Traveling alone consistently proves to be a fickle task, both alluring and daunting, there are those who thrive with solo adventure, and then there are people who quickly find it it's not for them. There are different personality traits which definitely apply to these travelers, setting them apart from the average tourist. Determination, a sense of wander, acceptance of being alone, outgoing, and assertive to name a few. But what is the most important trait (that can be learned!) for solo travelers?
The ability to read body language.
Here are 5 reasons why.
If you don't know the language, you can figure out what the heck is going on.
Eg.- when you ask for directions, you might not know exactly what someone is saying but you get the gist. Or even when you are out at the bar and you are trying to figure out if the French man who you are unsure is straight or gay is hitting on you or just being friendly.
Even when you do know the language, you can assess the situation before you go in.
Whether you're trying to get a discount or a free drink, attempting to get out of a ticket, or begging the receptionist to let you remain in the same room in your hostel for an extra night- knowing body language is essential. The ability to read people before you go headfirst into a situation allows you to understand how you will assert yourself and the best approach to take.
You take in more culture.
Watching the locals interact with each other, and understanding the body language involved, gives you a special insight into their culture others will never receive. From watching checkouts at the grocery store, to run-ins on the street, and even simple interactions such as greetings and farewells, always take time to find a local spot and just people [body language] watch.
You'll always know what vibes you're giving off.
And you can adjust when you need to. The second you feel uncomfortable, you can adjust your body however slightly, so those around you will get the hint-hopefully without you resorting to being awkward or rude. On the other hand, you will know if the way you are carrying yourself is relaxed and free, and you can find like minded individuals you will want to spend your travels with.
And you'll learn to control your body (and facial expressions).
To better suit your needs, understanding body language helps yourself appear to keep your cool in rough situations, and therefore working outside in, you will keep your mental self cool. Being someone who suffers from anxiety- my biggest struggle (in life) is controlling my emotions when I get anxious. Confessions aside, learning to take a second and breathe to gather your composure is essential to communication, especially international travel where all sorts of factors come into play.