5 Things I Learned by Travelling Solo
For all those out there considering a solo adventure, this is for you. To hopefully inspire and instill in you the spirit and excitement of solo travel and to help you remember that you are braver and tougher than you think you are.
When I decided to go to Patagonia in 2016 I knew it would most likely be a solo trip. All my friends at the time had jobs or families that wouldn’t let them just drop everything and run away to South America and I wasn’t going to miss my chance. Many people thought I was brave to go alone but I didn’t think twice because I had read about and met numerous women who had travelled alone to far flung places. Inspired by them, I knew that this adventure was possible and probably not as scary as people think. Also, my mum wasn’t worried either so that helped!
My trip taught me so many things about solo travel but here are my top 5 …
1. You are never truly alone
This is probably the most important one. I made some wonderful friends on my solo trip. I met truly like-minded people who were all on their own journeys for their own reasons and I now share amazing memories with them. Staying at hostels and campsites makes it so easy to just start up conversations with those around you. I met several people in hostels who then joined me for various legs of my trip which was fantastic. One in particular was the fabulous Xin, founder of Koala Travels the World blog who travelled solo around the world for two years – check out her blog, its great.
You must also remember to trust and befriend local people. You are travelling in their country and they are the ones with the real knowledge and experience. All the local people I met on my travels were kind and caring and went out of their way to help and support me at every turn. Learn at least some of the local language(s) as this will be your most valuable currency. Being able to communicate with people makes you feel safer, more confident and opens doors to friendship and experiences you would never get without.
2. Making decisions alone is a valuable real life skill
Only having yourself to consult when making a decision is a great skill to learn. It prepares you for life choices and teaches you that you don’t have to rely on others – that you can make decisions yourself and that you can deal with the outcome.
3. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want
Not having to check what your buddy/ girlfriend/ boyfriend etc wants to do before planning your day is really refreshing. Being able to have a chill day without feeling guilty or not being stuck in when your travel buddy is hungover is really great. You can choose when to eat, where to go and what do according to your own agenda. Yes it is fab to travel with friends but sometimes its really nice to just do your own thing.
4. Its not ok to cling onto constant connection to those at home via social media etc
The world is so connected now that it is so easy not to feel far from home but it can also be a little too easy to hold onto the comfort blanket and stay in constant contact with friends and family at home. Remember to cut the cord and enjoy your travels. It is so much better to make your friends and family jealous with epic Instagram pics having adventures with your new friends than missing out on something because you are too tangled up in staying in touch with home.
5. Its ok to feel lonely
Being alone is hard and generally quite unusual in our modern society so its ok to feel lonely and a little sad. Don’t get yourself down for feeling a little low and not like the fabulous independent women (or man) that you are. You will have hard times but you will also have wonderful ones and you will always make new friends and see new things which will make the few lonely moments totally worthwhile. Remember to cherish the quiet times because sometimes you will be surrounded by so many new people and experiences that you will dream of the lonely days.
All that is left to say is enjoy your solo travels, make incredible memories as they will be some of the best experiences of your life.