Spe­cial An­nounce­ment: You may want to book a solo trip soon af­ter find­ing out its many psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits!


For some, the idea of go­ing on a onewoman trip con­jures up mem­o­ries of Ju­lia Roberts’s role as Liz Gilbert in the film Eat, Pray, Love. In it, she played a newly di­vorced woman who upped and left her life to find her­self all over again. Solo trav­el­ling is the most ther­a­peu­tic mech­a­nism that most peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mate, says reg­is­tered coun­sel­lor Sino Nocwaka Klaas of Baal-Per­azim Global Well­ness Ser­vices. “We are born and so­cialised to have com­pany at all times. Be­ing sur­rounded and oc­cu­pied, by oth­ers and ev­ery­thing, is ca­pa­ble of mak­ing us lose a huge chunk of our iden­tity, as we con­stantly give out a piece of our­selves — be it through daily chores, work­place de­mands and the com­mu­nity at large,” she ex­plains.


In ad­di­tion to soak­ing in gor­geous views, time away is a great way to take stock of your life, says Bonolo Mophosho, a Joburg-based coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist. “Any alone time is im­por­tant for re­flec­tion. You can pon­der things that hap­pened pre­vi­ously whilst trav­el­ling be­cause you have am­ple time to do so. And what bet­ter way to re­flect and learn from your past than when you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fer­ent cities and cul­tures?” Mophosho says.

She also likens self-in­tro­spec­tion to a spir­i­tual detox of sorts, dur­ing which you should try out ex­er­cises such as re­flect­ing on past life ex­pe­ri­ences, fac­ing your fears, deal­ing with anger, get­ting out of a painful world and en­ter­ing a new space of hope, heal­ing and restora­tion. “I al­ways re­fer to self­in­tro­spec­tion as spir­i­tual detox­i­fi­ca­tion of the in­ner be­ing, whom you can­not touch but only feel,” she adds.


Whether on a sho’t left trip or a long haul flight, Klaas ad­vises that you talk to your­self. Wor­ried that a mono­logue may make you come across as crazy? Re­lax! “Ac­cept who you are and con­nect with your in­ner self of­ten. Iden­ti­fy­ing your per­son­al­ity is crit­i­cal for one to be able to work on the neg­a­tive side of their per­son­al­ity, and ma­ture in strength­en­ing the pos­i­tive traits,” Klaas says.

Time spent alone can also in­crease your emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, Mophosho adds. “Solo trips can help you com­pare your own ex­pe­ri­ences with those of an­other city as well as your knowl­edge of what life is. Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing how oth­ers live can make you ap­pre­ci­ate your cir­cum­stances,” she says.


Meet­ing new peo­ple (or be­ing forced out of your com­fort zone to do so) can be re­fresh­ing, and good for your men­tal well-be­ing too. For in­stance, get­ting away dur­ing a rough patch can be the best thing for your men­tal state, Mophosho says. How­ever, if you suf­fer from anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion, she sug­gests first get­ting it treated, then tak­ing time off to de-stress and recharge.

Once you’ve in­tro­spected and as­sessed your­self, you will fi­nally get to a place where you feel re­newed, Klaas says. Al­ways re­mem­ber that heal­ing and restora­tion are only a stone’s throw away, wait­ing for us to claim them.

“Solo trips en­hance our re­silience, help us fo­cus on the present and revel in our re­gained en­ergy. Most times, you’ll walk away with a new sense of not need­ing peo­ple’s ap­proval and look­ing for­ward to al­ways de­vel­op­ing your­self,” Klaas con­cludes.■

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