3 Ways How Solo Traveling Can Make You A Better Leader

Whenever it comes down to thinking about what traveling alone can mean to me, these words define it the best – initiative, intuition, decision and action.

It’s more like designing an art. Taking a leap of faith to start, listening to the calling of the heart, and just doing it the way we want.

Philosophical? Maybe.

Before we begin, this space is not about telling you what solo traveling is or how you should probably do it. Google has enough for it.

The idea is to understand the relevance of grabbing any travel opportunity that comes our way, to help ourselves become more of who we are.

Being on your own, for your own self, in an unknown place, around unknown people can be frightful. But that’s exactly why one should do it.

It’s fearful. It’s daring. Hence, it’s exciting.

You’ll never know what’s coming your way and how will you deal with it. That’s what makes it so thrilling. It’s similar to taking risks in a business.

Everyone is always asking us to take up challenges, right? There you go: being alone makes you rely on your own spontaneous decisions, and to have faith in them.

It teaches you to take big life decisions.

The more adventurous your experience is, the more enlightening your own reality is.

Here are a few ways how traveling on your own can be a journey to leadership:

1. It helps you understand your inhibitions

men solo traveling standing in front of a cliff

It’s often said that it’s only when you’re put in a hard situation you’ll learn how you’ll deal with it.

Becoming self-aware is one of the key aspects traveling alone teaches.

You understand your fears, attributes that hold you back and your behavior in unexpected or unusual situations. This is exactly how you get to know yourself better and realize your potentials.

You must build on your instincts around people and the environment.

It helps to gain the capacity of dealing with critical and analytical activities like managing teams, assessing people and identifying opportunities.

2. You learn how to find a way in the chaos

As the only person responsible for your life, you learn to become self-reliant and start searching for solutions in a menace.

You try and talk to locals for directions, finding places to feed your stomach, knowing more about the city and its culture. The entire journey revolves around you making attempts to finding a way out.

You’re usually clueless about what will happen next and how, but you still keep moving forward to discover. There’s a solution to every problem, known or unrevealed. To search for it is up to us.

3. It pushes you to stay out of comfort and embrace challenges

As a traveler, if we shift our approach from ‘why do I have to tackle this problem’ to ‘I need to take a next level challenge’, the scope of personal growth intensifies.

Comfort brings in ease, inviting fear and resistance to difficulties. On the other hand, overseeing comfort over opportunity upskills strength, maturity, and quality of life.

Even in business, the best of ideas emerge when a workforce chooses to think on broader spectrums. They come out of distinct realities and not from easy situations.

There might be a hundred reasons for you to escape traveling alone, but if you can dare to dream, you can become what you envision.

Venture on your own to discover, enhance and rebuild a new life.

If this interested you, you can read 7 Things I Achieved, Thanks To My Exchange in Turkey

Would you like to travel alone while working on an amazing project? Learn about our exchanges!

Written by

Vanyashree Chaudhary is a light-hearted Journalism student from Delhi. She’s crazy about her love for graphic designing, Oreo shakes and Daft Punk. Find her the happiest while she’s traveling!

5 Reasons Why Traveling Can be Your Best Teacher

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.

You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”

Cesare Pavese

I live for exploring the world, trying new things, and meeting passionate people    

Very often, when I’m craving for adventure but am stuck with work, I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media sites, in an attempt to quench my thirst for exploration.

However, this doesn’t work.

Instead, I just watch people go away on seemingly incredible adventures, having the time of their lives, while I’m at home working on the computer, wondering when I would go on my own.

This entire scenario puts me in a state of despondency, for I know it’s about time that I start to focus on things that nurture my soul.

Hence, I decided to take a break from my daily life and feed my wanderlust!

It’s easy to get bogged down by all the day-to-day pressures and get stuck in a continuous cycle of work and life commitments. However, having new experiences and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone on a daily basis is essential for growth, balance, and happiness.

I have always believed that travel teaches you without a scorecard.

It enriches and molds you gently. When you step out to see the world – meet people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city – you learn a lot!

I have had incredible learnings through my travels and  I am keener than ever to learn more through it.

Here are the top  5 things that I have learned from my travels so far.

1. Listening to my inner voice

Being alone for most of the time while traveling, introspection is the one thing that happens to all of us!

Even though I would do the same back home, being completely alone in a foreign environment heightened it.  It can really teach you a thing or two about yourself.

When you’re away from everything you‘ll be surprised by the magnitude of the zen you experience!

Probably the most important lesson of all that comes from traveling is that you are stronger than you thought yourself to be.

2. Seeking out people with different beliefs and views of the world and getting to know their perspective

Some of my beliefs about the world are not in unanimity with a lot of people.  If everyone thought like me, the world would’ve been quite boring.

So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, I try to mix with them rather than trying to “change” them. Despite all the external differences, people are the same everywhere you go.

They’re driven by all the usual urges; from base fear and anger right through to the most awe-inspiring generosity and love. There are innumerable instances when total strangers have strengthened my faith in humanity: chasing me down to return dropped money, inviting me to family dinner, etc.

When you stop seeing people as some different from yourselves, I reckon you can relate to just about anyone.

3. Lessons come in the most unlikely times

While traveling solo, we interact with people around us: on buses, trains, and planes throughout the journey. Every new person we meet offers an intriguing story and maybe even a shred of wisdom.

When we surround ourselves with a variety of different people, we learn a lot.

Go and explore all you possibly can. For not all classrooms have 4 walls. 🙂

Through our conversations, we realize how different our lives are. We also learn that most of us, in spite of the cultural differences,  eventually want the same thing: happiness.

4. To accept kindness with humility

Without even realizing it, most of us follow a cynical attitude towards people.

It’s a great shame because we often overlook genuine kindness in the world. When we travel, we’re bound to meet a whole new variety of people. Not everybody is going to be kind, but accept that some people are.

Meeting people through your travels will teach you to accept kindness – often from strangers. And it is your job to be open to invitations.

Accept the chai latte from the shop owner, accept the invitation to the local family wedding, and accept kindness whenever can – the rewards will be enriching.

5. Amazing things lies on the other side of fear

Fear paralyzes us. We miss out on tons of opportunities because of our fears.

Traveling alone, for instance, may be something you’ve always wanted to do. What stops you from doing it? Besides money, it’s probably fear. You overlook all the excitement and focus on all the bad things that could possibly happen.

Sometimes, we need to do the things that scare us the most because it’s often on the other side of fear, that we discover the most amazing things. Trust me, it’s the most liberating thing ever!

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

– Anthony Bourdain

Travel isn’t always blissful and comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.

The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your soul. You take something with you.

Depending on where you go, you’ll see the different strata of the society. You’ll realize that everyone, in a way, is fighting the same battles as we are, only the environs are different.

Traveling changes you completely.

It gets you in touch with a  side of the world that not everybody knows. It changes your perspective on things and life.  Explore, dream and discover.

To Live an Experience like this, find an opportunity on aiesec.org.

To read next: 7 Things I Achieved Thanks to my Exchange in Turkey

Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

7 Things I Achieved Thanks to My Exchange in Turkey

“It started during my winter vacations. I kept hearing all my friends super excited about going home for a while, and how they couldn’t wait for summer vacations to be with their loved ones for entire 2 months!

I, on the other hand, had a really strange feeling evoking inside me. I didn’t want to spend all that time sitting at home doing nothing! Hence, I spent my entire winter vacation searching about things that would keep me busy during my summer holidays, as well as add on to my CV.

That was when I stumbled across AIESEC.

A few days later, after researching about all the projects and giving interviews, I finalized my exchange in Turkey! To my surprise, it didn’t take me more than a day to convince my parents to let me go abroad all alone – when I was just 18!

That’s how I got to spend 6 weeks in Turkey, and I had the best days of my life.

This Global Volunteer exchange made me explore and uncover parts of me buried deep within, and I couldn’t have been more grateful to AIESEC for giving me this beautiful opportunity.

I wish everyone could live something like that, so I’ll share a bit more with you right now.

Here are 7 things I achieved thanks to my Global Volunteer Exchange to Turkey, with  AIESEC:

1. Contributing to a better world and travel to another country

The concept of volunteering has always fascinated me the most. Helping others around the world while fulfilling your travel bucket list is a really great combination that AIESEC offers you.

I was working at a rehab center with specially-abled kids and adults and at the same time quenching my thirst for wanderlust on the go. All thanks to AIESEC!

2. Traveling on a budget

If at all I have dreamt about something passionately, it was traveling the world. But I never had enough funds to finance any of my trips!

AIESEC was my one-stop solution for affordable traveling.

The thing with traveling that drains out your pocket the most is when it comes to accommodation. But while I was in Turkey, I stayed along with my host family for 6 long weeks and I couldn’t have asked for better hosts than them.

They are more than family to me now!

3. Experiencing solo traveling

One of the most important things of what an individual must strike off his checklist before he turns 30 is a solo trip! I was beaming with joy when I strike this off my list merely at the age of 18! The feeling was just amazing!

4. Getting to know my latent talent

I strongly believe that traveling solo changes you as a person from within.

I never knew I could handle the pressure of surviving in a country without even knowing its native language. I never knew I could keep myself at cool while I changed 5 flights to get back home because I missed my connecting flight. I never knew I had the courage to go around exploring different cities within Turkey, all by myself!

I was truly surprised getting to know my all the things I was able to do by myself.

And most importantly, this experience helped me realize that I was a person of content, and to ignite my latent passion for writing once again – so much so that my first travel blog made to the top 5 on Google’s first page!

5. Learning about a different culture

Being a huge fan of Turkish drama, I thought I knew almost everything about Turkey, but I was so wrong!

It’s only when one goes and actually stays there, one gets to understand the real essence of the culture. I ended up loving their culture so much that now my house is full of Turkish chai and souvenirs.

My vocabulary of Turkish words and phrases increased from a mere 50 words to approximately 250 words when I returned from my exchange. By the end, I was even speaking in Turkish with my family members for almost a week since I got so used to the culture.

6. Making new friends from all around the world

My favorite and the most exciting part of the Global Volunteer was that AIESEC conducts a lot of cultural evenings!

Volunteers from all across the world gather around, wearing best of their traditional outfits, and bringing a bit of their traditional cuisines.

At first, I was skeptical about how it would all turn out to be, What will these people think about India? But the cultural eve was the best ice breaking session we all had.

We tasted flavors of different countries, danced in Spanish, French, Turkish, Hindi and Arabic music and what not! Now I can say that I know a bit about many many countries around the world.

7. Winning the trust of my parents

It wasn’t just me who started believing in myself, but also my parents and the people around me.

I was a whole new version of me when I returned from my exchange. I was more confident and even more independent, and my parents, my friends, and family noticed and felt the same.

I could see that my parents were really proud of me, and I could make out from their sparkling eyes that I had won their trust.  Sending a girl all alone when she just turned 18 to a country overseas was a brave thing my parents did.  And AIESEC made sure it reaped great results for their daughter.

To summarize it all, my exchange has helped me grow as an individual.

This trip has invoked a unique kind of spirit and passion in me.

I have never felt closer to accomplishing my dreams. It made me turn my CAN’Ts into CANs.  It truly was a life-changing experience for me.

So if you are someone having second thoughts about going for an exchange, don’t!

Just go with the flow and you will do wonders. You won’t even realize, but you will be surprising yourself each day on this journey!”

Nimisha Modi did her Global Volunteer in Turkey in July 2018. If you also want an experience like her, check out our opportunities at aiesec.org.  

4 Valuable Lessons I Learnt from my Exchange in Mauritius

Mauritius is a stunning island nation, known widely for its beautiful beaches, lagoons, and reefs. However, Naman Ahuja, who went for a Global Volunteer Programme as an Exchange Participant has a lot more to add, besides the aesthetic landscapes of this republic.

This is the story of how this exchange helped him develop his personality while adding to the positive changes that these programmes sought to initiate in the world!


“The exchange made me self-aware in so many ways! I got to know and explore my own abilities and capabilities. For example, I didn’t know I could deliver a  speech in front of 50 students and teach them too!” says Naman, who had been a reluctant introvert.

“Another self-realization I had was about my physical fitness.

We went on a lot of trekkings and that’s when it posed a challenge. I realized I wasn’t as fit as I needed to be to go hiking, unlike everyone else (who did not face this problem). It made me self-aware that I needed to build my stamina in order to live up to the tasks which were essential for my exchange projects.

exchange on Mauritius

If there’s something I couldn’t do, I had to work on that.

One more thing that this exchange helped me realize was how efficient I was with introducing myself to a group of total strangers, getting to know them and building a strong bond with them. These are qualities I thought I really lacked because I never really put myself out there.” he adds.


Communicating effectively in diverse environments, and engaging with others to achieve a bigger purpose play a pivotal role in empowering others, which is a key component of AIESEC’s leadership development model.

“My job role was to work on projects that were assigned to us: The Women Empowerment Project with the National Women Council of Mauritius, which was a huge deal.

There were three projects under this: Awareness Project, Self Defence project and the IT project.

One of the best things about this programme was that we were allowed to introduce our own projects, give our inputs and ideas for an entirely new scope, and they would create it for us! It was absolutely amazing.

“We worked with the National Women Council, and all their employees were women. Me and two other EPs from Kenya and China were the only males working in the organization, and all the other people who worked on this project were women!

The team I worked with conducted workshops on Information and Technology, teaching women basic Microsoft skills, etc. We taught around 500 women regarding this.

IT workshops for woman in Mauritius

We also took part in teaching specially-abled children during some days of the week, and it was an enlightening experience.

In the self-defense project, we had to organize a proper workshop and invited a self-defense trainer from Lebanon, the only woman in the entire middle-east for the job. So we understood the level we were actually working on.” he adds.


“One time we were locked in our house for two days, because of a Level 3 Tropical Cyclone that was going on at the island.

It was a sudden crisis, as we had to arrange food for everyone, and we had no external resources in case we ran out of food! Besides that, we also had to come up with ways to protect the house we were living in from the physical damage of the cyclone.

So the ten of us came together and planned out how we were going to protect the windows, we rationed food and cooked it together to effectively manage the limited resources we had!”

Hence, being solution-oriented in times of crisis is an essential lesson that one can learn from such circumstances.


People from all around the world aren’t so different, according to Naman.

Living together with people from different countries under one roof taught him that people may look different and dress different, speak different languages, but they connect. Because deep down we are all humans and that is the power of human connection.

exchange participants from AIESEC connecting in Mauritius

“There wasn’t a huge cultural shock as I expected. Mauritians are mostly of an Asian-African descent, and I kind of felt at home, within a few days of being there.

The nationalities of other EPs differed: there were people from Kenya, Australia, China, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Taiwan. These were people with dynamic personalities who helped me develop and even discover the hidden aspects of mine.

One thing I was worried about before going for my exchange was what do people think of India? Everyone I met in my exchange loved India and were totally fascinated by the Indian culture, so being the only Indian in the exchange was an amazing experience.

The one thing that absolutely stood out for me were the people of Mauritius. They are one of the kindest, most considerate and grateful people that I have ever come across. They are always there for you.

I didn’t know the local language, but whenever I traveled alone, I felt that there were people who would help out with the smallest of things. Even if I found myself lost for a second, they helped out and were super-approachable.

I still remember some of the shopkeepers and the people I used to wait with at the bus stand.”


group of young people on exchange in Mauritius with AIESEC

For as short as it is, and exchange really teaches you how to bond with the people, be vulnerable, strong, flexible. You connect with those with similar vision and goals as you, you achieve something by putting in your hard work, and appreciate the result together!

Naman’s experience changed his way of seeing life and helped him become a better version of himself. If you want to read about another breathtaking country, check this article about Vietnam!

If you also want to live an experience like this, check our exchange programs at aiesec.in!

The Magic in India’s Teardrop

You might reckon Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight! Seemingly a teardrop falling off the Indian peninsula due to its position and shape, innumerable travelers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of ambiguity kept it off many itineraries. Positioned between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s history, culture and natural beauty are indisputably enthralling. It’s the place you haven’t been to yet, that you should.

Countless Adventures

Hardly any places have as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small piece of land. Fabled temples sheltered in caves or perch or prominent peaks boast of stunning details and lead to the remarkable Sri Lankan culture that spans over 2000 years. Safari tours of the amusingly tranquil national parks encounter leopards, water buffaloes, plethora of birds and a passel of primates. To an outsider’s astonishment, the thing that seems to be a bump in the night might be an elephant heading to a favorite waterhole.

Convenient Travelling

Distances are short and transport options are plentiful. You might encounter numerous marvels of colonial architecture just during a brisk walk around the city of Colombo. Moreover, the best way to travel around the country is by a train. Nothing can match the experience of riding a slow-moving train through Sri Lanka’s scenic hill countryside and it doesn’t even come with a mighty price tag.

Understand the Culture

At its closest point, only 18 miles of aquamarine waters separate Sri Lanka and India but there’s a world of difference between the two. The pace of life in Sri Lanka feels much less frantic than that of its neighbor, which makes it ideal for those intrigued, yet intimidated by life in India.

Societal Disturbances

This is a country which built itself from the ground up after a civil war that left it in turmoil. With reducing dependence on agriculture and rising urbanization, the Sri Lankan economy is thriving. However, the dark clouds of social injustice, child rights, corruption, gender inequality, political malpractices, environmental concerns, etc. still pose a question on the country’s upbeat and prosperous days ahead.

Volunteer projects run by AIESEC here create a huge impact in terms of societal development as wider perspectives from across the world come into action and create an amalgamation that takes on the deleterious remains of the civil war. In the process, volunteers grow and gain from experiences that change their outlook about themselves and their lives and each one of them thrives to contribute towards the impact.

If you are willing to create a significant impact and at the same time, drown yourself in the natural splendor around, Sri Lanka is the apt destination for you. This awe-inspiring island nation could gain a lot from your contribution and desire to lead and change the world. The experiences on offer here are magnificent and lend you with plentiful chances to find the magic in you. You’re always just a short hop from something utterly new!

Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still often uncrowded. Now is the best time to discover it. Sign up as a Global Volunteer today!