As humans, we’re innately social, which has many benefits; we get to enjoy dinners out, new experiences and going to the movies with our friends and family. However, our modern lives often have a way of making socializing difficult, especially when we reach our 30s and 40s. In fact, 44% of Americans said that their plans are often cancelled because friends are simply ‘too busy’, and as a result, one in five haven’t seen their best friend in the last year – with just over half meeting up fewer than five times. In being so sociable, we forget about the importance of doing things on our own. And in some cases, we forget how to be on our own at all altogether.
In fact, when plans are cancelled, more than a quarter of people chose to do work or chores rather than go on their own. So, when it comes to going solo, what are we so afraid of?
Well, 57% of the populations said they lacked the confidence to do things alone because they felt ‘judged’, and a quarter worry about what other people think of them.
However, Dr Sheri Jacobson, Founder of Harley Therapy, argues that “any such judgements are usually fleeting, and anxieties about what others think about our being alone can often be overinflated in our heads,”
It’s clear there is a disconnect between our thought process and reality. What’s more, Dr Sheri Jacobson also states that doing more on our own has a number of huge benefits to us as individuals: from being more engaged to not having to compromise.
This is true. I hear from so many solo travelers on our Flash Pack trips that time traveling on their own allows them to tune into themselves in a unique way that’s near impossible otherwise. A rare moment of selfishness when you don’t need to worry what others might be thinking, and you can completely dedicate yourself to something.
What’s more, the benefits it offers can be the key to discovering (or re-discover) your passion:
You can actually enjoy being in the moment:
Whether it’s watching the world go by from your favourite restaurant, or making the effort join an evening class and focus your energy on learning a new skill. Doing things on your own has a brilliant way of forcing you to be in the moment, which helps you appreciate it all the more – you can even try switching your phone on silent to ensure there are no distractions.
No more compromise: Everyone is different.
That’s the great thing about being human. But when you do something, it’s all about you. You don’t need to think about whether your friend is enjoying the experience, or if they’ll appreciate it in the way you want them to. You choose what you do, and when and how to do it. When going solo, every experience is exactly what you make of it.
You have the freedom to fail:
When you’re trying something for the first time, many people worry they won’t be good at it. And let’s face it, very few people pick up a new skill the first time, and a large part of the enjoyment comes from seeing improvements in yourself. However, if you are holding back through fear of failing, try going on your own. You’ve got no one to impress, and you might even find that you learn more from your failures.
The chance to focus on you:
Everyone has things they’ve wanted to do or try for years, but just never had the ‘time’ to make a go of it. By choosing to do something on your own, you’re already committing to using that time just for you, so you might as well use it to finally do that thing you always wanted to. Who knows where it might take you.
If you’re still unsure about going solo, that’s understandable. Of those that did do things by themself in the last year, 39% said they found it awkward… at first.
There’s no easy way around the initial nerves. My advice, dive in headfirst and find out. The chances are that, like 83% of people, you’ll enjoy the experience and reap the benefits. And it could lead you to find or unlock a new passion you never knew about.
About Lee Thompson, Co-founder of Flash Pack
As a photojournalist with 14-years experience, Lee Thompson’s career took him across the globe. Fueled by a passion for adventure, he had the unique opportunity to discover hidden parts of the world that tourists usually don’t get to see. When he met Radha Vyas on a first date in 2012, they instantly connected over a shared love of travel, and a frustration for the lack of appealing options for people their age – which sparked an idea. In 2014, the pair (now married) launched Flash Pack which connects like-minded professionals in their 30s and 40s, and sends them on epic adventures around the world together.
Thompson has visited over 100 countries and these experience have enabled him to grow the Flash Pack brand amongst an audience of like-minded travellers, and deliver truly unique adventures. Now with a global community of solo travellers, Thompson has seen his business flourish from a back-bedroom startup in 2014 to a thriving global brand.