Solo Travel By Lizzie / March 13, 2015 Share Tweet Share Traveling alone is rewarding in so many ways, but lots of people are scared to take that first step. I mean, navigating the world on your own sounds pretty overwhelming, so what you should know before you go? If you’re an explorer at heart and can’t wait to jet off on your next adventure but you’re just waiting for a friend to free up their diary so they can come too, don’t. Seriously, just bite the bullet at get out there on your own. Quick Navigation Figure out what you’re scared of It’s not as scary as you think There is no right or wrong way to travel Be prepared to wait around Learn to laugh at yourself You will learn a lot about yourself It will blow your mind You can do it! So many people travel the world alone every single day which means that if they can do it, you can do it too! It also means that there’s loads of solo travelers out there waiting for you to befriend them on the road. Sure, trying to get directions from someone who doesn’t speak a word of the same language as you can seem pretty daunting, but there are far more benefits that should push aside that little niggling feeling in the back of your mind. Right, let’s get to it. If you’re ready to step out into the big wide world on your own, here are a few things you should know before you go. Figure out what you’re scared of Okay, first things first. Nobody’s fearless. Everyone has a fear of some kind, especially if they’re about to blast themselves into the unknown. If you’re worried that you won’t be understood, try and brush up on your language skills before you go or print out some flashcards with a few important phrases on. If you’re worried about meeting people, practice your social skills before you go – head out to bars, events, and meet-ups alone and work that smile. The best way to lessen your fears is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Click to Tweet It’s not as scary as you think If everyone listened to everything the media said about the world, no one would ever leave their house. We’d all be holed up in front of the news waiting for something bad to happen. Good news – the media is almost never right. They have a nasty habit of scaremongering, especially when it comes to travel. Just know this: it’s never as scary as you think it is and, anyway, how will you know unless you get out there and try it for yourself? There is no right or wrong way to travel Don’t feel pressured by what other people think is the ‘right’ thing to do. You don’t have to slum it in the Amazon jungle for six months to ‘find yourself’. I mean, if that’s what you want to do then, sure, go ahead. But if you like sitting in cafes in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or taking photos of the Sydney Opera House then that’s absolutely fine, too! Whilst you’re traveling you’ll likely find what things you like and don’t like doing, so just make sure you end up doing more of the things you do like doing. There are no winners or losers when it comes to travel – just don’t let yourself down by trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Be prepared to wait around So many people think that travel is go, go, go all the time. Here’s a secret: it’s not. In fact, there will be a lot of waiting around, whether that’s when you’re waiting for transport or waiting for the next opening slot at that attraction. When you’re traveling alone, waiting always seems like so much longer that it really is. To keep any frustrated thoughts at bay, make sure you have a good book or a notepad or something that will keep you busy while you wait. Learn to laugh at yourself Traveling isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, as much as people like to tell you it is. It can also be challenging, frustrating and, if you’re doing it by yourself, really lonely. There will be times when you’re exasperated at having to explain yourself in a language you don’t understand, when you’re tired and mad because the people in your dorm room insist on having a party every single night, when you’re missing home and don’t feel like leaving your room at all. Traveling solo is rewarding, but it’s also extremely testing and filled with tricky situations. If you want to get through it without having a minor breakdown then it’s a good idea to learn not to take yourself too seriously. Keep it light-hearted and your travels will follow suit. Remember, if in doubt, brush it off, pick yourself up, and carry on! You will learn a lot about yourself The vast majority of people who travel alone start out in the first place to learn more about the world around them, but they end up coming back having learnt more about themselves. When exploring on your own you’ll be spending a helluva lot of time with yourself, you’ll quickly learn your likes and dislikes, and you’ll learn about the situations you enjoy and the ones you want to avoid at all costs. You’ll also learn that you are so much stronger and braver than you ever could have imagined. You’ll learn that you are a great person and, most of all, you will learn to love yourself with every week you spend outside of your comfort zone. It will blow your mind You see pictures of incredible places every day from the screen of your laptop. You think ‘wow, that’s pretty’, but you can never prepare yourself for what it will feel like seeing beautiful landscapes and iconic landmarks in person. Every day whilst traveling alone you’ll come across people, places, and scenarios that open your eyes, give you an insight into different lifestyles, and situations that make you stop and think. Forget all your preconceptions because these will immediately be thrown out the window. You can do it! It’s hard, it’s scary, and it’s something you never thought you’d do, but take my advice – you can absolutely do it. Trust in people around the world, trust in your gut instincts, and trust those other solo travelers who have got it sorted. Now get out there and see the world! Have you traveled solo before? What advice would you have given yourself before you went?