This is my 100th post! To celebrate this most momentous milestone, I thought I’d do a post that relates to the core of this blog – solo wayfaring.
I can honestly say that making the decision to go off travelling by myself and then actually doing it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. In addition to learning some things about myself, I came back with some incredible memories, experiences and insights.
Here are some of my thoughts.
- English most often than not tends to be the default language in any group of varied travellers. I am lucky (but also unlucky) that English is my first language, and so, am always in awe when I met other solo travellers who are able to communicate confidently with others and travel without speaking much english. One traveller who particularly stood out for me was a Spanish guy I met in Bangkok who spoke and understood pretty much no english and had somehow managed to travel through Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
- Travelling alone makes you a more sociable person and a better conversationalist…because you have to be! That is unless you want to spend your entire trip talking to no one. Having had to barge my way into groups and strike up very many random conversations, I now feel much more at ease with meeting and conversing with new people I meet.
- Seeing a female solo traveller seems to bring out a protectionist instinct in elderly folk, especially women. It’s probably also because I look quite young for my age.
- I was pretty freaked out at first about travelling by myself. It soon became second nature and I didn’t think much of it…until I met other locals and non-solo travellers who would continuously tell me that I was a brave person for doing this and that they themselves would never be able to do it. It might seem like it, but I will say this again – if I can do it, anyone can.
- Keeping an open mind was the single most important thing I brought with me. I met people who came from all around the world, and who grew up in vastly different cultures. There were A LOT of things I didn’t agree with but I tried my best not to judge others for their beliefs. This allowed me to meet a whole host of different people, have interesting conversations and learn new perspectives.
- Whilst I do love travelling on my own and being in complete control of my schedule, I did at times actively sought out others to share a day or three with. Sometimes it’s nice to share particularly memorable experiences with others who have gone through exactly the same thing as you.
- There is no right or wrong way to travel. Just do whatever works best for you and try not be be fazed by other snobby travellers who always seem to have some kind of snarky comment about your travels (solo or otherwise ).
- Solo travel really allows you to figure things out about your personality. One of the things I loved best about it was being an anonymous person in a foreign city / town where no one knew who I was or had any preconceived notions about me. I was the only person who could influence my actions, which in turn, led me to figure out what drives, motivates and makes me happy.
- Travelling by myself allowed me to spend more time than I normally would speaking to and observing locals and their way of life. Whilst travel does bring some benefits to local communities, I would say that the travelling done by most (including myself) is ultimately a pretty selfish pursuit.