I do get asked why I travel solo often. The normal comments I get when I tell people I’m going to another country solo consist of “why are you going abroad alone?”, “you’re brave travelling on your own” and “I’m scared to travel by myself”.
Beginning of last year, I said to myself to travel more often and have the balls, I mean the real strong cojones to go abroad solo once in a while. I was quietly sh*tting myself at the thought of solo travel and I had the fear at the back of my mind on bad things that could happen when I’m alone.
So many “what ifs” ran through my mind. What if I get hurt? What if I get robbed? What if I get lost? What if I get sick? What if I get scammed? And the worry began to overwhelm me.
Then I looked at the positives. I’ll be able to visit places I’ve never been before, exploring cities I’ve always wanted to travel to, creating new memories and taking photos that I’ll cherish for a long time.
I thought to myself “I can do this. I’m capable” and I stuck to my gut instincts and decided that I must go on a solo trip this year. I began to peruse for cities that I wanted to visit and decided to have my first solo trip somewhere close to home. My sister has travelled abroad on her own a couple times so I drew inspiration from her.
So I booked a Eurostar train to Brussels back in January for an overnight stay. I was anxious before departing London for Belgium but after arriving in Brussels, familiarising myself with the surroundings and having good navigation skills, I wandered around the small city blissfully and felt very safe.
Having that initial solo trip made me feel more confident to visit other cities that captured my attention. Yes, at times I do prefer having a travelling companion, but I do enjoy my own company and I’ve been able to visit places on my own without being held back by the fact that I’m unable to have someone go with me .
My family members do worry about me going abroad on my own as they see things happening on TV and other sources of media and always remind me to keep safe and be aware of everything around me.
So what do I say to those that wish to go abroad solo one day?
- Follow you gut instincts: Do you want an impulse holiday? Feeling for a relaxing getaway? Don’t hesitate and go for it.
- Always keep your eyes open: Things can happen at any time, good or bad. You have to be ready to react and stay alert.
- Have backups: Whether it’s passport and driving license copies, emergency money and bank cards, medication, extra clothing, electronics. Make sure you’re readily prepared if events happen during your trip.
- Invest in a camera and a tripod, even get a selfie stick: Got to capture those great holiday moments. It’s a must.
- Engage: It’s simple really, especially if you’re lost or need assistance. You have to learn to strike up a conversation with locals and fellow tourists when getting around a new destination.
- Polite & firm manners: You do get locals trying to entice you to buy things or eat at their establishments almost everywhere. Don’t be easily persuaded. I like to do the “smile & no” action where I just smile and say “no thank you” and keep it moving.
- Have fun and explore: Don’t be boring and stay in a hotel room. Get out and see the sights, join a tour, undertake an activity, try out new cuisines and discover different environments.
I put aside my worries and fears and visited some beautiful cities and towns this year and I haven’t looked back. I encourage others to do the same when the opportunities arise.
Plan. Book. Travel. Enjoy.