To The One Who’s Thinking Of Going On A Solo Trip For The First Time,
Let me tell you that it’s gonna be a scary yet liberating experience, and your life will change once you return. You’ve perhaps decided which place you’d visit and what all you wanna do, or maybe you’ve booked your tickets already – either way, you’re doing this. You’re thinking of embarking on a journey full of uncertainty and unknowns, but what you don’t know is that you will be learning so much about yourself and the world around you.
You’ll come across situations that will make you cry or scream or want to return home – but don’t. The toughest situations during the journey are often the ones that’ll help you to grow in the most beautiful manner. I once boarded the right bus that dropped me at a wrong destination nearly around midnight – and it helped me learn that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. You’ll perhaps make a lot of mistakes, take wrong decisions, goof up a bit and land up at odd routes – but as you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are!
Although I travel mostly with RD these days, the experiences I’ve encountered while traveling solo are undoubtedly the best ones, so far. They’ve been full of magic and happiness, sprinkled with all sorts of clichés. They’re the journeys during which I mostly got to know myself in better lights and I truly mean it when I say I wouldn’t have been the same person I am today without my solo travels.
You’ll get to learn the most worthy life lessons while on the roads, all by yourself. Despite what your parents might have told you about talking to strangers as a child, you’ll realize that it’s those little conversations with unknown people while you’re waiting for a bus or riding in an Uber, that’ll tend to make your trip more memorable.
The scary part about solo traveling is that you’ll feel lonely at times, and I won’t lie; it happens. And even though it sounds super easy, I know that it takes time to learn to love yourself enough to enjoy your own company.
As humans, we are mostly social beings and we love to be surrounded by people, but when you’re traveling solo, the best way to overcome getting lonely is to put yourself out there.
If you see another solo traveler, ask them what their plans are or if they’d like to join you on a day trip.
Stay at hostels and talk to your dorm mates, sharing your travel plans with them.
Go on pub crawls, join small group tours or sign up for a volunteer program abroad.
Meet amazing people and learn to make friends out of strangers.
Get to know their life stories before getting their name correctly, and you’ll surely end up making unexpected friendships – they’re often the ones that you’ll remember forever.
The best part about solo travel is the serendipity of it all. You’re free to do whatever you’d like to do; you can throw your plans in the wind; sleep throughout the day or party all night, or just spend your time gazing at the horizon, sitting by the beach; or you may join your quickly-found friends for an adventure that you never thought was your cup of tea!
You’d be free to do whatever you please, and you’ll gain immense self-confidence and strength by doing so.
There have been many who have asked me ‘Why do I travel the world?’ – and while I have my own reasons for that, I hope you do too. I’m sure that there’s something that’s pushing you to break free from the mundane of regularities & perhaps, this pandemic & lockdown have made you realize the value of life, more than ever. You may come across a life-changing epiphany or you may not; no matter what, you’ll be coming home from your first solo adventure becoming a different ‘you’; so much more aware of who you are and so many lessons learned, you’ll definitely be more in love with yourself.
You don’t really need to travel across continents to make your first solo trip worthy, but make sure to live every moment, wherever you go. Cherish all of the good times and appreciate the bad times – they’ll be the moments teaching you the best lessons.
On the road, there are no mistakes or failures, just overwhelming learning experiences. Do what you think is impossible, fall in love quickly and fall hard, say ‘yes’ to things you’d never do at home, and make memories that will last forever. Be completely absorbed in your own journey.
Later, even if you understand that it’s not your thing and start hating solo travel, you will come back so much richer with experience and wholeness, that you’ll always look back and cherish this spark of courage.
If you have to wait for someone to travel with you, you may end up waiting for a lifetime. So, once the pandemic gets over and the world looks safer, pack your bags and choose a destination that has been there on your bucket list and set out without much procrastination.
You’re going to have the best adventure once you decide to be unapologetically you.
A Fellow Traveler.