“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
– Danny Kaye
Solo travelling is something everyone should do at least once in their lives. I had the privilege to take a solo trip last year to Singapore & Malaysia for a total of 14 days. I went knowing only one person in Singapore which left me a bit nervous as I would go to Malaysia knowing no one. I talked to Jayla, a fellow traveler (Hey, if you’re reading this) who has solo travelled a lot and assured me that there was nothing to be worried about.
14 days later, I would say that the trip was life-changing (though I feel like I say this about almost every long trip I take.) It was a milestone in my life; first time out of the continent and first time travelling completely by myself. Super Grateful. So here are some highs and lows of solo travel that I learnt over the last trip.
You get out of your comfort zone.
Solo travelling in its entirety is getting out of your comfort zone. Actually going to a new place, not knowing anyone and maneuvering this new land without any help, that’s an accomplishment. You are never the same after your first solo trip.
You’re never really alone.
This depends on your personality, however, whilst solo travelling you will find yourself in hostels and group trips with so many other solo travellers and end up bonding with them and exploring with them. It enables you to get out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new people from all over the world. The conversations you’ll have will be some of the most eye opening and intriguing ones. In my case, this was in Malaysia. I stayed in a Hostel and met some lovely people who I’m still in touch with!
You do what you want, when you want.
Group travel is fun and all but requires a lot of compromise. However, when you’re solo travelling, you get to do exactly what you want, WHEN YOU WANT IT! If you like sea food, go get that sea food! If you like roller-coasters, go ride that roller-coaster!
People are nicer to solo travellers.
I noted this in Malaysia as people would ask me if I needed help whenever I told them I’m solo travelling. I heard a lot of ‘You are so brave’ and ‘Is it safe to travel alone?’ This was followed by a lot of advice on how to handle the city and great spots to visit. People are more inclined to talk to you if you’re alone than in a group.
Things are a little more expensive.
When travelling as a group, you can easily share accommodation, food etc.…which is more cost effective than dealing with all the costs alone.
It can get a little lonely.
As much as people would hate to admit it, it can get lonely especially after very long periods of time travelling alone. A hostel environment can help curb this but if you’re in your secluded hotel room or Airbnb it can be tough.
You may also experience something that would make you miss your loved ones and wish they were there with you to experience it.
You can get a bit paranoid.
Again, this depends on your personality. As talking to strangers in Nairobi is not the norm, I found myself taking this trait to other cities. It was difficult giving random people my time of day and always keeping my guard up as I’m not really sure of your intentions. This paranoia can inhibit you from enjoying things.
Customs officers seem to be the exception to the rule of being nice to solo travellers. They are more likely to question your travel intentions if you’re a solo traveler than if you are travelling with friends and family. They need constant assurance that you wont stay in their country or have travelled to find a spouse. Just have the necessary documents and you’ll be fine.
I would honestly encourage everyone to take a solo trip, whether it’s within your country or not. You’ll be surprised as to how adaptable you can be.
Have you solo travelled? What have you learnt ?
Have a lovely week.