Stepping on to a plane that would take me across the world to an unknown place, away from my friends, my family, my comfort, filled me with a lot of anxiety there’s no denying that. The idea of travelling alone is a daunting one to most, and there are many exaggerated stories to deter you from ever taking the step.
IS IT DANGEROUS?!
Thousands of men and women backpack across the world and return home safely every year. The media loves to exaggerate one unfortunate scenario and make this the poster face of solo travel. But travelling alone is just about using your intuition and common sense! You have an equal chance of something going wrong if you’re not using your intuition on a normal night out!
Always “trust your gut” as cliché as it is, it’s true. If you’re uncomfortable in a situation at any point, remove yourself. It’s OKAY to say no, or to get up and leave! Your safety comes first.
If you’re unable to remove yourself from a situation, i.e. you’re lost or you’re in a taxi with a dodgy driver, this is key! It’s difficult when you’re afraid and the adrenaline kicks in, but take deep breaths, stand tall, lower your voice when speaking; these are subliminal signs of power that will help reduce your chances of seeming vulnerable. Always have a story about who you’re going to meet, and never confess to people you’re alone (like i said common sense).
RESEARCH the research, you’ve already researched!
From where you’re staying, where you will get food, routes you will take, research all of this before hand! Certain cultures have etiquettes, formalities, dress codes; make sure you know all this before entering. These are all necessary grounds to build so that you can have fun being spontaneous without fear ruining your day!
This will hit us all at some point, we’re completely out of our comfort zone, surrounded by the unfamiliar.
BUT with the unfamiliar comes novelty and there will always be new things for you to experience. When you are alone it’s do or die, so you force yourself to talk to people and make friends. You’re also far more approachable to people because you’re alone, if they’re fellow travellers too, you will have a lot in common to talk about! This is where you will connect with people from different backgrounds and ages and you will surprise yourself with the beautiful connections you were able to make.
Regardless, even isolation is not as bleak as it seems. Spending time alone with yourself, and your own thoughts may seem uncomfortable at first but it will give birth to a multitude of realisations about your life and the path you’re walking. The triumph you feel when you have overcome the difficulties in front of you, will teach you to be resourceful, and give you resilience for the problems you feel face ahead.
Travelling alone will motivate you to question every aspect of your life. By detouring away from life’s mundanities you gain perspective on what you want to spend the rest of your time doing. You are your own boss and it will teach you to cut down all the excess whether it’s physical matter or an emotional weight you carry; the job you force yourself through, the relationships that drag you back, the clutter in your wardrobe; whatever it may be!
It will teach you patience, to not jump to the comfort and convenience that is hollow, but to put blood and sweat in to climbing to a top where you are content with the view.
“Treading forth in the new environment, dealing with conflicts, real or cognitive, slaying the dragon, solving the conundrum, the existential itch, and making the return with a new lesson learned. The curtain parts and what has never been seen is devoured by the eyes.”
~ Jason Silva