I came across a discussion online about traveling solo. I contributed with my point of view to the same topic just one year ago, but this time my reply was different. My first solo trip was to London, two years ago, just for a few days, but it was not that good. After that experience two years ago I thought I’m just not made for traveling solo. This year I travelled again solo for a bit, and guess what: my opinion on traveling solo was different! Reading within the forum on female solo travel made me realise and compare my own trips. I noticed that I made three major mistakes on my first trip, I want to share these:
I think having the right mindset for traveling alone is the most important factor. I felt awkward because my then boyfriend couldn’t make time to join. I had to go (I wanted to check for an accommodation to stay for my studying abroad part). My parents were concerned as well about this and I felt more and more uncomfortable about the trip even though I was looking forward to visit the UK for the first time. During my days in London I never ever felt so weird for eating alone in a restaurant and checking out the landmarks on my own. “People will probably think I’m a weirdo for eating alone” – yeah, most of the time I was wondering what people could think about me. HOW STUPID IS THAT? Why should I worry what random people think of me?
I chose not to stay in a hostel, I didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of sharing a room with people I don’t know. I was afraid my valuables being stolen, so I decided to book a single room for myself at something like a B&B – worst decision ever. It was a bit far from the center (which was actually not the real problem), the main problem was the neighborhood. I felt like being at the wrong place, I heard every night the police and other things. It was not supposed to be the last time I chose a crappy accommodation (don’t worry the other times I managed such situations without any problems). As there are hostels also offering private rooms that would have been a smarter choice – at that time.
While the few days in London, the only contact to other people I had was in the evening – talking to friends on skype and facebook. I just couldn’t find anyone to talk. I felt so lonely, I’m not the type of person that would begin a small talk with people I don’t know. In those days I didn’t knew the websites or apps which could help me to find people. I didn’t consider at all that I might want to speak to someone. Today I use the internet to check for cool events and gatherings I could attend – just in case I feel the need for that.
Today I don’t feel weird traveling alone, there are so many people doing the same. I’m not anymore that girl that thinks that she needs someone to join because I’m not afraid anymore to get out of my comfort zone and the most important: I don’t discourage myself from doing something just because of what other people say! It’s easy to get discouraged when you do something nobody you know did before for the first time, especially when you already feel insecure. Traveling forces you out of your comfort zone, especially travelling solo can be demanding but you don’t need to be scared of it because no matter what happens: remember you are capable to deal with it.