How is traveling solo
“Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.”
– Holstee Manifesto
Solo travel is an experience like no other and something I strongly recommend everyone to try at least once in their life. Being able to explore the world distraction free on your own time and own itinerary is truly something special.
My first solo trip was a couple of years prior to traveling South America. I left friends after our recent surf trip in Bali and boarded a plane by myself on route to Japan. The flight to Tokyo had just been booked only weeks before leaving so it didn’t allow much pre-planning.
Landing in an unfamiliar country is always daunting for the first time. Throw in being on my own makes the realisation raw and exciting. My first thought will always be that perhaps I should have taken up those Japanese lessons before leaving. But in reality that is why I travel. To soak up the culture, the people, the language, the food, the adventure. This was my first experience where I could only rely on myself and no-one else around me that I could trust. Did anything go terribly wrong? No. Could have it? Sure. But, that is what real travel is all about.
Nothing too bad happened. I got lost. Plenty of times. I ate stuff that I didn’t know what it was because I couldn’t understand the menu. I got food poisoning and became ill. It happens. However, the people were super friendly and interesting. The sights were spectacular. The food was out of this world. Obviously, traveling is not all roses all the time, but, what I can say and what I have learnt from travel is that, the good experiences far outweigh the bad ones. And on the plus side, the lessons you learn from making bad choices and being in the wrong situations are totally priceless and give you valuable life lessons.
You might also hear people talk about how they ‘find themselves’ or become ‘enlightened’ through solo travel. I have always been a positive person with a good outlook on life, so for me, whenever I heard these terms mentioned I thought they sounded a little fake and honestly BS. Maybe because I believe that anyone can become whatever they want to be no matter where they are or who surrounds them. But, the difference is you can be surrounded by distractions that don’t allow you to grow to your full potential. I guess in the end these distractions were the case for me. Since traveling on my own I learnt to appreciate what is important in life. I see nature, people, culture, life it self, in a whole other perspective. My paradigm is constantly shifting for the better.
Solo travel shouldn’t only be about staying in all the party hostels and following group tours. Sure, I partied hard during different parts of my trip and got caught up on the gringo trail. It is crazy fun and I met great friends for life. But, it’s the moments when I ventured out on my own that are the most priceless. Hiking through mountain ranges with no-one else in sight. Finding a new town and talking with locals, in their own language. Sitting down and sharing a meal at the public markets. I tried not to follow groups and others around too much and I began to appreciate the smaller things.
Finally, there is nothing truly more exciting and satisfying than getting ready to set off on your own solo experience. I always thought about the idea of traveling alone and what that would be like. How lonely was it going to be? There are so many like minded nomads out there doing the exact same thing as me so I was never really alone. Solo travel provided the foundations to put me where I am today. And overall it has been one of the best experiences of my life.
Photos by LovaLinda