This week's newsletter comes to you from a cosy cafe in Istanbul.
No, I didn't come with friends.
And no, I don't feel awkward being alone in a foreign country.
In fact, travelling alone is a necessary and liberating shock to the system…
During my time at university, I would never do certain things without company.
If I was hungry, I'd wait until a friend arrived on campus before heading out to eat.
Until then, I'd stay hungry.
If I wanted to explore a new area in London, I'd want someone beside me.
Otherwise, I'd save it for another day.
More than asking for company, I was requesting permission from my primitive brain to take action.
If my subconscious didn't feel safe doing something alone, I'd seek company and then ask it again,
"Can we do it now?"
We all need to train our brains to relax a little when it comes to new experiences, especially when we overemphasise the risks and understate the benefits.
The way to do it?
Act before asking for permission.
Hit the upload button and wait for the consequences.
Say what you need to say instead of locking it up.
Book the flights and deal with being alone once you get there.
In a world of abundant information, learning to think independently is a great challenge.
My solution - Place myself in situations where my thoughts and experiences can't be influenced by others.
The result - I'm forced to think and experience on my own accord.
That means reading books without hearing about someone's review first.
It means watching a movie and stating your opinion before it's skewed by your social circles.
It means travelling alone and seeing how you observe your own experiences.
If I decide I'd rather rest in a cafe than squeeze in all the historic sites, perhaps that's me.
If I want to skip activities and avoid certain foods, I'm learning about myself in the process.
A relatable example:
Have you ever tried a new type of food and loved it but all your friends hated it? All of a sudden, you might settle somewhere in the middle and say it was 'ok' rather than 'amazing'?
How and why does that happen and what do we do to stop it?
The answer is trusting your own experiences and acknowledging them for what they are - yours.
Travelling alone frees you from the chains of interdependency.
Instead of succumbing to the whim of social influence, you get raw experiences that can't be disputed.