The biggest life lesson that one could take away from the cartoon series The RoadRunner Show was that, there is an obstacle waiting to prevent your progress at every crossroad. But the race needs to continue. Solo Travel is a great vehicle when it comes to learning life lessons through first hand experiences, be it a take away as far as the matter of the heart is concerned, or straightening one's priorities.

On one hand, Horizon denotes the line at which the earth and the sky ‘appear’ to meet, and on the other, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “A person’s horizons are the limit of that person’s ideas, knowledge, and experience.” No wonder a lot of us, especially those who are into solo traveling, aspire to go beyond the horizon to attain a comprehensive taste of the world. However, ironically enough we focus on the same horizon (skyline) when motion sickness assails us. The horizon is steady; it gives us a sense of being in place when everything else seems dizzy.

Even while we are constantly on the move due to travelling, we long for some amount of stability. To answer this natural yearning, we must develop an emotional horizon. It can be attained through forming relationships, or by being assured of the fact that there is a family to return to.

“Staying in touch is the key, of course. My communication with family and friends actually INCREASED after I started travelling full-time... Over the years, I have treasured my visits home because my family is a barometer of who I am and in some cases, how travel has changed me.”

These are the words of Nora Dunn, an avid traveller and writer who elaborates the concept of the figurative horizon on her website based on true experience.

Solo Travel and Relationships: Attachment vs. Freedom

Solo travelers sometimes tend to go “off the grid”, in the words of Christopher, and may inadvertently lose contact with the family. Christopher, therefore, suggests mailing your loved ones from time to time. That way, he considers social media to be a ‘worry dissolving device of communication.’ Megan, another avid traveler has a very pragmatic take on traveling and the retention of friendship. She believes that,

“The friendship is never the same. You change in each other’s absence. You miss milestones and momentous occasions. You move down separate paths and you move on...When you commit to save for travel you may find you’re not able to eat out with your friends anymore, or spend money on social outings.”

Does that mean a solo traveler walks a very lonely path? Not at all! Nora is of the opinion that it is important to have a home base, not just in a place where one can be in close proximity to the people he/she knows for a long time, but also in places away from the motherland where familiarity grows out of a long-term connection. Nora is not into favoritism, but her ‘fix’ with the Andes and the Latin Americas (Peruvian and the Ecuadorian Andes) is a matter of the match between context and discovery, due to which she has formed a home base in these areas. This is also one of the advantages of being a solo traveler. One has complete freedom of choice. According to Christopher.

“As a solo traveller you can spend an hour at a place that captures your heart on a personal level when you only thought you might spend 15 minutes, and you can leave early from a site that doesn’t speak to you.”

According to Queenie from mstravelsolo,

“When you are travelling on your own, you are on your own schedule; you do not have to negotiate where to go or what to eat... And it is really difficult to find the right time and right place for everyone.”

Spiritual Freedom vs. Materialistic Freedom

Very few can travel extensively and afford a luxurious life at the same time. Therefore, the majority cuts back on superfluous expenses. Megan, for example, suggests giving up on alcohol (if you are in the habit that is), eating out and the purchase of luxury goods, in order to acquire the reward of traveling. What makes these people stand out most, however, is their absolute nonchalance to material wealth. Christopher once was robbed of his phone in India. So what was his reaction?

“Honestly, I took it as a kind reminder that my phone was just a thing, and as long as I had my health, I could consider myself fortunate.”

One who has a glimpse of the bigger picture, hardly cares about little losses.

Can we truly Travel freely?

Travelers are solely driven by the desire to travel freely. That is why Megan wants immigration procedures to be simpler. According to her applying for visas should not be such a hassle. Queenie sees great adversities in international laws that allow travelers only a limited number of days in a country, and are therefore not favorable towards digital nomads. There’s one good news though. The Estonian ministry has proposed to launch a special visa for digital nomads. This will allow them to stay in the country for a year and in addition, they can get the benefits of a Schengen visa that can be used to visit the member countries with a stay limit of 90 days!

The Ultimate Winner

The desire to travel freely is shared by many people irrespective of class, race, and nationalities, despite the fact that Immigration laws are stringent on travelers belonging to third world nations. The enjoyment of visa-free or visa on arrival facility in most of the countries of the world is not open to everybody. Janus, who currently lives in Hong Kong and has previously lived in mainland China, is a traveler with a weak passport. He is a South African. He says

“I’ve become very comfortable with the idea of applying for visas. Just had to apply for another passport as my current one is officially full. But it’s not all bad.”

Sometimes one might even stumble upon unanticipated discoveries when one has a no better option than choosing a destination that offers free or on arrival visas over a place where getting a visa would be time-consuming. Janus ended up visiting Russia for a few days last year which was never on his travel wish list. He was on his way to Turkey and it was just announced that South Africans don’t need a visa to go to Russia anymore. So he took a chance and fell head over heels in love with Moscow.

New Discoveries Widen General Knowledge

If travelling is the means, Discovery is the end. It is impossible to see the entire extent of the earth within a single life. But with every new finding documented by a traveller we have one less unmapped territory to demystify. Google works as a documentation manual today. The search engine is like a whirlpool, becoming enriched with every new data fed into it. We were lucky to interview a photographer and a traveller, whose contribution to the existing pool of knowledge is indispensable. David

“was in a small village of Bulgaria called Melnik, which is popular for its unusual geographical formations, a couple of years ago. (He) saw on the map that there was a monastery nearby and had found one person who said that it was possible to hike there, but not how. So when (he) was there (he) figured out the route and how tricky it was and then wrote a post about the experience. Now when one searches for information on the monastery or the hike, (his) post has the answer.”

Travel bloggers are the best guides to talk about new adventures and inspiration if you are looking for one.

Megan Clair JerrardTraveler

Megan is an Australian journalist who has been traveling since 2007. Having visited 50+ countries ac...


Janus is a 28 year old South African guy from the capital city of Pretoria who is currently living i...


David is addicted to travelling because that is where he spends all his resources and time. Though h...

Nora DunnTraveler

Nora retired from a successful career in Canada, and decided to fulfil her dream of travelling the w...


Travelling had always been a huge part of her identity, but Queenie started travelling solo a little...

Christopher MitchellTraveler

Christopher Mitchell is a Canadian travel blogger, freelance writer, podcaster, photographer, and a...

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