“Travel far enough, you meet yourself” When I first read this quote written by English writer David Mitchell, I remember feeling calm. In as little as six words he had perfectly captured how travel made me feel as a young woman who loved to explore the world solo. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been so lucky to visit some of the most beautiful countries on earth, yet it’s the people travelling solo that I meet on the road who make these adventures worth its weight in gold.

I’ve travelled with a heart broken Irishman in Vietnam who had recently come out of a long term relationship (yes, boys do get their heart broken) and wanted to find himself again through travel. I met a single mother on the road in Quebec who hadn’t been on a holiday in twenty years since her husband passed away and she had been saving up for this once in a lifetime solo adventure. I hiked some tough trails in Yosemite National Park with a young British girl who was nannying for an American family, and it was her first of many solo trips before she headed back home to the UK. I had dinner with a father who had lost his son in a car crash, and ten years later he decided to hike through Canada to finally make peace with the world.

It’s often the people travelling solo who have the most compelling life stories; mostly inspiring and heart breaking. And this is one of the many reasons why I love travelling solo. Plus a few more below.

I LIKE SPENDING TIME ALONE I have always been super independent and if I don’t regularly get "me" time, I start going a little cray cray. I get snappy, I pull back, I stop talking. Not ideal for my friends and loved ones. Luckily they know how important time alone is for me, so when I head off on a solo adventure (usually it’s hiking or travelling) they always let me go because they know I’ll come back feeling recharged and refreshed.

I LOVE MEETING LIKEMINDED PEOPLE As I was writing about earlier, I love the other solo travellers I meet on the road. The fact that we’re each travelling on our own makes us likeminded and therefore breaks down some of the initial barriers people may have when they first meet each other. It’s incredible to meet someone on the road who is having a similar experience, and to hear where they’ve come from and where they’re headed. You only have to watch Into The Wild to appreciate what I mean.

I THRIVE ON MY OWN When I travel solo, I find I am more confident and I believe in myself more. I don’t second guess my thoughts or decisions. I am regularly in unfamiliar situations and because of this, I have to work through it without having to rely on someone else.

I LOVE PLANNING I love to research and plan all my travels, so being able to do so on my own is exciting because it means I don’t have to seek the advice or permission from another person. I can 100% focus on me and what I want from travelling – no one else.

I LOVE GETTING UP EARLY When I travel solo I can rock to my own time clock and get up as early as I like, switch the lights on, make as much noise as I want and head out for an early adventure without having to wait for anyone.

I CATCH UP ON THE THINGS IMPORTANT TO ME When I travel solo, it leaves more time for me to catch up on the things which are important to me – such as reading. I love, love, love to read and this year so far I have read six books. Having more time to myself means I have more time to read, such a treat! Even now at home, I find I am heading to bed a little earlier so I have the luxury of time to read on my own.

I DON’T WASTE MY TIME When I travel solo, I am only doing the things I want to do, so in turn it means I don’t waste my own time. Hurrah!

I NEVER COME BACK THE SAME PERSON Travelling solo means I come home a much better person. I have a renewed spirit, I feel energised, my perspective changes and I become more self-aware with every solo trip I take.

I LIVE IN THE MOMENT When I travel solo I am usually in a set place for a limited amount of time, so I have learned how to be more mindful and to live in the moment.