gives you hope and makes you more resilient to negativity in your daily life.
It gives you a break
Inherently, travel means leaving regular life, which can be cathartic in itself. By leaving your routine, you can start to see where it’s not serving you. Traveling solo means you’re not having to entertain anyone your entire vacation. Even if you’re part of a group trip, there’s no one you have to spend every minute with, leaving you time to think and reconnect with yourself.
It puts things in perspective
If you’re reading this article, it probably means you have a smart phone or computer (probably both) and, well, you can read. Already, you’re doing better than 80% of the world’s population. The not-so-great things in your life start to seem like less of a big of a deal when you meet an entrepreneur in South Africa whose parents, sister, and best friend all died from the HIV epidemic. Or when you visit the home of a family in Cuba who has dirt floors and lives on less than $5 a day. Or you hear the story of a woman who was sold as a sex worker when she was 13. Everything is relative and travel can make you a more grateful person.
It connects you to other humans
It’s impossible to travel and not meet new people. If you open yourself up to it, you can have meaningful interactions with people from all walks of life, all of whom have a story to tell and the potential to expand your understanding of the world. The widened perspective you gain from bonding with people different from yourself will immensely impact your wellbeing in short and long term ways.
If you let it, travel will change you for the better. It has the power to open your eyes and expand your heart. There is a great big world out there waiting to heal you in exactly the way you need. Book the trip. Release expectations. Meet new people. Cultivate your curiosity. Enjoy.