You probably heard of some people who traveled alone and probably told yourself you could never be as brave as they are. But did you know that once upon a time they all felt how you feel now?
The idea of solo travel did not come easy to me as well. Like everybody else, I had apprehensions in the beginning. Heck I remember how my first commute alone made me feel incredibly anxious! What if the people in the jeep ignore me when I pass my “bayad”? What if I forget where I should go down? But hey look, commuting alone is now like a walk in the park to me (except for the random bad traffic and chaos).
Who is this for?
1] are thinking of embarking on your first solo travel some time in the future
2] need a different adventure in your life
3] want to go somewhere but cannot find any companion
4] want to learn how to be independent
5] are curious about the idea
If you answered YES to at least one of the above then maybe it’s time to consider going on your first solo travel adventure. Here’s how I transitioned from being too nervous about it to being comfortable with the idea of traveling on my own.
Step 1] Travel with family or friends
If you haven’t traveled before, this is a good introduction to traveling. Going with your family or friends makes traveling fun and comfortable. It can also build up your knowledge of what happens while traveling without stressing too much about dealing with it on your own. One thing I always do before leaving for a trip is to go through my favourite reviews website and find various products which I could find useful for the trip. This helps me to get ready for any situation. This time however, I was rocking a beautiful yet minimalist-design pair of Adidas Stan Smith, which quite suit my attire.
Step 2] Join a group tour with a friend
This is one of the most helpful tips I have gotten about travelling from an article I read by Outdoor Empire. A group tour is an organized tour that is open for anybody to join. Organizers will pool all joiners then go together on the trip. I joined my first group tour with Travel Factor to Northern Cebu (Malapascua + Bantayan) in 2009 with the intention of meeting people at the same time cutting the costs of doing the trip alone. But the thought of knowing nobody in the group made me extra nervous. So I brought a friend with me and we had fun. Had we done it on our own, our expense could be higher so good thing we joined a group instead.
Step 3] Join a group tour alone
There are then those times when you wanted to go somewhere but couldn’t find somebody to go with. Maybe your family’s not interested or your friends are not available. Either way you find that everything in your body is ready to go except that you are alone.
When the idea of doing an Indochina overland trip occurred to me, I couldn’t find someone to join the boat. I think at that time going abroad was regarded as impossibly expensive for a Filipino, especially a yuppie, that the idea of doing several countries on a single go is unthinkable. But I did. I mustered all my nerves and went ahead with the trip by joining a group tour. And I had a grand time!
Going on a group tour on my own allowed me to get a glimpse on what it’s like to travel without knowing anybody. Only that I’m not entirely alone cause I got a group to go with. It also helped me get used to meeting new people.
Step 4] Travel alone and meet locals
By this time you are almost comfortable with traveling solo. What you have to do now is make that step. Should you feel lonely? No. It will only feel that way if you aren’t meeting people.
Before I went on my solo trip to Singapore, I contacted some locals to hangout with. I am a couchsurfer so finding one was easy. I met up with them, a mix of locals and foreigners, and we drove around town. It was fun but most importantly I had company.
It’s never easy to start traveling solo but when you do you will surely find yourself traveling even more and gaining more friends.