The Inherent Contradiction of Solo Group Travel

By: Naomi Matlow

“The further one goes, the less one knows.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The human experience is full of contradictions. Can you relate to the feeling of wanting to be left alone, but also craving belonging in the same breath? Or desperately wanting to feel like an accomplished and independent adult, but deeply valuing your childlike wonder above all else? 

Our lives are downright contradictory and confusing, full of opposites and opposing forces, both within ourselves and within our surroundings. Life feels both incredibly short and long. We feel both jaded and old yet still naive and young. The ancient Chinese philosophical tradition of Taoism teaches that the concept of wholeness is opposing in its very nature. The Yin exists by virtue of being in continuous interaction with the Yang. In chaos there is order and vice versa. In the darkness of the symbol of the Yin Yang there is also light. 


Is Solo Group Travel an Oxymoron? 

So, what does this have to do with travel, you ask? What is a group retreat for solo travelers? How can you travel on your own, following the beat of your own drum, while also creating a coworking community based on productivity, collaboration, growth, and adventure? We’re here to say that solo group travel may be an oxymoron, but it is the contradictory nature of each that exist to enrich the experience of the other. Traveling solo and traveling within a group are not mutually exclusive. They can both exist in the same moment, in fact on every Unsettled retreat they do. 

Solo Travel vs. Traveling with Unsettled 

Ingrained in the history of humanity is the desire to break free of one’s social constraints and venture into the unknown, alone. Maybe this is something you felt when you were younger, or is still alive within you today. The biological need to prove our independence to ourselves and to our communities, to be fully responsible of where and what we are doing in each moment, is a fundamental part of the growing up process. But there comes a point for many of us where we crave community and belonging more, as much as we love to be fully in control. There is only so far we can grow on our own. Without the gentle push of other perspectives and different lives lived, we are limited. But when we seek growth, meaning, and adventure with others, the possibilities are endless. 

Unsettled’s community holds over 1600 alumni from 80+ countries.  We are creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers, and people of all ages (though our average is mid-30’s to early 40’s) asking the big questions of life. We bring together the intellectually curious who seek to replace routine with adventure, and refuse to settle in their pursuit of purpose and meaning. On our retreats everything is optional and anything is possible. 

Perhaps you did your solo European backpacking adventure a decade ago but have never lost that curiosity and longing to explore the world around you. Perhaps you are seeking a solo adventure within a community, a community of solo explorers, the Yin within the Yang, or vice versa. Perhaps your life needs a little more Yin in your Yang, a little more balance. Perhaps you’re not finished with life-defining travel experiences. Well, neither are we. 

Check out where you can live Unsettled for one week, two weeks, or one month.


Unsettled is a global community for those who live and work differently. 

Growth | Meaning | Adventure

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