“Travelling is the great true love of my life,” Elizabeth Gilbert, renowned author and traveller, wrote in her memoir, Eat Pray Love. If you haven’t read the book, or even watched the film adaptation starring the beautiful Julia Roberts, here’s a summary: Elizabeth, a successful woman in her 30s, found herself terribly heartbroken after initiating a divorce with her husband and breaking up with her rebound. She then decided to find herself, away from the confusing influences of romantic relationships. She spent a year travelling — first to Italy, then to India, and finally, to Bali.
In this journey, Elizabeth did not only find peace with herself. She influenced several other brokenhearted fellows to do the same. Seriously, look it up. The book has practically given birth to a cult of women looking for self-discovery.
But enough about the book. I’m here to talk about why we probably should try to follow Elizabeth’s tracks this Valentine’s Day. Why? Because no other holiday shoves love on our faces like the (in)famous 14th of February. And maybe, just maybe, this is why we should grab the chance to let the season of love remind us to love ourselves more — through solo travelling, of course.
1. You can put yourself first
Selfless love is a wonderful thing, and you should never use self-love as an excuse to become apathetic towards others. But once in a while, you also have to take a breather and recharge.
One of the best ways to do this is through travelling solo. On the road, no one else will look out for you but yourself. And, you don’t have to look out for anyone either.
2. You can do whatever you want
With no travel buddy to consider, you can do whatever pleases you (as long as it’s legal!) You have no time table to follow but yours. Your interests are the top priority, and you have limitless chances to spoil yourself.
3. And you will do more things you don’t want
Because you can’t rely on anyone, you’ll be forced to do things outside your comfort zone. Sometimes, we may even surprise ourselves with our newfound abilities.
4. You will learn to trust yourself more
Learning about new things will push you to believe in yourself, mainly because you won’t have any other choice. Once you discover how independent you are, you’ll find it easier to let go of worries. You’ll have a little more faith in yourself.
5. And you will grow
As you push yourself constantly, you’ll bloom like no other. You’ll have more responsibilities, and you’ll have more space to explore your interests. You’ll become your own person. An upgraded one, even.
6. You will feel more confident with yourself
Solo travel is life-changing, because you come out like a completely improved version of yourself. It’s so natural that you become more independent after realising how responsible you can be when there’s no one else to depend on.
7. And see life with a new perspective
When you travel solo, you won’t have any influences that remind you of home. So, you’ll get to interact with people coming from different backgrounds. With little to no prohibitions, you’ll get to take in diverse cultures.
8. You won’t have to worry about pleasing anyone
Going on a romantic trip with someone can pressure you to look your best, whereas travelling solo won’t even prompt you to look in the mirror! Reconnect with the rawest version of yourself. Feel like a child. Let yourself go.
9. You will fall in love with places
When you’re alone, you realise how much love you can give out — not only towards people, but also towards places. And believe me, it feels so good to fall deeply in love with places.
10. And with nature
Along with falling in love with places, you’ll experience how to fall in love with nature. I’m not just talking about admiration. I’m talking about true love — carrying the urge to protect at all costs. You’ll maybe even want to be one with Mother Earth and take baby steps towards preserving its beauty.
11. You’ll feel free
You’re independent and don’t need to answer to anybody. You make your own plans (or you can opt to not make any plans at all!) You’re free to say yes and no to the big exciting adventure ahead of you. And of course, you’re free to be who you truly are without any inhibitions.
12. You will meet new people
You won’t have a buddy to run to when you get lonely, but that means you have more opportunities to meet new people. And, not just any kind of people. Travellers! You might even find yourself creating meaningful relationships with your new friends.
13. You can enjoy yourself
You are your worst enemy, but also your best friend. And when the latter is the case, you might realise how much you enjoy you. No matter your flaws and imperfections, you can relish in the fact that you’re unique and no one can ever replicate you.
14. You will fall in love with yourself
Most importantly, you’ll fall in love with yourself. And maybe, this is the best gift you can give yourself this Valentine’s Day. Because how else will you love if you can’t love yourself?
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spoil yourself with all the love you want. Besides, no one can truly love like you do. This being said, let me close with another quote from Eat Pray Love:
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”