Remember a few weeks ago I started that little series ‘Traveller Tips’, in an effort to turn these blog posts into something a little more useful than just bragging about my life. Yeah, well here we are with another one. This time it’s all about Solo Travel.
Whenever I talked about my plans for travel or even now that I’m actually doing it, whenever I tell people about the adventures, I get asked one of two things. Firstly “How do you do it alone?” and the second one, is a topic I’ll discuss in a future Traveller Tips post, ‘How do you afford it?” In all honesty, if you flashback to my life just 3 years ago, I was one of those people who wouldn’t do anything alone. Even going to the shops, I’d wait until I was with a friend. I always needed to be surrounded by people, that the idea of doing things alone just freaked me out. So to jump forward to today and to see me travelling the world alone… I’d say I’ve made some pretty drastic improvements. Needless to say though, It’s hard. It’s not easy deciding to pack everything up and move around the world, let alone doing it alone. Yes I have family in New Zealand but absolutely nobody supports me, guides my decisions or influences my next step. Everything is down to me.
So today I’m going to share with you, my experience of solo travel, how I came to actually do it and the tips you’re going to need to survive in the big wide world.
// Solo Travel – Get Over It \\
My biggest fear and personal hang up was all about what other people thought of me. If I was walking around an attraction on my own, I’d wonder if people are looking at me and judging me for being alone. Or if I was eating in a cafe alone, I’d be thinking everyone is staring at me for being there alone. So my number 1 tip is get over it. Absolutely nobody is paying attention to what you’re doing, who you’re with or where you are. Everyone is caught up on their own lives, enjoying the attractions or just genuinely so uninterested, they don’t have time to stop and wonder about you. Plenty of people do it, plenty of people sit in cafes alone, you’re not the only one.
A tip for when you are in a cafe or restaurant alone though, make sure you have a distraction. I use that time to write up blog posts or update social media. Keep yourself distracted and you’ll soon end up in your own little bubble. It’s also great for some down time. Use the time to stop, regroup and gather your thoughts before heading out on the road again.
// Solo Travel – Make Friends \\
We all know the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. Nobody just goes out one day and thinks “I’m going to make a new friend today”… that’s not how life works. However when you’re on the road, going it alone and living that solo travel life, it’s important to make friends and have a point of contact. If not for company, then for safety. The ways in which I’ve made friends on the road are probably 2 of the most basic. Social media & working. Instagram is a great way of meeting up with likeminded people who are close to you. Just search the hashtag of the location you’re in and hundreds of profiles are going to pop up. Arrange a time to meet, go out and shoot some pictures or just meet for a drink. Trust me, it’s easier than you think.
As for work, this is probably the best and most organic way to meet people. If you plan to work whilst you travel, look for work in hospitality. It’s such a social environment that in no time, you’ll be invited out to a party, a late night macca’s run or just to chill down the beach. This is a great way to meeting fellow travellers as well as the locals. Some of the best friends I have, I met through hospo work. Check out my blog post >> HERE << all about working in Hospitality… it’s not an easy ride.
// Solo Travel – Be Smart \\
It’s just you out there. You’ve only got yourself to rely on so make good decisions. People will try and put the fear into you before your journey has even began. They’ll make out the world is a big, scary place and full of bad people just out to get you. Yes, the world is big and yes it can be scary, but no, not everyone is out to get you. Naturally you’re going to come across some places worse than others so it’s all about having your whits about you and being smart.
For example, make sure you’re not flashing your wealth. I’ve said it countless times before, but in some countries even having an iPhone is seen to be extreme wealth. So if you’re carrying multiple cameras, as well as your iPhone, I’d maybe think twice before getting it out. It also goes for the bag you’re carrying. Make sure you have some pretty solid pockets to hide things and some good security so people can’t easily access your stuff.
Then when it comes to navigation, it’s the good old trick of going inside a cafe to read the map. If you’re lost, don’t just stand in the middle of the street on your phone, looking like a total tourist. Hop into a shop or cafe, subtly check your phone to see where you are and then walk on with confidence. The moment people sense vulnerability is the moment they’ll strike. Lock the doors of your car when you’re driving. You know, just being smart with the decisions you make. It’s an epic journey you’re about to go on so don’t let it be spoilt by a silly mistake or a bad decision.
// Solo Travel – Confidence \\
This kind of ties everything together but a huge one is confidence. Confidence in yourself to believe you can do it. You can go out there, stand on your own two feet and navigate your way around some of the most amazing countries you’ll ever visit. Confidence in the way you get around, through the good times and the bad. Have confidence in yourself that whatever the journey is going to throw at you, you’re going to be absolutely fine.
When it comes to meeting people, have confidence to get out there and talk with them. Get to know them, listen to their story and have confidence in telling them yours. Confidence is key. And with a little confidence, you’re going to go so far.
I hope that’s helped in answering a few of those burning questions when it comes to solo travel and fingers crossed it might help some of you decide whether travel is for you or not. It’s 2019, what better time to get out there, than now! There is no denying it’s a huge decision but without a doubt, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It really isn’t as scary as you might think.
I touched on it previously, but I plan on writing up another one of these posts all about the financial side of travelling, so stay tuned for that. But for now, that’s it from me. I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
| By Harrison |