Do you have what it takes to experience the world?

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People ask me how I do it. How do I just get up and go somewhere not knowing anyone or what to expect? Aren’t you scared? Isn’t it lonely?

Yes and yes.

Of course I am scared and I can get very lonely at times. In fact if you travel alone you better get used to rejection because it will happen quite often. You will be rejected by that cute girl you see passing by you on an exotic street and you may have a very difficult time just trying to make a friend or someone you can share your experience with.

Some days everything just seems to go wrong.

Things just don’t seem to be working. It isn’t as easy as it was in the previous city. Yesterday I was on top of the mountain and now I am in the slums wondering what the hell I am doing.

At these points I have a crucial choice to make. Sulk in misery or continue to be “loud.” Not in the sense of noise but by putting yourself out there, opening up, and making yourself vulnerable.

Time to go…

  • To a music festival not knowing anyone; hoping to make friends.
  • Share a beer with some guys at that table
  • Dance like a mad man on the dance floor even though no one is dancing
  • Move in and kiss the girl you are dancing beside even though not one word has been spoken
  • Help the elderly lady take her groceries back home

The opportunities for the craziest adventures, stories, and life experiences are out there. You just have to take the chance and be “loud.”

When you are loud you become a magnet.

People want to hang out with you, people want to share experiences with you. People gravitate toward you and life starts to happen.

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You get invited to go to a music festival in Poland. Then get offered a job at a pub crawl and hostel. There you meet an amazing girl who you share some incredible experiences with during your stay in the city.

Hostel staff & I

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You meet a random Australian guy in Amsterdam while sharing beers and jamming out on the guitar together. You continue to keep in touch and travel to Costa Rica for a couple weeks, do a trip out to LA, and develop an amazing friendship that will continue to grow.

Party in Amsterdam Hostel 

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You get offered to go to someone’s birthday party while on a bus ride in China. They don’t speak any English but you communicate via google translate. You go to tea, dinner, karaoke. You drink a ton of beers with them, dance, and then they put you in a hotel. Everything paid for!

Video of me singing happy birthday in Leshan, China 

The buses going to Mount Fuji are closed for the day but you really want to hike it. So you start talking to people at the hostel to try and split a cab. Before you know it you have convinced one person who convinces another who convinces more and you have 14 people going. The 14 of you are all from different parts of the world and you hike up overnight to see the sunrise on the top of the mountain.

Picture right before the evening hike 

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You meet a cute Swedish girl at a hostel in LA, tell her she should visit you so you can show her your hometown. She comes and you develop an amazing lifelong friendship. You later visit her when traveling through Sweden, experience a true midsummer celebration and do a road trip to Norway where you see base jumpers and attempt highlining 3200 feet in the air!

Christian Krr Highlining 3200 feet in the air! 

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You hear the day before the music festival starts that you can volunteer and go for free. The next day you are there working a 16 hour shift with foreigners. You see the Rolling Stones perform live.

Picture of Rroskilde Music Festival in Denmark

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Shitty things happen…

Ok so yes those were some of the amazing experiences and moments. What about the shitty ones, you may ask? Well the truth is I don’t remember the shitty ones as being shitty anymore. In fact looking back at them they were the best experiences of my life. Not only are most of them hilarious but they built me into who I am today. They shaped my character and worldview for the better.

No pictures for these. lol

  • Yes, that food poisoning I got in Albania when I was 2 hours into my 18 hours bus ride sucked! No one spoke a lick of English and at every stop I had to run out puke and hit up the toilet. The entire ride I had a fever and was shivering. Not one person could communicate with me in a language I could understand, I didn’t know anyone, and I was somewhere I had never been. It was miserable.
  • Those times I went out and for some reason just couldn’t fit in sucked! I jump from group to group trying to have fun, drinking more beers than was good for me. My attempt to woo the girl with my dance moves was complete failure due to my inebriated state. I just looked like a complete fool with no friend to help me out and tell me to stop.
  • Sometimes you go for several weeks with nothing but shallow friendships and relationships. You have fun at the dance clubs, on the hikes, and touring the city but your friends come and go day after day. Over time you long for a companion whose friendship can go more than just skin deep. You begin to miss home, think about past lovers because for some reason they bring comfort even though you truly do not miss them in that way anymore, you become needy, feel helpless, unsure, and sad.

The learning begins…

With those hard times you learn about the faults, vulnerabilities, and bad habits that make you human.

Your character molds and grows, your integrity becomes stronger, your worldview broader, your needs for others less, your love for others more genuine, and life’s uncertainties subside.

You love yourself more.

You become more confident and begin to trust faith.

It becomes easier to walk up to that cute girl passing by on the street. You don’t think twice about dancing like a mad man on the dance floor. You become “louder” than ever!

Until… you get complacent and cocky once again. The shitty time comes anew.

The process repeats itself.

You once again have the choice to either sulk in misery or push through. You choose to push through because you have no other option. You are in another country for god’s sake. You have to push through! And somehow you always find the strength to make it.

Once again the learning begins, your confidence grows, and love for yourself becomes stronger.

You become happy.

Life as a solo traveler is one of the most incredible experiences I think any human can have. Very few people take the chance to get to know the most important person on earth. You!

They jump from relationship to relationship and let those relationships define them. That, or they let society dictate what they want. They have a constant feeling of emptiness they think can be filled once they get that new car, that cushy  job, that socially accepted relationship, or that upgraded house.

Although joy may be experienced for a short period of time after they attain these goals, the feeling of emptiness comes again.

The more you learn about who you are, the more you know what you want, the more content you become with who you are, the less feeling of emptiness and loneliness will exist, and the more you allow yourself to be “loud.”

So I challenge you.

Plan a trip somewhere exotic for a couple weeks by yourself. Stay at hostels. Meet some locals. Get rejected. And be “loud.” You may love it or may hate it, but I can assure you that it will be one of the best decisions you ever made in your life.

You will come back a changed person with some incredible stories you will remember and tell for the rest of your life.

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What do you think? Comment below and let me know about your solo travel experiences. Do we relate?

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Todd VanDuzer is co-founder and CEO of Student-Tutor, an inspirational leader and speaker for high schools and companies across the country, an avid rock climber, adventurer, world traveler, and more. He is driven by the need to help others go after their dreams by setting lofty S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely) goals while having someone to hold you accountable. Todd is preparing to embark on a 5-year trip around the world in his van to help challenge, motivate, and inspire students to take charge of their lives. Follow Todd via Instagram or Twitter!

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