It’s a funny thing about how us humans are wired, for some reason we always feel that we need to be paired up like a couple of ducks and that we can’t do something if we are alone.

Some of us are wired differently and I might be one of those odd people that actually prefer my own company more often than not.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my friends but I would say that I am confident to do most things on my own. It’s probably why as a child I always hated team sports and as an adult preferred singles tennis and golf! When it comes to my social life I much prefer turning up to an event or a nightclub on my own and meeting my friends there and after traveling as a professional tennis umpire for many years I didn’t mind going out along and making new friends, many find going out alone to be terrifying. Not me, I can always make new friends!

When it comes to travelling I would say I still feel this way, I enjoy being able to choose my destination and run my own schedule.

At the age of eighteen I took off on my first trip overseas to officiate at the Pan Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea and I realized how fun travelling is when you are travelling “stag”.

Travelling solo can be exhilarating, lonely, enlightening, an adventure, and tough all at the same time. Nonetheless, it will teach you so much about yourself. Such as:

1. How to be self-sufficient

When you’re travelling with a group or a partner, it’s easy to sit back and let someone else take charge. Bad at math? Someone else can figure out the exchange rate. Lacking in language skills? Your friend will find out where “les toilettes” are.

When it’s just you, you don’t have anyone else to rely on, so you’re forced to figure out directions, get yourself to the airport on time, and calculate how much to pay. Doing all of this on your own will give you new skills and a sense of independence that will carry over to your everyday life.

2. What you really want to do

Travelling with other people means compromise — which isn’t always a bad thing. Having to take into consideration someone else’s interests and needs can open you up to discovering places you never would have gone on your own.

But when it’s just you, you can take time and decide exactly what it is you want to do, and at what pace you want to do it. Maybe you want to find an obscure museum that only people with very specific hobbies would find interesting.

Or maybe you want to toss out your schedule for the day and just sit at a cafe watching the world go by. When it’s just you, you don’t have to think about pleasing anyone besides yourself.

3. Who you are when no one’s watching

When you’re alone in a new place, no one knows who you are, so you can be anyone you want. Maybe you’re shy when you travel with your more outgoing friend. Or you’re less adventurous when you’re vacationing with a reserved companion. Being by yourself in a new place means that no one has any preconceived notions about you, so you can take on any personality you want.

4. How to be comfortable in your own company

Being happy spending time with just yourself is a very valuable skill. When you’re vacationing solo, you’ll have lots of one-on-one time with yourself. Learning how to be okay dining as a party of one, visiting museums alone, and so on will make you a much more confident and interesting person in the long run.

5. How to make friends

When you’re by yourself, you’re much more open to meeting new people. Whether it’s a brief chat with the local next to you at the coffee shop, or inviting some new friends from your hostel to go out with you at night, going independently can make you much more receptive to new people and situations.