The Beauty of Travelling Solo

E! News Asia host Elizabeth Rahajeng makes the case for travelling solo once in a while — and loving it

By Elizabeth Rahajeng 08 Feb, 2019 1:13 AMTags
Golden Gate Bridge, Travelling SoloCourtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng

I used to think people were strange to want to go on a trip or vacation completely alone. No family, no friends, no colleagues. Now why would anyone ever want to do that?, I'd often ask myself. I swore I would never do it…until I actually did.

I first travelled solo in 2016, after an E! job took me to New York City. My plan was that after my work was finished, I would extend and take three weeks off for vacation while I was there. New York, Newmarket (New Hampshire), and San Francisco — three cities, three weeks.

Those three weeks transformed me from an anti solo traveller, to a person who now recommends the solo travelling experience to EVERYONE.

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I discovered so many advantages and perks of traveling alone. I quickly learned that because I was companionless, I had to rely on myself for absolutely everything. Planning the itinerary, controlling the finances, organising logistics like accommodation and transportation, etc. I had to learn how to navigate the NYC subway system by myself (yes, I took a couple wrong stops here and there but eventually got it in the end). Essentially, you're in a foreign land trying to survive on your own. Once you successfully do this, it creates a real sense of independence and builds huge self-confidence.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng
Courtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng

Another incredible thing I learned was how more present you become. When travelling solo, you have a chance to truly immerse yourself in the moment. The sights, the noises, the smells, everything. I find that my senses are ten times more heightened when I roam streets unaccompanied. I learned to love the many table for one's and solo walks in Central Park. And for me, with no distraction of constantly "creating content" (the only photos of myself in New York are ones I asked strangers to take, which only happened a handful of times), it only further pushed me to create mental pictures, instead of Instagram ones.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng
Courtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng

Lastly, I love how traveling solo allows you to know yourself better. They say the best way to do some soul searching is to buy a ticket and make zero plans. This, I know, is very true. Travelling on your own is an opportunity to learn, to absorb, to feel, to change, to live, to grow. As I sat on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, I promised myself I would take on more solo adventures. Scary in the beginning? Yes. But more gratifying than I could have ever imagined.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Rahajeng