I’ve travelled across the globe as a solo traveller many times and personally know the spontaneous magic that can come out of being independent while abroad. However, after spending a week with our last group of entirely single travellers for the Bali retreat we realised that attending a transformational retreat alone creates magic and connection like we never expected.
I was blown away with the depth, sharing and pure fun the whole group had. I’ve seen it in other’s who’ve come to our retreats alone and we’ve been discussing why single travellers get so much out of the retreat.
Our retreats are more than a destination, they’re a journey. Just like travelling alone, taking the journey through self transformation can be enhanced when we strip away the boundaries of our “normal” identity and open ourselves up to new ways of being, thinking and interacting.
I wanted to share with you our insights and hope to inspire you to take courage and get out there on your own!
Top ten reasons why travelling alone actually creates magic and connection.
1) More open to connect with others
With each retreat I’ve watched many new and genuine friendships forged between people who just days before were complete strangers. I think it’s because on our own we’re naturally more open to people we otherwise might not speak to, and this can give us fantastic new perspectives on life and ourselves. Opening up to new people in a safe and respectful environment rekindles feelings of trust and belonging in the world, and at the end of the day this is what we all deeply desire. The group from our last retreat bonded so much they’re already planning a reunion retreat for next year.
2) Readily see similarities rather than differences
Many people come alone but quickly find they’re surrounded by like minded people and not at all alone in their interests, intentions and issues. In fact, because we are a community of similar people, the retreats can make us feel far less alone than we do in normal life. I’ve personally found this again and again through my travels, and meeting the people out there that have a similar take on life is one of the reasons I’ll never stop travelling.
It’s also reassuring to discover that we not only share similar values but also similar struggles. At every retreat I see people from all over the world, with various ages and walks of life relate to each other over the same inner feelings and life issues. What comes out of it is a huge sense of relief knowing that everyone faces these same life challenges and the conversations and support that follow are always inspiring.
3) No guilt about personal time
Most people go on a retreat to rejuvenate, relax and give themselves the precious “me-time” they rarely get in their busy lives. They feel free to do as they please, nap when they want to, lounge by the pool, read a novel without interruption or simply sit and think without guilt, pressure or worry about anybody else. And this alone can replenish our energy and enthusiasm for life like nothing else.
4) Less Inhibited by expectations
Taking ourselves out of our “normal” life roles and being surrounded by people who have no expectations of us can really free us from the expectations or boundaries we’ve been living in. Sometimes we don’t even know those boundaries and limiting beliefs existed until we removed ourselves from the situation. And then when we do we speak our mind more freely and have less fear of judgement because we don’t have a history with the people around us. When I’ve travelled alone this freedom of expression has generate creativity, inspiration, insight and helped me become confident in who I am.
5) Time and space for self reflection
Along the same lines, being alone means we’re not distracted away from self reflection. I see many of the single people on the retreat really take advantage of all the self reflection exercises and make this a time to take a bigger picture look at their life and future decisions. Because of this, people tell me every retreat that the experience has been life changing. I know my life changes from the perspective I get almost every time I travel, but especially on all the journey’s I’ve gone on alone.
6) Feel more courageous and empowered
I see that this deeper self understanding is also massively empowering. When we make decisions on our own without the influences and opinions we’re typically surrounded by, we can feel profoundly strong in our resolves and clear in our intentions. Having this kind of clarity always makes us feel stronger.
7) More open to new identities
One of the biggest things we work with during the retreat is how we view ourselves — in other words, what are we identifying with. Much of the research I’ve read shows that we live up to our self perception and act based on these beliefs about our identity. If we want to change our actions we always need to look at the self belief that is influencing that action. Again, being alone and away from anyone with stories or expectations about us can loosen up and shift the beliefs we have about ourselves.
8) Live in the present moment
When new people surround us we’re more likely to focus on the present moment because we have no history or future plans with the person. And this present moment living is what the Yoga tradition, as well as Buddhism and really all mystical traditions teach us to cultivate. When we live more in the present we can actually take in the wonder and splendour of this world. Truly taste the food, absorb the sights, feel the energy of the moment and ourselves. Cultivating this sharpens our intuition and ability to make moment by moment decisions that make us feel good. And this can be a game changer. Our life, after all, is only an accumulation of moments.
9) Build a wider network
On the last day there’s always a massive exchange of emails, addresses, phone numbers and Facebook links. People have even gone on to travel together after the retreat that din’t know each other before hand, or make plans to connect when they get back home. After having fun, connecting, diving deep and forging new, powerful friendships the last thing people want to do is say good bye. The amazing thing about our modern era is that we don’t have to, which means our network of likeminded people just gets bigger.
10) Simply being who we are
One of the best parts of traveling alone is simply being exactly who we are and want to be in that moment. One of our guests, Michael, said it best, “I think attending a retreat solo allows you the freedom to just be as you are, as you’re feeling at that particular point in time with no filter. Being part of a group of like minded spiritual travellers is always an empowering experience.”
For more information about the Bali Yoga Retreats visit luxuryretreatsbali.com.au