I’m a new solo traveler. I recently went on my first solo trip to Indonesia. I have minimal international travel experience and have been calling myself an aspiring solo traveler. I decided just to do it. Days leading up to the trip I started to freak out really. I think if I weren’t going to lose a lot of money, I probably would have canceled my trip but knowing that I stood to lose a lot of money, I ended up going. These are the lesson that I (and probably other first-time solo travelers) learned before, during and after the trip:
Fear is temporary
I think the fear of going to a foreign country alone, whether you’ve been doing it for years or just starting out, is very natural. You get overwhelming thoughts of being lost or getting into an accident; I was also paranoid about being kidnapped lol. But, all that is mostly in your head, once you stop overthinking and know that you can’t control everything, the journey becomes easier.
Hostels are always better than hotels
Unless you’re at the age where you don’t want to be around drunk and noisy young people, then stay in a hostel. I booked a hotel for the first two days of my trip, and it was very lonely, especially eating breakfast in the morning while everyone is grouped up and I’m just… The other person. I spent the rest of my trip in hostels, and it was fantastic.
The world is full of friendly people
With the way the world is set-up right now, it’s tough to trust strangers and just as hard to let your guard down. Can I tell you a story about a guy who lost his wallet in Bali but managed to find it because the people who found it kept it for him? The story about the girl who forgot her cell phone in an Uber while heading to the airport but managed to get it back because someone found the driver and kept it for her. Yes, there are good people out there, sometimes all it takes is a smile and small talk.
All it takes is “Hi, my name is…”
Not everyone can stand hostels and hostels (although easier) are not the only places to meet people. When traveling you meet other travelers almost everywhere, all it takes to make friends is a simple introduction. I am an introvert and always over think everything but on my trip, I met a girl named Hannah and she made me realized that making friends wasn’t as hard I was making it be. After meeting her, I found it is to meet new people during the rest of my trip.
You’re never really alone
I enjoy being on my own, maybe a little too much. However, I did felt a bit lonely during meal times for the first two days. After that, I started to live a little out of my head and comfort; I introduced myself to people. Although I didn’t connect with everyone (and that’s normal), some of the people I met on my trip will be my friends for a very long time. I went on adventures, shared meals, partied and had deep conversations with them. So yes, I may have left South Korea alone, but I wasn’t alone.
You don’t have to have it all planned and figured out
One huge mistake I made (out of paranoia) was planning everything in detail and booking everything in advance. I thought it would help me relax, but instead, it turned into a bit of bummer. I couldn’t be as spontaneous as I wanted to be and when I did, I lost a lot of money. So, it’s okay not to have everything planned out; it leaves room for a bit of excitement.
You’re capable of making your own decisions
The reasons I love and hate group travels is that everyone has to decide on activities and everyone has to go on those activities. But, what if you don’t want to do what everyone has planned? You just end up looking like an a**. Solo traveling forces you to make a lot of decisions by yourself, the decision to travel alone is the first and bold step. I’m probably one of the most indecisive people I know, traveling solo forced me to make a lot of decisions on the spot, it was frustrating but not having to seek anyone’s approval was the best feeling ever.
Things will work out the way they are supposed to
Don’t worry too much, don’t stress too much, just be. On the second day of my trip, I ran out of space on my camera. I had left my laptop at home because I feared it would get stolen. So, I used the hostel’s PC to backup my pictures, I asked the receptionist to make sure no one switches off the computer, and I went to bed. The following morning, I went to check, and everything was gone! Two days worth of pictures and videos, gone! That could have ruined my entire trip, but with nine days remaining and wanting to make the most out of it, I decided to forget about them and just enjoy my trip. Although I managed to recover my photos and videos but had I dwelled on that, I would have been miserable for a long time.
Your trip is what you make it be
You can be a culture vulture, a beach bum, adrenalin junkie or all of these. It’s all up to you. I was a mixture of all of the above. I was in Indonesia, so I couldn’t help but be all of these. While in Bali I was a culture vulture and an adrenaline junkie but during my days in Gili Trawangan, I was nothing but a beach bum. It felt good to be lazy without someone making me feel guilty about it.
Who are you
Happiness is a blue sea and white sand ❤️❤️❤️ happiest days of my life are spent discovering myself in new places🌍🇿🇦#shetravels . . . . . #travelawesome #travelandlife #traveldiary #traveling #livingabroad #globetrotter #culture #solotravel #nomadlifestyle #travelblogger #digitalnomad #livetravelchannel #travelbug #travelgirl #solofemaletravel #travelersnotebook #travelstoke #blackblogger #travels #remoteworking #photooftheday #travelphotography #bloggerstyle #picoftheday #travelgram #travel #blackbloggers #millenials #photography
The best lesson solo travel will teach you is who are you without your friends, without your family, and without your familiar surroundings. You will learn your likes and your dislikes. Solo travel also tests out your social skills, how good are they and how can you improve on them. I am very socially awkward, if anything, solo travel has thought me that I need to work on being more approachable, approaching other people and being without my phone for some periods.