I know for many, the thought of traveling solo can be a very daunting thing. To explore a foreign place, not knowing anyone, not even speaking the language and survive… much less have a good time? Eeeek! Often, this is the point when the idea just drops. Now let’s sit down and run over a few things, grab your choice of comfort liquid and I’ll share my list of reasons why I believe traveling solo can be very rewarding!
1) Learn to hold yourself capable. From planning, taking care of yourself, being more aware of your own surroundings – you learn to TRUST yourself, your gut instincts and inner compass.
2) Let go. Depending on your traveling nature, if you plan days during your trip where you have nothing to do but roam and chill out at your own leisurely pace, one can really learn the value and beauty of taking your own “sweet time”. Often when we are at home, we have a pile of to-do’s and subconscious stressors that run us no matter how much down time we have. But when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply “be”.
3) Make new friends and be open to learning. Get out of your comfort zone! Introverts, you will be making new friends and meeting people from all walks of life wherever you go. I was exploring temples in Narita last year when a friendly older lady came by and asked me if I knew the history of the place. Upon my response, she enthusiastically decided to take the next two hours out of her day to show me her village. She did her best to use what english she knew, mixed with body language to show me where and how everything started in her village. By the time she had to go, she apologized for having to leave due to being late for making dinner at home! It was the most adorable, yet educational lesson.
when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply ‘be’.
4) Overcome the fear of eating alone or sitting alone. I used to be one of those people who hated eating alone. I would rather not eat at all than be seen eating all by myself. Now that I’m writing it out, and thinking of it I’m laughing because it seems so silly now. However, I know there are many who find it very uncomfortable to do this. With a shift in mindset, especially when it comes to traveling solo, you may find yourself being alone and eating alone quite often. A way I overcome this is, if anyone asks, is I proudly say, “I’m on a date with myself”. It’s a serious act of self-love! Own that time you have to yourself, allow that silly, uncomfortable feeling to bubble up and also allow that to leave your psyche. Your soul will thank you later! Remember, you need love from yourself too!
On top of all the amazing stories you will be able to share with your grandchildren, your experiences from travelling solo will no doubt strengthen your independence, self-confidence, openness and trust.
Tip for beginners traveling solo:
- Visit places where you speak the language
- Visit places where you may have some friends/family around just in case you want to have a point of comfort
- Research everything. Especially the potential ‘scams’, they change all the time and it is important to do your own due diligence in terms of safety
- Unlock your phone, get local data and buy a really good external charger! That phone GPS is what got me through Europe and Asia with a breeze. Don’t cheap out on this!
- EMERGENCY FUNDS – unexpected things happen during travel all the time, some countries won’t grant you a visa unless you have x amount of $ in your bank account
- Yes, get travel insurance. You never know!
- Know that HOME SICK is a very real and emotional thing. Start off traveling in shorter time frames like 7-10 days, and once you feel good about that, you can challenge yourself to 3-6 months+!
Lastly, a Facebook group I highly recommend to join for ladies who love traveling, is “Girls Love Travel” #GTL. They are a wonderfully positive and supportive group of Wanderlusters around the world. Many ladies in this group have extensive experience in traveling solo, and it’s a good place to start if you want to make new friends around the world.
DON’T CANCEL YOUR TRIP, FOLLOW THROUGH, HAVE AN AMAZING TIME! YOU CAN DO IT!
If you are a seasoned solo traveller, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share your experiences and tips in the comments below.