You feel like it’s time to travel alone or you ended up being the only one about to take a trip that was meant for two or more. And now you’re scared. Let me tell you – you’re not alone! All of us solo travelers have been there at some point. And look at us – still alive and still taking trips by ourselves – some of us can’t get enough of it and ONLY travel by themselves now… Tells you something, right?
Now read about the various fears you may have which I’m about to destroy so you can take your first trip to a different country and experience the greatness of solo travel.
1. I will be alone
Unless you’re going to a secluded cabin in the woods, you will not be alone! You will meet people at your Airbnb, hotel, hostel, or wherever you’re staying. You will see people as soon as you step outside. You will have to ask people for help with directions, talk to your waiter, bartender, cashier etc. And you will meet other solo travelers because if they’re experienced, they’ll spot you and talk to you.
Also, being alone has its advantages too! You get to know yourself. You can put your own needs first and don’t have to pay attention to anyone else’s. You can eat whatever you want wherever you want it and whenever you want it – meaning you could get McDonald’s three times a day and no one would judge you. You can stare at this weird painting at an art gallery for 20 minutes without having anyone pull you away or blabbing. You can visit a sex shop or do other kinky things because no one will know you. Just have fun!
2. I will feel lonely
If the feeling of loneliness creeps up on you, tell yourself that you’re not lonely! You have your family and friends where you live and they’ll be there when you get back. And if you can’t wait to talk to them, apps such as Skype, What’sApp, Viber & Co. let you text and make free international calls as long as you have Internet. You’re NOT lonely! Learn to love spending time with yourself and you will not feel lonely anymore.
3. I will not meet anyone
– We already sorta went over this in the first argument, but, in addition, here six some super easy ways to meet people (if you really haven’t met anyone already):
– Couchsurfing, Meetup or Facebook groups (i.e. Girls LOVE Travel) are the best ways to find people/travelers with like-minded interests.
– Check out the local university or college and look for free events and attend one
– Participate in a (free) walking tour or pub crawl (offered in almost EVERY big city around the globe)
– Use dating apps such as Tinder (with caution obviously)
– Talk to someone! Whether it be your bartender or grocery store cashier or a random person on the street or in a restaurant
4. I will be somewhere where they speak a different language
So? You learn a few words of the local language before you go beforehand and the rest will be explainable with hands and feet! Also, you’re lucky because English is the most widely spoken language globally and you’ll find at least one person who speaks it literally anywhere.
5. I will not know where to go/what to do
A few decades ago this would have been a valuable argument, but hello – ever heard about something called the Internet? I’m sure, because you’re reading this right now! So just google the ish out of “things to do in XYZ” or ask locals.
6. I don’t know which restaurants are good/what to eat
To find out what to eat, ask locals at the store or a restaurant, or use Yelp or Tripadvisor. And don’t ever go to a restaurant that’s not full because you’re likely to end up with food poisoning. However, it could just be that you’re there at the wrong time. If you go out to dinner in Spain around 6, you’ll soon notice that people are not eating yet. Their dinner time starts much later; therefore, just read up on food & its customs before you go.
7. I will have to eat by myself/go to bars & clubs by myself
Yes, you will most likely have to do that, but you know what? It can be great. Treat yourself to something nice and just enjoy it. Don’t think about being alone. Other people do it too. And as mentioned so many times before now, you will meet people and not be alone for long.
8. I don’t have anyone with whom I can share my memories
Have we talked about you being not alone yet? Yes, we have. And if you still find yourself alone, yes, you have someone with whom you can share your memories: Yourself first and foremost, which is the most important. You will watch a sunset at Parque del Oeste in Madrid or the sunrise on the Charles Bridge in Prague, take a cooking class in Italy, ride on a camel through the Sahara or do whatever. Now there’s far worse things in the world that can happen to you than doing these things yourself. You’re blessed that you can even live these experiences because some people will never. So don’t fucking complain about this. And who knows if a travel partner would even be up for everything you want to do or nag while you’re doing it?
9. I will not be safe (especially females)
There are solo female travelers in every single country and they’re alive. Inform yourself as much as you can about traditions, dress code, things to do and not to do, foods to (not) eat, etc. beforehand and most importantly TRUST YOUR GUT if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. And don’t trust the media. AT ALL. If the media already influenced you, make an effort to find locals online to tell you about the place where they live because they know best.
What are you waiting for now? Just go already 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget: You have the privilege to travel. Life could be way worse!