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You might think that women who love solo travel, dare I say, prefer alone travel to the company of others, may dislike people. You might even have heard they solo travel to be ‘left alone’ or to ‘get away’ from everyone and everything. And if you’re not someone who feels that way, it can come across as a bit anti-social. The logical conclusion is that the solo traveler doesn’t enjoy people, socializing and even relationships. 

Of course that’s not true at all.

So how to dissect this contradiction? 

It helps to remember that all relationships branch out from your primary relationship with you. Therefore, spending time building a happy and healthy relationship with YOU naturally results in happy healthy relationships with others. 

But it does seem a bit backward, right? You might wonder, “How can being alone help me relate to people better? Shouldn’t relationship improvement revolve around interacting and communicating with others?”

It’s counterintuitive but it works. How do I know? I’ve tested the theory hundreds of times.

In this post, I give you nine ways solo travel actually improves your relationships, and helps you enjoy your time with loved ones even more. Finally, if you’re a regular reader of my blog (if so thank you!) then you know my lists never countdown to a #1 best. Everyone is different and varied, so I leave it to you to decide which is best. Besides, deciding what YOU like is the best part of self-healing! So here we go:

Here are 9 ways solo travel improves all your relationships:

1. Increased Appreciation

Spending time alone can heighten your appreciation for loved ones back home. The distance and time apart help you  understand what you value most about them and areas where they can improve.

This sounds so nice and warm and smiley, right? But there’s a dark side to it. Sounds a bit scandalous but not really.

I have a sign in my house that says, “It’s a beautiful day to leave me alone.” I bought it for myself. I love that sign. Why? Because I cherish being with me. But moreso, and if I’m being really honest, it’s the voice of a part of me that spent a lifetime giving too much. Too much of my time, energy, and resources which left me depleted.  And of course resentful. That’s called codependency, and solo travel is just one tool I use to recover from it. 

I love that sign because it heals the buried angry parts of me that got lost over- caretaking others’ wants and needs. Sometimes I over-invested in their goals and dreams instead of my own. I have even felt their feelings for them. 

These are all typical trauma responses and can go undetected for years, because they’re pro-social behaviors. They’re also dysfunctional when they replace healthy ways of asking for wants and needs to be met. 

Spending time alone solo traveling mends those fragmented parts that still can show up in relationships. The distance and time apart help keep the focus on yourself and your wants and needs and see if you have slipped in codependent caretaking. Taking responsibility helps removed any enmeshed and allow you to see your relationships in the light of love and appreciation. 

2. Enhanced Communication

Traveling solo requires you to communicate with new people in various situations, which sharpens your communication skills. These improved skills can make you a better communicator and better listener in your personal relationships.

When you’re on the road alone, you’re your sole advocate. There are a few implications to this. One is, you learn to speak more assertively. For example, once I was attending a parade in Portugal and standing alongside other watchers. Then I took a picture of a little girl in sunglasses playing an accordion in the band. A police officer came and told me I couldn’t stand there. Even though I had been there the whole time and others were there too. It was obvious he disapproved of me taking the picture, and I said that. To reinforce my point, I looked to the left and to the right to demonstrate I was indeed complying with all other parade viewers. 

I wasn’t breaking any law, I was the recipient of selective reinforcement of arbitrary rules. And I expressed that. In other words, I stuck up for myself. 

photo of parade in Portugal, exemplifies the story in text regarding being assertive

Being far from home in a new environment is empowering. You take that empowerment back to your relationships with co-workers and bosses. Communicating your boundaries improves your relationships, because respect is the cornerstone of healthy interaction.

As for being a better listener while solo traveling? Well, you better listen carefully when traveling alone, because there’s no one else to ask later, “What did she say?” Bring that same discipline back to your friends and family and watch how miscommunications decrease.

3. Greater Independence

When you travel alone, you make all the decisions. This independence can boost your confidence and self-reliance, making you a stronger, more self-assured partner or friend.

Codependency means putting other people’s wants and needs before your own, to such an extent your own life is affected negatively. Traveling solo requires all of your wants and needs to be in the forefront. This is a powerful way to give and receive love to yourself and your inner child. And the more you love you, the more love is available to give to others.

photograph of author overcoming codependency through solo travel
The more you love you, the more of you you have to give to others.

This is because if your needs and wants aren’t met, you will seek to have them met by others. Relationships quickly become transactional, and inevitably strained. Meeting your wants and needs alleviates that.

4. Empowerment Through Conquering Fears:

Solo travel pushes trauma survivors out of their comfort zones, challenging their fears in empowering ways. Overcoming these fears boosts resilience. 

This newfound empowerment can transform relationships, as your friends and family watch you grow and evolve. This inspires them to believe in their own potential for growth. 

It also indirectly builds trust in your relationships, because the more you overcome challenges, the more you trust yourself. Then you can show up in your relationships as your more authentic, trustworthy self. 

Since trust is automatically mutually inclusive (meaning, if you don’t trust yourself, you don’t yet know how to trust others) then the more you build self-trust, the more trust exists in your relationships. This is a win for everyone.

Quick story: 

I lost my driver’s license at Philadelphia International Airport an hour before my departure. Despite the fact that I felt overwhelmed with self-doubt, I forced myself to believe in a positive outcome and recited a mantra to stay calm. I retraced my steps, asked TSA, revisited restroom stalls, you name it. Finally, I let go of all hope and resigned to checking at the courtesy desk if anyone turned in a lost license. Sure enough, the staff member verified my name and handed me my license.

airport anxiety overcome. visual representation of facing fears and feeling empowered: this is another Way Solo Traveling Heals Your Relationships  
Lesson on self-trust in an unexpected place.

But wait, didn’t I get the intended outcome after I gave up hope? How’s that work?!

Once I accepted my searching yielded nothing, I released my fear of the worst. And in doing that, my problem vanished. Because it wasn’t just about the license. It was about facing the challenge directly and trusting myself that everything was going to be alright.

And it was.

5. Art as a Mirror of Self-Discovery:

Solo travel often leads to encounters with art that resonate on a deeply personal level, whether it’s through street art, traditional gallery exhibits, or cultural performances. These experiences can act as mirrors, reflecting deep truths about oneself that might not surface in everyday life. 

Sometimes the art may be a piece you see while traveling. Other times, it can be your own such as photography on a trip. Your creativity can surprise you, and you may find your self-perceptions may shift.

Sharing these insights and the emotions they trigger with your loved ones can deepen your relationships. Being vulnerable through opening yourself up to your hidden creative passions  can create a more authentic connection. This leads to deeper intimacy.

6. Personal Growth

Solo travel often leads to significant personal growth, as you face and overcome challenges independently. This growth can lead you to more interesting and engaging relationships. As you grow, you attract new, expanding energy.

The crazy thing is, solo travel is something you do for your internal life, such as your emotions and mental health. However, it ends up being something that positively impacts your external life, such as people’s respect and admiration for you. People begin to see you differently, and they express it. This feels really nice. 

Sometimes I just take it for granted that I do things like travel across the country to the desert in a camper van. I don’t think about it anymore, I just map it out and go. Then when I least expect it, I’ll get bombarded with comments from strangers, friends, online acquaintances saying how brave, awesome, etc it is that I do these things. I don’t travel solo for attention or approval. But then…there it is!

When you solo travel, you’re making your dreams come true. When people see that, they become inspired and this is uplifting to your self-esteem and empowerment. You become a hero of your own story, and people cheer you on.

Festive turn of the century England at Tower of London. Band plalying is metaphor for joy and celebration felt when solo travelers follow their dreams
When you make your dreams come true, it’s like you’re in the flow of the divine orchestra and the whole world is playing your tune

How does this affect relationships? Well what ends up happening is you’re putting out higher vibe energy, which eventually reflects back to you. It’s a positive reciprocal loop that results in more fulfilling and healthier, happier energy that spills into your relationships. 

7. Renewed Energy

The joys and excitement of solo travel can rejuvenate your spirit, which you can bring back into your daily interactions, infusing your relationships with new energy.

I’m an empath.  While this is a blessing, it can also be a curse. 

Empaths are individuals highly sensitive to others’ emotions, and absorb feelings easily. This sensitivity can drain energy, especially in negative environments.

While I am sensitive to the suffering of others and can show up more compassionately, it also means I absorb negative energy at higher levels than the average person. I can easily become overstimulated and burned out by being around people. 

Solo traveler stands before the Grand Teton mountain range, silhouetted against a dramatic lake, symbolizing the self-discovery and independence gained through solo travel.

Solo travel provides empaths with a chance to recharge away from day to day emotional demands. Even if you’re not an empath, you still must walk amongst emotional vampires. By exploring new places alone, you can restore emotional balance. Then, return to your relationships ready to engage more fully. This solitude takes on a sacredness, and makes solo travel a vital practice for maintaining emotional balance and well-being.

8. Modeling Through Experiences

Upon returning, you’ll have new adventures and experiences to share, which can strengthen bonds as you reconnect with friends and family through modeling.

I’m a mother of three adults. Despite their age, they still watch my life and use it as a model for theirs. This could be good or bad. 

Solo traveler stands on a hillside, silhouetted against red rocks, overlooking a sprawling canyon, symbolizing the self-discovery and independence gained through solo travel.
Solo travel helps my family break the cycle of generational trauma

As a trauma survivor in recovery, I accept that without intervention, I would have repeated the devastating circumstances of my parents’ lives. Addiction, abandonment, abuse, neglect, suicide attempts, homelessness, etc. There’s no blame or shame, it’s simply a fact that generational trauma is a valid thing. However, instead, I get to demonstrate an entirely different life model for my children…freedom, exploration, courage, financial stability, self-love, dream-manifestation, etc. This is a gift I pour into my relationship with my children, to show them the path.

9. Learning Conflict Resolution

Travel involves navigating unexpected situations, where you often have to solve problems and make decisions under pressure. These skills are invaluable in managing conflicts in personal relationships.

Once on a campervan road trip in Nevada, a husband and wife stopped to chat with me. The woman said, “If I went on a trip by myself, he’d probably worry his head off about me. Then I wouldn’t have a good time because I’d be thinking about him. Then we’d get in a fight.”

I replied, “If you went on a trip by yourself, your marriage would probably be renewed.”

She thought about it, laughed, and agreed.

Interior of a campervan featuring a cozy bed and window views of nature, representing the freedom and renewal experienced through solo travel in a campervan."
Peace and joy from the inside of my campervan

We talked for a few more minutes, sharing how traveling solo and traveling with a partner are in fact really different. But going below the surface, there’s a lot more going on.

Relationship dynamics, especially ones like in a marriage, are complicated. Years of assumptions pile up and reactions to expectations of each other are as automatic as breathing. Solo traveling is like a honeymoon you take separately. It renews and redefines you as an individual, which carries into your most intimate and important relationships.

So Are You Ready To Try It For Yourself?

Solo travel is the best gift I keep on giving to myself. Picking destinations that make my heart sing, planning all the trip details, going to the airport….all of it (expect packing) enrich my life and bring me unspeakable joy. Ask my friends and family, they’ll confirm 100% that solo travel has made our relationship better.

Here are more resources for you to begin your journey. Happy healthy and safe travels:

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