So you’re thinking of going traveling. Maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking of for a few years now, or a more recent choice. But wait, you don’t have anyone to go with...
…so what! Whether it’s travelling post University to “find yourself”, taking a gap year after high school, or maybe you just want to experience a new culture and a new country, we all have our different reasons for wanting to go travelling.
Whatever they may be, don’t let not having anyone to go with keep you from taking off on that adventure.
In the last few years I’ve primarily gone it alone and I wouldn’t change that for anything. However, the first trip I took completely solo had me a little on edge, and I wish I had heard these 4 things before taking off, to help put me at ease. So here I am sharing them with you as hopefully that last little push to get you out into the world on a grand adventure…
1 – You are safe
This is a big one. The first big solo trip I went on happened to be to Central America for 2 months, and everyone in my life kept telling me how it wasn’t safe for me and told me I should choose somewhere “safer”. Was I worried? Sure, anyone would be, after all we’re only human, right? But that shouldn’t keep you from visiting somewhere you want to.
There are easy ways to ensure your safety, and it’s really all about being smart.
When you go out (day or night) no matter where you are, bring only the cash you need for the day/night, no extra, & leave your cards locked up. Safe to say (no pun intended) that you’ll meet people along the way with horror stories of being mugged or attacked, but chances are there was something else that happened to get them to that point. It can be scary, but as long as you arm yourself with common sense and are smart about things, there’s no reason for that to keep you from setting off on that trip of a lifetime.
2 – You’ll never be alone
“What if I don’t meet anyone?”, “What if no one wants to be my friend?” and countless other questions that even the most seasoned of solo travelers have asked themselves at some point or another.
Just because you leave on a trip by yourself does not by any means mean you’ll spend the entirety of your trip that way (unless it’s what you want).
Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people take off travelling solo, so chances are on your first day in the hostel you’ll see a fair few people on their own. See someone wearing a t-shirt with your favourite sports team or band on it? Someone reading a book you’ve been dying to read yourself? Use that as an ice breaker, and if not, try this old favourite “Hey, how’s it going”? It’s bound to work. You’ll realize pretty quickly just how many people are out on their own and how easy it is to form new friend groups quickly with other travelers you meet. Some of the best friends of your life could end up being people you met while traveling, thus giving you even more of an excuse to continue on traveling.
3 – Go with the flow
When you travel with your family or friends there usually comes that point where you want to do something they aren’t too keen on (or vice versa). Do you compromise? Do you give up what you want to do for them? Or will they for you? Or will you miss out on something you were really looking forward to because of it? It’s happened to me before and to be frank, it sucked.
When you travel alone that doesn’t happen. You don’t have to compromise with yourself or start an argument to get what you want.
Lay on the beach with a coconut in your hand for 3 straight days? Or take on an intense day hike to a waterfall? You can do it all! Get somewhere that doesn’t live up to what you’re expectations were? Leave. Get somewhere with a plan to stay 1 night & find some great people? Stay for more. You are your own boss and can call all the shots. So open up a map, find a few things you’d love to see & let the plans fall into place.
4 – You are more than capable
After taking off on my first solo trip I stumbled across this quote:
"As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are".
That struck me bigtime. Solo travel gives you the opportunity to exercise a confidence you may not even know you have in you. That confidence may come quickly as soon as you step onto that plane. Or maybe it’s a slow train, where midway into your trip you realize you had it in you this whole time.
Whatever it takes to bring that confidence out in you, you only have yourself to thank. Solo travel gives you a chance to rely solely on yourself and what you learn during that time is more than any teacher can teach you. Maybe someone told you that you couldn’t or maybe you told yourself that, whatever it is those doubts will fade away when you start to realize just how capable you are.
You and your new found confidence can then do whatever you set your minds on, and with the world as your oyster you have no reason not to experience it over and over again.
Do you have any tips on solo travel you’d like to share with the six-two community? We’d love to hear them. Send us your stories here.