I was 17 years old turning 18, when I first travelled by myself. I remember being fully convinced that I was going to die on the flight to my destination. Obviously, that didn't happen, but then again, the fear of crashing was soon replaced by malicious cockroaches who turned me into a totally freaked out roach killing ninja.
Travelling by yourself is a self-discovering journey. As Oscar Wilde so nicely puts it; "I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person."
You will discover who you are when you're not around the people who are a part of your everyday life and be able to feel fully alive & free when only having to focus on your own experiences and feelings.
So, why do I think you should travel solo?
You will realize how resourceful, brilliant and independent you are. Travelling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully. You will discover new talents + interests and build your confidence.
Since you're only being responsible for yourself, it is inevitable that you will discover just how resourceful and capable you are. You will learn how to stand alone, and when to be smart enough to ask for help.
Visit the local library and read for hours, eat gelato for breakfast, lunch and dinner, spend two days chilling in your hotel room or take a cooking class to learn the secrets of the local cuisine. You will figure out what you like & who you are, and live life to your own rhythm.
And unless you lock yourself in your room the whole stay and not even open the door for room service, you will never be really alone. There are people to meet everywhere. In the lobby. In the neighbourhood. On the bus. You name it. Strangers can end up becoming lifelong friends and who knows, you might even meet and befriend other solo travellers!
Since I have a very limited amount of energy, it is important for me & my health to to be able to dictate my own agenda. Solo travelling is perfect for that.
I can start my day in silence and stillness by reading a book while drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and when I'm ready, I head out for adventures. I visit food markets, museums or I walk trails. And when I start feeling like I'm due some alone time, I withdraw and find myself a place where I can recharge, like an intimate & quiet café, a park or the place where I'm staying.
I thought it would be fun to share a few of my best tips when it comes to this solo travel thingy and I hope you will find them helpful! Enjoy!
Think twice before choosing accommodation:
Because travelling on your own leaves you more vulnerable than travelling with someone you know, it's important to think twice before choosing where you're going to live. Do you prefer the freedom of living by yourself or do you want to live with other people? Is the neighbourhood safe? Cockroaches or ants, which do you prefer?
The first time I travelled outside Scandinavia I stayed with someone who I didn't know well before going there. We turned out to be an awful match and the apartment I was staying in happened to be a cockroach war zone in a very unsafe neighbourhood. It was a living nightmare, but also pretty hilarious.
After experiencing all sorts of accommodation situations, I've learned to think twice before choosing where to live. So yeah, think twice, and try to always follow your intuition. Your future self will thank you for that.
Fake confidence and act more like a local:
Looking like a confused and lost tourist is an open invitation for creepy strangers. Dress and act more like a local (meaning not wearing gym shoes everywhere). Fake confidence and be aware of your body language. Use your phone instead of a map, or step into a shop or café before pulling it out.
Since you're probably going to do a lot of activities by yourself, people might assume that you are in desperate need of company. If that's not the case - this is where you learn to set healthy boundaries. Respect yourself instead of appeasing a stranger and simply tell the person in front of you that you want to be alone.
Follow your intuition:
When something seems off, it usually is.
Share your experience:
It can be as simple as calling your family via Skype, writing a status on Facebook or keeping up with your social media presence. Since you're not having anyone who watches your back, it's good to know that someone knows where you are if there is some kind of emergency.
Put a ring on it:
When being a solo female traveller, things can be a bit tricky. Some men can be really aggressive or persistent when they sense you're alone. It's okay to lie, to just walk away or walk into the lobby of a different hotel than where you're staying. You will save yourself from a lot of trouble and your safety is more important than being polite and truthful. A cheap silver or golden ring is also a great thing to have because having a ring on your finger suddenly makes you a little less available and interesting.
Have someone take your photo:
Just because you're alone it doesn't mean you can't have pictures of yourself. Bringing a tripod on your adventures - especially if you're going to walk a lot - might be more of a burden than helpful, so ask someone if they can take your photo. Teenagers, young women and Asians are typically a good bet. Also, you can always get yourself one of these.
Travelling by yourself can be amazingly rewarding and addictive, something I think everyone should try at least once their lives if they have the possibility to do it. "Don't be afraid to walk alone. Don't be afraid to like it" - John Mayer.
Have you travelled solo before? Would you add something to this list? Also, would you like more travelling posts like this one? Share your thoughts + stories in the comment section!