Traveling alone is on most wanderer’s bucket list. Some aim to tick it off their list by traveling to a local destination, others may want to step up the game by traveling solo in a foreign land. Either way, most people who want to solo travel do have their own motivations that push them to explore and experience traveling all by themselves.
There are claims on certain benefits in traveling alone, which we would like to believe most are accurate and true.
Imagine being in a destination, all by yourself, appreciating its wonders, immersing yourself in a different culture, while being almost fully independent. Exciting, right?
I traveled solo for the very first time. (Read: I left my job and traveled alone)
However attractive and exciting solo traveling may be, there are things that await anyone who would like to go on such an adventure, especially for the first time.
To help you better prepare for your first (or next) solo travel, here are some of the things no one told you about traveling alone:
1. You’ll feel anxious, and that is normal.
Anxiety is a feeling everyone would have prior to embarking on a solo travel or even during the trip. It could be a trip full of uncertainties, especially if you’re heading to an unfamiliar place, more so to a foreign land. But anxiety is not always a bad thing. When you travel solo, you are to feel anxiety mixed up with excitement, happiness, and thrill. It’s a weird combination of feelings that make your solo experience even more memorable, and also fulfilling once you have overcome it.
I was very anxious on the first day of my trip. But seeing the faćade of the Grand Palace washed away (almost) all my worries throughout the rest of the trip.
2. You’ll miss company while you are traveling
If you’re used to traveling with your loved ones, friends, or family, you’ll definitely miss them while traveling alone. For the most part of the trip, you won’t have anyone to talk to. There are also times that you’d wish you could instantly share your amazement and excitement to someone else. This may seem like a sad experience, but your distance from them creates that rare opportunity not just to miss them but to also experience and appreciate everything all by yourself. Truth is, some thoughts need not be spoken or shared all the time, but the same thoughts could be forever etched in your memories.
3. Making new friends requires courage
A lot of articles about solo traveling never fail to mention that you’ll surely make a lot of new friends. At times, it could be really easy to introduce yourself to strangers, whether they are locals or fellow travelers. However, making new friends requires courage for some. If you’re a bit of the shy type, ambiverts and introverts included, then do not be surprised to feel a little bit challenged or afraid to talk to strangers. IT IS NORMAL. But, if you really want to make the most out of your solo trip, then summon all the courage to chat with your roommates or other friendly travelers. Who knows, you may really experience number 4 (below).
4. You’ll really make a lot of new friends
Once you have mustered enough courage to make new friends, expect that you’ll be really making cool friends. These new friends could come from different walks of life, different cultures, and countries. It is one of the most magical experiences you could unlock when you travel alone. You thought you are to travel alone from beginning to end but no one actually told you that your trip is not hundred percent alone in between. Don’t be surprised to find yourself chatting with a random stranger while having lunch or dinner. Or maybe find yourself enjoying a drinking game with the new buddies you met in one location. These people may have been part of your life for only a short time but they’re the ones that will make your trip worthwhile.
5. Put an extra effort to be careful
I guess it goes without saying that you have to be extra careful when traveling alone. No, it doesn’t mean that you should expect the worst. It only means that you know and accept the truth that we live in a marvellous world with some unexpected twists and turns. Familiarize yourself with the usual dangers a solo traveler may encounter. Read stories from fellow travelers online and in so doing, you’ll be vigilant enough to sense danger and raise your personal alarm if needed. However, avoid being too paranoid that something bad may always happen. Being extra careful is not always equal to lessening the fun. Strike a balance between the two and make your solo trip more memorable in a good way.
6. Fewer selfies and more photos of what your trip is all about
Let’s admit the fact that being in the digital era, we almost always make it a point to ensure we have IG-worthy photos from every destination we get to. However, since you’re traveling alone, you couldn’t always get that picture-perfect even if you ask someone to take your picture. Is it a bad thing? Definitely not! You may have fewer photos of yourself when traveling alone but, subconsciously, you also focus more, not on yourself, but to the environment you are in, the people that surround you, the rich history of each landmark, and even the simplest observations that will make you understand more about anything.
7. You may get bored at times, and it’s okay
Your pace when traveling alone is completely different when you’re traveling in a group. At times, you may find your pace too relaxed, slow, or your travel could be too quiet. And that is okay. A travel experience doesn’t always have to be in a rush or be rowdy. Take your sweet time to explore and experience. Use it as a golden opportunity to rest and enjoy yourself. And in those instances, that’s when some of the most valuable realisations and thoughts will come to you. Exactly the same reason why I am able to write this blog.
8. You’ll experience (almost) full independence
You may have experienced independence in so many ways. But traveling alone gives you a different sense of independence. It gives you the feeling of empowerment while having that sense of responsibility that whatever happens on your trip is all your doing. It will give you a sense of fulfilment that you never have imagined you’d be able to unlock. Alongside your independence is the opportunity to expose yourself to a wider horizon that will open new perspectives about yourself or even about our world. Every anxiety and challenge you’ve overcome will add up to your courage and will further make you more independent not just when traveling but possibly even in your day-to-day life.
Are you now ready for your solo travel experience? This blog may not fully prepare you for what you’ll encounter. In fact, nothing will. But how much you would enjoy solo traveling will all depend on you and how you are open to experiencing the same and bringing home lots of life lessons.
All it takes is for you is to have that courage to book that solo trip, and everything will follow.