You find yourself continuously dreaming about what it would be like to travel to Cancun on the Gulf of Mexico. You can already taste the sweet or dry homemade Italian wine. You get chills once you start thinking of the cold wind touching your face on a hike in the Himalayas. You can already imagine what your best Instagram photo would look like in the Cyclades Islands of Greece.
There might be a few more travel dreams not mentioned above, but all said and done, leaving everything behind or the thought of going to another country scares you. To even consider the possibility of traveling alone is not a question.
It’s normal to feel this way, especially when everything to you at the moment is easy. You live in a familiar place, understand the language, know how to drive and navigate public transportation. Putting effort into something new and unfamiliar can be scary, especially when you run the risk that something might go wrong.
But have you thought that in doing it wrong, and making mistakes, you might learn how to travel, right? Travel isn’t too bad, but it can go south if you let it. After traveling alone as a woman, I am impulsed to share why I strongly feel that it’s okay to travel alone and at least do it once in your life.
You Go At Your Own Pace
Traveling with people that you know can, of course, be so much more fun and give you a feeling of comfort that you’re not alone. However, you will find moments where you’re forced to negotiate with your friend’s several aspects. These include what sites to visit, at what times to leave, and plan days that coincide with everyone’s schedule.
Therefore, traveling alone allows you to be the pilot of your journey. There might be a time during your trip when you will find yourself making tweaks to your itinerary. You have the opportunity to make changes to your trip without running it by anyone.
Secondly, some of the common assumptions of a new traveler are that you are alone the entire time. Nevertheless, being alone is your window into meeting new people from all over the world. You might meet others at your hostel or hotel. I’ve experienced meeting people this way and would find myself hanging out with them or sightseeing together throughout my trip.
You Overcome Fear
At this moment, if you’re reading this, most likely you haven’t traveled alone yet. The fear of doing so might come from hearing horror stories, watching the news of some distant places, or reading media online. The simple truth is that the media and society tend to mold our minds only to see the negative.
Remember, there here are people who have traveled alone and visited these places despite what the media says. My first trip out of the country was India and done solo. Could you imagine the kind of feedback I received before I left?
Listen, you are not alone in your fear. In this modern era, we have more tools than ever to make a ‘going alone’ trip better than we imagined. It starts with doing your research and more importantly having the willpower in believing everything will go right. It might sound a bit cliche, but it’s very accurate. If you do your homework, you will understand what places should be avoided, and can steer clear of them.
Lastly, don’t put yourself in the mindset that something is bound to go wrong. Begin believing that everything will unfold beautifully. If something does go south like getting lost, or the hotel didn’t have your reservation: are you honestly going to give up? You’ve made it this far, and, at that point, deciding to go back home will be at the bottom of your list. But again, don’t start picturing those scenarios in your head.
Of course, cover your bases in case of an emergency in which you must go back.
Once you’re leaving, there is no turning back. You’ll feel shaky and antsy, but that’s you either battling fear within or overjoyed with excitement. You, my friend, have overcome the fear challenge.
You Become More Confident
Becoming more confident begins from the start of planning and researching your trip. I am going to use my India trip again as an example, mostly because it’s not a typical country for one to choose to visit, especially alone and for the first time.
Before going, I spoke to a lot of people and read many articles about traveling to the country. The feedback I received from those who never went tended to be negative. Though when speaking to travelers who have been to India and researching online, I received some of the most excellent advice!
As a result, my confidence level skyrocketed, and I felt that I would be able to manage scenarios or navigation well. I learned basic lingo like thank you and no, how to negotiate for a better deal, and how to avoid scams. I am not confirming that I had it all together, though it did make communication and deciding in things with a high level of confidence.
When you are knowledgeable and start taking actions like getting from one city to another via train: you will feel and become more confident.
One vital point to remember is not to make yourself look vulnerable when you’re out in public. The moment you step onto new land, keep your chest high and act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Travelers who make themselves look weak and naive are an easy target for people with less than good intentions.
Discover A Brand New You
Taking into account everything mentioned above and putting it together, you will then unleash a brand new YOU. Once you begin to try new things and see new places, the feeling of accomplishment will take over.
That same feeling is and will almost nostalgic.
Consequently, you’ll know the taste of different foods, maybe learn a new language, discover new cultural practices, meet many people, and have a different outlook on life.
Again, the feeling you’ll have is inexpressible; it just needs to be experienced. But once you have it, you will find yourself chasing that feeling. You’ll feel the impulse to explore more and continue on the adventurous mode.
They say traveling is the best teacher, and it is. You’re going to learn a great deal that a book wouldn’t be able to teach. And if you decide to apply what you learn while you’re traveling, you’ll soon see a more enhanced version of yourself.
Unleashing this brand new version of yourself is going to be a massive eye-opener. Instead of dreaming of what it will be like to be in Cancun, on the islands of Thailand, hiking through the jungle in Peru, or tasting authentic Chinese food in China, go!
Traveling alone will be the self-empowerment you need to conquer anything else that life throws at you.