Solo traveling has been my thing for a little while now. I packed up my comfy life, picked up new things, habits, friends on the way, deepened my relationship with self and even learned how to deal with the inevitable disasters that come with long-term travel. It has been a well-rounded look at the nomad life. Above all, it has been a chapter of unconceivable memories, a string of ‘why nots’ and a pile of international sim cards.

What I have found is that my solo adventure really started to change once I learnt the value of my ‘yes’. Ask any solo traveler, there is an art to saying ‘yes’ while in new lands. Listening to your intuition and learning your personal boundaries definitely sits at the top of the list, but what about the rest? In this Travel Noire article, find out how I use the word ‘yes’ to transform my solo traveling experiences.

1. To control or not to control?

Credit: Amara Amaryah

All solo travelers get it, there is an element of control needed when navigating a new place alone. There is so much unknown that you oftentimes just need to have some control. 

The thing about long-term solo travel is it teaches you to be OK with an element of surprise. Once you travel solo, you eventually get comfortable with the idea of wandering into new situations, trusting that you’ve got yourself. The joy of saying ‘yes’ really comes with the realization that you have advanced in your travels enough to go with the flow rather than being in control 100% of the time. 

2. The beauty of the present moment

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Following on from the previous point, being in flow means being in the present moment. Saying ‘yes’ when invited to a new place, a new adventure, or even out of the country can literally redefine the rest of your trip (or life). The idea is being present enough to accept the many possibilities that can arise from this one sporadic decision. Solo traveling through Latin America has taught me this many times. Equally, I have been caught up with my to-do list or my plan too many times and turned down opportunities that didn’t seem to align with a decision I made for myself beforehand. Being in the moment is the perfect way to be in tune with your most current needs, desires, and personality. Isn’t this the essence of travel to begin with?

3. Your time to "unlock a new character"

Credit: Amara Amaryah

Having released your need for control and found yourself rooted in the present moment, solo traveling will surely show you new sides to yourself. I like to think of it as that stage of “unlocking a new character”. Saying ‘yes’ to things that feel aligned will reveal new parts of your personality. It can range from skillsets to interests, to strengths, and even new ways or people for continuing your trip. 

4. Balance

Mart Productions

There is certainly something to be said about balance. It’s not everything that you should be saying yes to… The true art of saying yes is ensuring that it is in line with what feels good and safe for you. The point isn’t to say yes to everything without boundaries, but rather to be open-hearted, guided towards the things that most excite you. Striking that balance will be the difference between saying yes to absolutely everything and not enjoying the trip and saying ‘yes’ to invoke newness into your trip, allowing you to honor your true wishes. 

5. Stories in abundance

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The final point is obvious: mastering the art of saying ‘yes’ on your solo travels is the go-to way to have more stories to tell when you return. This is how to make the kind of friends and have the kind of experiences which start with “I just said yes and the rest just fell into place…”

Related: Traveler Story: Advice On Solo Traveling Central America After Months On The Road