Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Travelling Solo

Travelling solo and as a female has always made my family and some friends a tad nervous. I admit, when I first ventured on a holiday by myself it was definitely nerve-wracking, even if I told everyone else that I wasn't worried at all. But I think that's what I love about it, that nervousness that turns into excitement. That unknown journey you're about to take and seeing the changes in yourself once you come out the other side.

I think at least once in your life you need to step out of your comfort zone and throw yourself in the deep end. Book a one way/return ticket and make plans or arrangements as you go along, or travel alone, whatever it may be I think you'll be surprised at what you're capable of.

For those that are uncertain of doing something like this, I just wanted to share my reasons of why travelling solo is great. While I love being able to share memories with a fellow travel partner, I think travelling by yourself adds a different, more memorable aspect to a chosen getaway.

It is you and only you that you have to worry about and plan for. You don't have to sacrifice seeing certain sites because your friend doesn't want to, or stick to a scheduled plan as what happens most times when travelling with others.
Had an unexpected (late) night out? Don't worry, you can take that 6am bus to Chiang Mai the next day =P

Taking the 13 hour overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Locals generally tend to be helpful to all tourists in their country, however, when they do see you alone they almost become your best friend, mother, father, sister, brother, name it. Some will go out of their way to make sure you end up where you need to be, or you have somewhere to lay your head, or will help get you a good deal on a package. Having a local to help you does come in handy especially when English is not so commonly spoken in the country you're visiting.

I consider myself to be quite sociable but when you already have someone you know with you, you don't tend to speak to others as much or get to know other travelers than if you were alone. Alone you are forced (to use that term loosely) to make conversation, find out about other people and mingle. From this I guarantee you'll make at least one, two, three or more lifelong friends even if it comes down to just sharing travel stories or photos via Facebook.
Also, it's always a good story telling friends and family back home about all the interesting people you've met along the way.

In this case:
- Stay in a hostel- dorm room: You may feel nervous sharing your personal space or feel shy to speak to others but trust me, I bet majority of the people there feel the same way too. You may come from different sides of the world but you are all there for similar reasons so you already have that in common.

- Take public transport:  Try travel using the buses or trains. This is another great way to meet fellow solo travelers.

- Stay away from places that are more popular with couples or families if you can. These  kinds of places will tend to make you feel lonely.

- Join a tour group: Generally I do try stay away from these but in some cases you may have to. I experienced this in Ubud, Bali where to get to certain sites a local company had to drive you there. This meant signing up to a small tour company, however, through this I met two awesome people from Europe (both travelling alone) who I keep in contact with still.

Khao Sann Road, Thailand

I hope this helps ease those worries about taking that leap into travelling alone for your next getaway. Feel free to let me know if you need any more motivation!

Stay adventurous everyone =)