Stories: the experience of those who faced a journey that changed their lives

“What gives me the most is the social and cultural exchange, seeing how the other lives, knowing their customs, trying new things. On a spiritual level, the impact is also very great, especially in terms of inner growth. Being alone in another place allows looking at each other with perspective, sometimes it also helps me find the solution or visualize different positions regarding a problem”, reflects Marcela Crespo, the 60-year-old woman dedicated to the tourism industry who enjoys the passion that leads her to travel the world from end to end, sometimes alone, other times as a guide.

Some go in search of a space for personal connection, others see it as a good opportunity to challenge themselves, there are also those who cannot find a partner. Reasons abound when it comes to embarking on a solo journey. An upward trend known as only travelwhich adds followers and encourages travelers to launch into the unknown to live a transformative experience, and that, in some cases, marks a before and after in their lives.

A Booking.com report of 4,000 people between the ages of 18 and 60 revealed that six out of ten Argentines have ever made an international trip without company, 57% correspond to women and 66% to men.

Traveling alone implies cheering up, overcoming fears and getting out of the comfortable and familiar. Marianela Ducca, cognitive behavioral psychologist explains that these experiences allow us to challenge the limiting beliefs that people may have: “I will be able? I cant? How am I going to do it?”, says the specialist.

Macarena Cisternas, 29 years old, walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Taking the initiative and organizing a solo trip, for many, is not an easy decision. “Being alone is scary at first, you rethink everything: ‘Is what I’m doing okay?’, or ‘What if something happens to me?’ when you get through the first day, all those fears go away”says Iván de Martino, 26, who at least once a year organizes a getaway on his own with the excuse of meeting people and reconnecting with himself. A one-way path that he discovered when he was 20 when he went to California for a month and a half and was fascinated by that adventure.

Among the obstacles, those who lived through the experience, assure that one of the frequent fears is reaching an unknown destination, where another language is spoken and nobody understands you, it tends to frighten and even, sometimes, paralyze.

However, traveling alone challenges all those who want or need to improve themselves. And in this sense, Ducca comments that builds confidence and personal growth because you realize how much you can do on your own.

The truth is that everyone experiences it differently, at their own pace and guided by their own tastes and needs. In any case, if there is something that characterizes this type of experience, it is that enhances interpersonal skills encouraging people to open up to others, to get to know and insert themselves 100 percent in the local culture they are visiting. In addition, it provides freedom and independence to do what you want without depending on anyone but yourself and generates a space for self-knowledge and personal connection.

Iván de Martino, 26, says that among his tactics is staying in hostels, a key strategy for relating
Iván de Martino, 26, says that among his tactics is staying in hostels, a key strategy for relating

Sandra Licovetzky, another 60-year-old tourism agent, sees it as an ideal excuse to get out of your comfort zone and in this nature, she says that what bothers her the most is having dinner alone, for that reason, there were times that she bought a sandwich and took it to the hotel room. Until, on one of her last trips to Punta Cana, she decided to face this obstacle and sit in the dining room. “The first day was weird, I couldn’t find myself, but over time I began to meet people and I never dined alone again,” she says.

In this line, De Martino also says that among his tactics is that of stay in hostels, a key strategy to relate and that also showed him a facet that he did not know about himself: his easy to talk to others

A few months ago, Macarena Cisternas, a 29-year-old architect, traveled to Santiago de Compostela, a destination she had pending with the aim of sightseeing and introspection. As he did not find company, he took advice on his own and started the walk. In total he did 80 kilometers in three days. “I felt everything, it’s very strong, like all you have to do is walk, all the thoughts come to your head, says the young woman.

Thinking, processing, wondering, looking at yourself from another place, and the list goes on. All those consulted agree that from the first moment one opens naturally and not only to people but also to experiences, to programs, to experiences.

According to Ducca, it is a situation that leads individuals to be flexible, to nourish themselves, to enhance their curiosity and the desire to go for more, and highlights the importance of put aside prejudices and “what will they say” about not being accompanied.

In March, Camila Hess, a 23-year-old video producer, plucked up the courage to go to Europe alone. The bug for going on an adventure bit him after watching a video on TikTok of a user who showed her volunteering in different cities and towns around the world. She loved her concept and, determined to replicate the same, she told the idea to a friend who joined the plan, but later, when they were in full organization, she had to unsubscribe for personal reasons. It was at this moment that Hess thought of cancel her plans because she was terrified of leaving alone. However, her family convinced her, so she gathered her strength and left.

The first destination was Salerno in Italy where he spent two weeks working in a hostel managing social networks: he took photos, put together videos and shared them with all the followers. “I arrived scared to death and full of doubts, my hands were shaking, I didn’t know anyone or speak the language. But that night I met a group of people who ended up creating a before and after in the trip. From then on, I was never alone again,” says the young woman.

“Everything good is on the other side of fear”, Camila Hess
“Everything good is on the other side of fear”, Camila Hess

When this practice ended and happy for what he had lived, He thought that it would be good to stay to continue adding experience, so he changed course and went to the Asturias area in Spain with the same purpose: managing the content of another hostel. He is currently in Costa da Caparica, Portugal and although he does not know what his next destination will be, he would like to stay a while longer.

“Everything good is on the other side of fear”, says Hess, who as time went by was able to realize that she was capable of solving everything that came her way on her own. And among her learnings, she highlights that she shaped her personality, gave her maturity, gave her independence and even she began to be orderly with her things.

When one of these trips is completed, a level of reward and enormous happiness that have to do with the personal growth. In this line, Ducca explains that one returns feeling fulfilled, motivated and safe to face life again.

However, there are also some negative points that have to do with the absence of sharing something, an aspect of daily life that was taken for granted until then. “Commenting, debating, sharing, the facility to ask what you don’t know, to consult, that is missing and sometimes it is strange”, says Licovetzky. In this aspect, technology is a perfect ally for those who seek to feel close to their loved ones.

I recommend taking a trip alone, be it short, long, near or far at least once in your life because the experience you live transforms you. You have to cheer up, get out of the comfort zone, ”advises Ducca.

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