Solo travel isn't always life-changing
I'm wary of how posts come across when I'm writing the Reset blog. I want them to be informative and resourceful for travellers wanting transformative experiences, however I don't want to act as though I know all the answers. It's a learning process for me as well. The blog is me sharing everything I'm learning and being honest while doing it.
When I was starting out with my research into transformative travel/ using travel as therapy, I had this pre-conceived notion that a solo-trip - any solo trip - would automatically equate to a life-changing experience. I believed that any problem could be solved by some time away with your thoughts and a carefully selected reading list. Naive when I think of it now, but to me solo-travel was huge. How could doing something so independently not affect your personality in some way?
I did what any aspiring entrepreneur should do. I tested my own product. I booked myself eight days away in India, packed a writing journal, one self-help book and one Joan Didion collection for good measure.
I had the best time. I met amazing and inspiring people. I STOOD UP ON A SURF BOARD (even if it was just for 1.75 seconds) and can genuinely say it was one of the happiest feelings I can remember having. I survived without any major mishaps which felt like an achievement itself. But I wouldn't call the trip life-changing.
I kept waiting for that pivotal moment - that shift in perspective or feeling of fulfilment. It never came. When I think about it now, the whole notion seems stupid. What did I really expect to happen within a week in a hotel?
Initially this cast a shadow of doubt over my idea of Reset. Was it ironic that I went away hoping to gain clarity and certainty on the idea but instead returned with severe doubts? (Genuine question, I don't get irony.) My product hadn't worked on me - had it actually made me worse?!
Instead of having hysterical thoughts, I'm using the experience as something I can learn from and apply to my trips. I know that travel can be life-changing. I've felt the benefits myself and seen it in other people. But what are the factors that actually contribute toward creating that pivotal moment - that shift in our usual perspective?
From my trip I've learnt that it's not necessarily being alone. I still believe that going solo, escaping the influences of those around you and having only yourself to depend on, will cause a greater personal transformation. But there's definitely some other elements to factor in. The length of time away for instance - it will take more than a week to create lasting or permanent changes. The use of our phones - if your mind is still back at home then how can you expect any changes?
The element that I think is the most important is getting out of your comfort zone. Solo travel is so often depicted as life-changing because the act itself is out of your comfort zone. Everyone's threshold is different. I was fairly comfortable in India because I was in a beachy touristy town, had travelled to Asia before and felt at ease talking with strangers. For someone else, this could have been a completely different experience that did change them. Which reminds me of the most important factor that Reset is all about - making travel personal and really getting to know the person before planning a trip of a lifetime for them.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comment below!