7 Reasons why creative people need to travel alone at least once

For those who have been following my page, and now my blog, you’re probably aware of how indispensable travel is to my creativity. What you might not know, however, is that until three weeks ago I had never travelled alone. I’ve always had the habit to go solo for a few hours even when travelling with others, but at the end of the day there’d always be someone familiar to eat with, sleep with, talk to and experience new adventures with. Only now have I been brave enough to discover a new place all by myself – and I loved it!

My boss told me about a conference in Brighton and asked if I wanted to go and I pounced on the offer. I won’t lie to you, the night before my flight I was quite restless thinking of all the things that could go wrong, and I was terribly anxious on the day of my departure, but I’d go through it all over again and I’d recommend it to anyone. Because, you see, creative people sometimes need to get out of their routines and do something that scares them in order to develop.

I left to Brighton for a few days, attended a conference during my stay there, and then headed off to London for another couple of days because I wanted some ‘me’ time. I’m not trying to run away from anyone. My friends, colleagues, partner and family think I’m a ‘people person’ and that I’m quite an extrovert with a strong EQ. And I couldn’t agree more; I feed off other people’s experiences, emotions and creativity, and wear my heart on my sleeve. Yet, I also see myself as a bit of an introvert in the sense that if I don’t get any ‘me’ time and space, the world becomes too chaotic for me. I need to be left alone to process things and to communicate with my ‘self’. So yes, I needed this trip despite how nervous I felt. As John Haltiwanger perfectly sums it up in his article on travelling alone:

“The frightening aspects of [waking up by yourself in an unfamiliar place] are precisely what make it so intoxicating.”

This is what led me to write this article. I started this blog with the objective to inspire creative minds, and I strongly believe you should go through this wonderful experience at least once in your life (in my case, I’m sure this won’t be my last). I’ve listed down the seven most important reasons why you should pick a destination, buy your flight tickets, book your accommodation, and experience a new adventure now. Here goes:

1. Detox from routines

Routines kill a creative mind. Seriously. A trip abroad on your own will help you cleanse your mind from all those daily tasks and processes. Instead of routines, I found myself faced with gaps to fill in with whatever I wanted (besides the time I spent at the conference – which was also different to the usual, plus greatly inspirational).

2. Step out of your comfort zone

Picture this: you’re in a place you’ve never been before, you’re alone, you have to figure it all out by yourself… if that’s not stepping out of ‘comfort zone’ to you then I don’t know what is. It’s scary sometimes, but that’s the beauty of it all. That’s how we develop as people. In our ‘comfort zone’ we get used to everything and it all becomes predictable, giving us no more room to uncover new things. Outside of our comfort zone there are new people, new food, new mannerisms, new ideas, and lots of other new things to discover.

brighton west pier sunset

Brighton West Pier. Image © Christina Goggi

3. Trust your intuition

When I travel with others I tend to relax knowing there’s someone else doing all the thinking and figuring out things. I just observe and visit wonderland – in fact I often get called Alice when I travel with my partner (all in good spirit). You can’t really zone out when you’re on your own. You need to be wide-awake and to trust your intuition. You learn to be more present and to follow your gut feeling. So far, my intuition has never failed me.

Brighton Pier waves. Image by Christina Goggi Photography

Brighton Pier waves. Image © Christina Goggi

4. Communicate with your ‘self’

This is important even in your daily life and you should do it consistently, but let’s face it, if you’re juggling an 8+hrs a day full-time job you’re passionate about like I do, with other commitments after that, then you won’t really have the time or mindset for a deep conversation with your ‘self’ – the only thing I’d be able to do is collapse on my bed. When you’ve got time on your hands in a foreign country and have no one waiting for you or wanting to do things with you, you can just go somewhere and communicate with your ‘self’. While in Brighton for example, after the conference I’d go by the sea, walk with no direction in mind, and process. I had all the time in the world because I had no schedule to follow or anyone to meet, I could take my time. And I could do it every day. 

Child in Brighton by Christina Goggi Photography

Child walking alone in Brighton. Image © Christina Goggi

5. Freedom to do what you want

Just like in the above point, in not having a schedule to follow and anyone waiting for you, you can just do what you want. As a photographer, travelling with people can sometimes be limiting. When I travel with my friends, for example, I can’t really stop and take my time to compose and capture a shot. Sometimes I can sense they’re losing their patience waiting for me just to snap a breathtaking landscape. Often, the solution is to go separate ways for a few hours and then meet for lunch or dinner; but it’s still not enough as you might discover a street which may lead to others but can’t go on because your time is up or a marching band is walking past you but you can’t take your time and get carried away as your friends are waiting for you. Plus, if you’re travelling with people you’re meant to spend time with them not ‘do your own thing’. Being alone strips you of all those limitations! Now you can roam around and discover non-touristic things worth capturing, take all the time you need until you get the picture you want, and visit those photography exhibitions or quirky art galleries that others would consider ‘boring’. You can be as ‘selfish’ as you like and lose your concept of time without any repercussions. You are your own boss and by Jove, it’s awesome!

Brighton Pier by Christina Goggi Photography

Brighton Pier. Image © Christina Goggi

6. Space for creativity

With having all the time in the world for yourself and freedom to do what you want in a new place, comes space for creativity. You will see new things, meet new people, get inspired by art and buildings you haven’t seen before… It definitely got my mind popping with new ideas and creative energy! Even everyday things, like the squirrels and seagulls in the images below, got my attention.

Brighton squirrel by Christina Goggi Photography

Captured at the small park right behind the Brighton Pavilion. I love squirrels and their cute bushy tails. Image © Christina Goggi

Brighton juvenile seagull by Christina Goggi Photography

A lonely pensive juvenile seagull in Brighton. Image © Christina Goggi

Brighton adult seagull by Christina Goggi Photography

A lonely pensive adult seagull in Brighton. Image © Christina Goggi

7. Learn more about others

In being alone I was more open to other humans. I even spoke to this lovely man who let me capture his derrière and portrait for 60p. He was one interesting character who insisted he was related to the Queen of England and that punk was not dead – I couldn’t agree more with the latter, while I’m still dubious about the former! I’ve listened to stories from taxi drivers (who have some really interesting stories to tell), from the waitress at one of the best vegetarian restaurants on the planet, and also from a great old friend I met in London.

Punk not dead by Christina Goggi Photography

Punk is not dead. Image © Christina Goggi

I’m actually looking forward to my next trip alone, although the next two on the agenda are with company – and I’m sure they’ll also be awesome and blog-worthy!

What about you, have you booked your ticket?

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