I love to travel alone. I love the freedom of being able to do my own thing and I genuinely enjoy my own company (shocker). So, when I wanted a quick getaway, but none of my friends could get time off work, I thought: ‘screw it, I’ll go alone.’
I booked a solo road trip up the east coast of Australia but when I told my friends and coworkers, they seemed genuinely concerned. “Why are you going alone? Can’t anyone go with you?” For some reason, there’s still a stigma surrounding solo travel. While at the same time, I’m sure you’ve heard that travelling alone is both liberating and enriching. Based on what I learnt during my ‘daring’ trip, here I delve into some of the secrets of solo travel and the things no one will tell you about your next solo adventure…
1. The first time you eat alone will be scary AF.
‘Are people staring at me? Do I have something in my teeth? Where on earth do I look?’ It’s almost guaranteed you will be self conscious the first time you eat alone (and you will definitely sweat profusely). My solo travels have taught me that while a book is a great distraction, the truth is, no one is staring at you and no one even cares anyway.
But remember to crawl before you walk. My first ever experience eating alone was coffee at 1am in Hanoi, Vietnam but by the end of my trip I was eating alone in restaurants and even ate with a local family once or twice. It will get easier as time goes on, trust me.
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2. Not every experience will be a social one
They say that when you travel solo, you are going to meet all these amazing people and every hostel is going to be one big social shindig. That’s not always the case. A hostel won’t automatically make you social and doesn’t come guaranteed with connections. But, a deck of cards and an open mind will. You WILL get lonely at some stage when you travel alone. You may even cry once or twice. But that’s all a part of the experience. The good stuff and all the other social times will make it worth it.
3. A tripod will be your best investment
How many times have you gone somewhere solely for the purpose of Instagramming it? Travelling alone makes it difficult to get that perfect Insta shot, and often the classic selfie just doesn’t suffice. Not only is it nerve wracking to ask a complete stranger to take hundreds of photos of you, but it’s even more embarrassing and frustrating when a stranger sucks at taking photos.
A tripod is your best friend! I feel super uncomfortable taking photos of myself in front of people because I think I look like a knob. But I found with a tripod, I didn’t need to rely on anyone else to get the perfect photo, and that at the right time of day no one is even around to judge.
4. You’ll learn interesting things about yourself
Solo travel really is soul-searching. You’ll learn your limits and even develop a stronger intuition. I for one discovered I actually talk to myself out loud and sing things when I do them. I’m a weirdo, and you’ll discover you are too! It’s all part of the beautiful process!
Here’s to solo adventures and getting to know yourself better! Check out the best Contiki trips for travelling solo, not alone.