What it's really like to travel solo

A lot of people want to travel, there's no question to that. There are those who want to spend their holidays abroad with their friends and loved ones, and there are those who are like me who prefer to do it alone.

The most thrilling thing the minute I turned 18 is the fact that I was already legally capable of travelling alone. Finally, no more unaccompanied minor restrictions! I was 18 when I took a big trip to Europe. When I started telling people I would be travelling by myself for almost 3 months, their reactions were all very similar. 

I've come to notice that quite a number of you guys wish to go on a lone travel venture. Then again, I have also observed that because of distinct reasons, a lot of you are hesitant to pursue your dream solo adventure. 

Solo travel can work for anyone, whether you’re single, in a relationship, extroverted, or introverted, and I’d like to help you settle your indecision by debunking common myths and misconceptions about travelling solo.

 

 

"IT'S A SCARY BIG WORLD OUT THERE."

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Myth

You'll get lost. You'll look foolish and others will take advantage of you. A lot of people will say that it'll be too dangerous, especially for women. 

Reality

It is a big world but it’s not as daunting as you think. It’s a big world and it’s so big that there’s so much to learn and so many things to try. Comfort zones are very special places but there’s hardly anything that sprouts in there. You’ll feel it as a healthy push and a big act of courage to embrace the beauty, diversity and exoticism that the world has to offer. 

You’ll find being a lost a good thing. It urges you to ask the right questions. You become more streetwise. The secret ingredient to staying safe abroad is staying alert. Everyone faces risks on the road, not just women. To be honest, there's a higher chance of meeting someone familiar abroad that getting into any kind of accident. Don’t forget your safety precautions! :)

 

"IT GETS SO LONELY."

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Myth

You're all alone and isolated. You'll easily feel homesick. 

Reality

You'll be surprised with the number of foreigners who also want to share their stories and adventures. There's this inexplicable feeling of delight when you make new friends. In most cases, meeting strangers is what molds your entire experience to feel more homely.  

You can't deny that sometimes company can slow you down. Do what you want when you want. When you travel alone there is no need to compromise on timing, destination or activities. You’re not dragged to uninteresting places and you never feel that you’re dragging others along on quests that are not of interest to them.

With bus journeys, sightseeing, dining, and constantly meeting new people, it’s difficult to feel really isolated or lonely! In those moments in between, solo travel can be a lesson in appreciating and enjoying your own company and that can also be a very worthwhile experience. Isolation becomes a nourishing opportunity for you to get to know yourself better and become more decisive. 

And even when you miss your family and friends back at home, remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

 

 

"IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE."

 

Myth

I have to pay for expensive accommodation. I have to pay for expensive food. I have to pay for expensive transportation.

Reality

Yes, no travel is free. Nonetheless, there's always away to stay penny-wise even when you're travelling. You can try couch-surfing and homestay. In fact, I even slept in airports and train stations and trust me it's no different from staying in a hotel. Who said you need to have extravagant meals everytime? Why not try local dishes and street foods? You are also less likely to buy souvenirs and useless gadgets. More importantly, your travel companion might prefer more convenient and expensive way of travelling and it’s sometimes awkward to say “Sorry, it’s too expensive for me”.

You'll learn to share more with strangers and live more like a local. Experiences are way more valuable than things. Plus, there are plenty of prospects for you to work while you're travelling. 

 

"SOLO ADVENTURES ARE FOR needy SINGLES ONLY."

 

Myth

People back at home and foreigners will judge you for being such a loner.

Reality

Going solo raises respect, concern and curiosity from others. People tend to neglect that travelling solo is not just travelling by yourself but more so, travelling for yourself. it is more likely that people consider you an empowered individual rather than a lonesome fellow. It's not a matter of whether you're dating or not, rather, it's matter of whether you want to do it for yourself or not. You realize that travel is more of a gift rather than a luxury. 

 

 

"IT wouldn't make a difference."

 

 

Myth

Basically, you won't really get anything out of it.

Reality

You get to try so many new things. You might end up going on that once in a lifetime experiences that you never would have done if you’d been in the comfort of your own region and friends – You Only Live Once.

You overcome Your Fears. What does not kill you, makes you stronger and that’s so true. When you are left on your own, you start fighting for what really matters to you. You overcome the fear of heights, darkness, spiders or even new food. The more you travel, the less you fear. As long as you make regular solo trips, you will feel more confident each time, no matter what your fear is which is also a good excuse to travel regularly.

There's this unparalleled chance of growth and self-confidence. Traveling alone, with no distractions, will enable you to really see the world around you and make you realize what you take for granted. All of those skills developed and practiced while traveling alone build confidence. Every solo traveler I’ve ever met has said that they became a more capable and confident person thanks to traveling alone.

 
 

My own advice is to take the plunge. Once you land wherever you decide to go, you’ll feel empowered enough that all your concerns about feeling lonely will wash away. I channel the zen from my trip whenever I feel stressed out–and it’s true that wanderlust is contagious. I hope this post helped you one way or another. If you asked me what my ultimate solo travel destination is, I'd say that would be Mongolia. How about you? What is your ultimate dream solo adventure?

xx Tienne

PS: Check out, To-Go List: Europe