No travel companions? No problem. As travel blogger Helen Hayden of A Pilot’s Daughter found, dancing to her own tune in Madrid, taking the trip of a lifetime all on your own can be one of the most rewarding, enriching, and gratifying experiences of your life.

You might doubt your independence. You might be fearful about stepping out into a foreign landscape all by your lonesome. Well, get over it. I can’t baby you through this one. It’s gonna be lonely and there may be a few brief moments of pain or panic, but my friends, it’s all so crazy worth it. I promise you.

Here are just 5 reasons why travelling solo will be the best decision you’ve ever made… Or at least a pretty damn good one.

No compromises

When you’re travelling alone, there’s no asking anyone else what they feel like doing. The only moods and whims to consider are your own. Any given day is yours alone to sculpt and enjoy. At times, the sheer amount of choice before you can be overwhelming. But it’s certainly better to be spoiled with choice, than restrained by someone else’s foibles. Being able to wake up and decide exactly what it is that YOU want to do with your day is a freedom that some individuals are never privilege to. Revel in it!

Getting to know Numero Uno

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Helen Hayden, APilotsDaughter

“Flying solo” is like getting on the express train to your authentic self. Being forced to make so many decisions for you, and you alone, gives you an honest insight into what it is that really drives you. Often, you’ll surprise yourself. You might actually be someone who loves long walks on the beach! And you might actually not be! Spinning around on repeat in our daily lives, we have a tendency to put on labels and file ourselves away into certain folders. When granted the opportunity, and with nobody watching, the authentic you has a glorious chance to emerge. What a gift.

Meet the ones

7 billion people on this planet right now. That’s 7 billion chances for you to meet a friend, a mentor, a muse, a lover, a brother, maybe even a soul mate. The people you come to know on your travels not only have the ability to impact your trip, but your life entirely. EVERYONE has a story worth sharing, if you allow them. You’ll never know the gifts someone can offer you if you’re not open to receiving them in the first place. Pardon the sugary expressions here, but if you keep your heart open, your journey and the people you meet along the way will lift you to places you’ve never dreamed of reaching.

Learn to love your loneliness

Travelling alone omio a pilots daughterstreet

Helen Hayden,APilotsDaughter

At some point in your life, you’re gonna be alone. Really alone – like it or not. Today, with so many ways to be in constant connection with others, I find many of us have become wildly uncomfortable with our own aloneness. But Mama wasn’t wrong when she said practice makes perfect. At first, facing life solo can seem grim or depleted. But you’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. There’s so, so much to be said for solitude. It can truly become one of the great pleasures of your life. I read once that the fastest way to lose a giggle was to share it. It might sound a bit tart, but what I took from it is that some moments in life are sweetest when savored on your own. Some moments are only made special because only we can understand them. Give yourself the opportunity to find those moments.

Become an awesome human being

Yup. I’m making this a legit reason. I’m almost certain there’s no way you could return from a solo adventure without being a more rounded, educated, tolerant, interesting and generally more awesome human being. You will simply bear witness to the world and it will be impossible to remain unchanged. Your eyes will ignite with interest, your soul will warm and bubble, and your heart will swell with a greater understanding of it all. Set out to see the wonders of our world, and the world will truly reveal the wonders in you.

What – or should I say, who – are you waiting for? Get packing.

Helen Hayden

Author of the travel blog ‘A Pilot’s Daughter’, Helen trots the globe in search of inspiration and misadventure. A Canadian who calls New York home, she adores city life, but lives for opportunities to get off the beaten track. Her mission is to find intimate cultural encounters and really get to the underbelly of her destinations. She shares vivid, personal accounts of her present journeys on her site