How Solo Traveling Helped Me Fight Depression

I woke up one day and I wanted to pack my bag and leave my house into a world where I was a complete stranger, allowed to be whoever I chose to be, free from the expectations of people around me, easy and fragile.

Having had anxiety and depression for more than a year, and growing up as an introvert, I enjoy spending time with myself, but being stuck in the rat race, I could feel the world pulling me downwards, and I needed something more than my medicines.

Solo traveling is a kind of therapy that becomes necessary after a certain point of time for me. I reach a limit, where I can’t take it anymore and need to refuel myself to be able to survive in the world. That’s when I need my own time, away from not just everyone else but also away from my comfort zone and home. So, one day, I packed my bags and left for a detoxing session, some 900 miles away from home, all by myself, in a new city, and here’s what I made out of it.

1. Home will not always give me peace.

It’s how I always talk about getting home or needing to get back to home to just be myself and relax. Apparently, a closed room made of bricks cannot always put me at rest as I want it to. Home will not always be the place for my refuge. I saw how peaceful I was in a different city, walking alone, passing strangers and smiling at them. I found peace inside me while I was looking for it everywhere else.

2. Crowds can become pleasant when I’m not a part of it.

Looking at people getting to work, rushing to be somewhere on time, gave me a sense of aloofness I wanted. There was peace in the feeling of not belonging. Watching the crowd from a distance taught me how much we love things we aren’t part of.

Looking at another world, their way of survival, their way of functioning, their way of existence, taught me that I too was part of a world like this but in another part of the country. And there exist millions of such small worlds on our planet. And I’m a tiny, tiny part of one of them, where my problems are even smaller than me.

3. Impact is more important than money.

I came to realize how important it is to leave an impact when I leave this place. The moment I felt invisible in the crowd, it came to me that I was indeed invisible in this world. And I surely don’t want to die staying invisible all my life. It became so important for me to do something and to leave an impact, a footprint, when I leave my place. Much more important to me than making money.

4. I can give up embarrassment.

I learned to make a fool out of myself in front of 10 people and be OK with it. Because nobody knew me for who I was, and I knew I wouldn’t be seeing many of them one week later, which gave me the freedom of being myself. One of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever felt: to fail and be OK with it in front of people.

5. I can boost my confidence.

Being a 21-year-old woman, this was by far, the best confidence booster experience I’ve ever had. I feel stronger as a person, more independent, and am slightly more proud of myself for getting back safely to my place after my hiatus.

6. I can have pleasant small talk.

I suck at small talk. I’m a complete socially awkward person, an introvert, and have social anxiety. So it is pretty natural why I hate small talk. But I could be whatever I wanted to be in front of these people. To some people I introduced myself as an amateur writer, to some I was an intern for a travel magazine, for some I was out on a research and survey, for some I had just gotten engaged and was on a solo bachelor’s trip. I became whoever I wanted to be in the moment and lived a life of another person, and enjoyed my conversations immensely. I’m still clueless as to why all of this was so much fun!

I hope one day you can gather your adventure boots to get some time with yourself in a different city, in a different world, and see all of yourself there is to see!

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