Solo Travel

Friday, 5 April 2019

If there was one piece of life advice I could give anyone, it would be to go on a SOLO adventure. It is simply the most rewarding thing you could do. I recently did a month of solo travelling around South East Asia - Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand to be exact. Don't get me wrong, it's not all smooth sailing! As a solo explorer you will experience both incredible and strange situations. Here are 6 of the main struggles I encountered over the month which I am sure my fellow solo travelers can relate to!

1. The endless explaining to family and friends why you are travelling solo.
Yup, get ready for it! Its going to happen!
I will never forget my Dad's response when I told him I was going to SE Asia alone. 'You are no such thing going on your own! Don't you have someone to go with you??'. 'Yes Dad, but I WANT to go on my OWN'. We must have had the same conversation 20 times but to no success. Some people simply just cannot comprehend why you would want to set off across the globe on your own. The truth is, there are so many reasons to solo travel which you can read about in my next blog post.

2. Making friends
The fear of going a whole month of not making friends... Looking back it was the most ridiculous fear of them all! Yes, a day or two might go by where you will literally not even hear your own voice. But I have to admit, there was not a single moment during my whole trip where I felt lonely. When you travel solo you end up meeting more people than you would have had you gone with a group of friends/boyfriend/girlfriend etc. You may not think it, but there are SO many solo travelers out there and when you meet one, you kind of bond over the fact you are both travelling alone. Your biggest chance of meeting people/making friends is at a hostel. Get chatting with your fellow dorm residents as soon as you can, chances are that they too are travelling solo looking to make some friends.

3. Dining in a restaurant alone
Sitting in a restaurant alone amongst couples and large groups can sound awkward and intimidating to some. But don't forget that this is so normal in the backpacking world, nobody is looking at you thinking 'Oh that poor girl sitting alone, she must have no friends!' Personally, I never felt awks eating alone but I know for some it is a real struggle. If you do feel awkward, bring a good book to read over dinner or use the time to reflect on the amazing places you have seen.

4. Getting lost alone
This trip definitely challenged my navigation skills! Whenever I travel with someone, I usually let the directions up to them. Shame on me I know. But when you are in unknown territory on your own where no one speaks English you have to be clued in all the time. I will admit that I bought a local SIM card in Vietnam so I would literally go, get lost and Google Maps my way back to my hostel. Am I even a real traveler? Haha.

5. Having no one to take your pictures
Ahh the struggle of taking Insta worthy pics while travelling alone is real! I know the simple solution may be 'buy a selfie stick', but noooo thank you! I do not want to be that annoying blatant looking tourist with my big backpack and selfie stick. It always feels so awkward asking random strangers to take your picture, especially if you're trying to get that creative shot with a questionable pose. (Example of awkward shot taken by stranger below.. haha) But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! If you don't have a picture did you ever really go there?

6. Grabbing a taxi alone. After hearing numerous scary taxi stories from fellow solo travelers, this was something I was a bit hesitant about doing alone. However, I can honestly say that I never once felt endangered whilst in a taxi. I do have two pieces of advice - only use trusted taxi companies and always ask the price BEFORE you step foot into a car.

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