I’ve been away from my home country (UK) for just under two years. I decided to go on my own, so I got a lot of people asking “aren’t you scared?” or saying “you’re so brave to be doing it on your own”.
To be honest, at the time I hadn’t actually thought too much about it, I just kinda got the thought in my head, and it took over. But yes, when I actually thought about it of course I was scared. I was uprooting my life, flying for hours across to the other side of the world, without any idea of what to expect.
I don’t want to be one of those typical travellers who end up talking like they’re perched on some high horse because they’ve chosen to travel and others haven’t. I’m not entirely sure why they do that! For any of you high-horse travellers reading this, stop it, it’s annoying. And I’m sure people would probably say I’m not even a real traveller, because I’ll admit I haven’t really ‘walked the path less travelled’ as many claim makes a real traveler. But I’m here to give my own report of what I feel like as a solo traveller, which I’m sure EVERY person who has travelled alone can resonate with, in one way or another.
So as I mentioned, it’s a scary thing, even just plucking up the courage to book the ticket. You press that ‘pay’ button and that’s it! I’ve never felt a feeling like it, or I hadn’t up until that point. The mixture of nerves and excitement was incredible. This has been echoed throughout my travels, every time I’ve left for somewhere new, with no idea what’s ahead of me or who. Its the good kind of scared.
Can it get lonely? Yes. But it’s also the most surrounded I’ve ever felt (I can’t think of the opposite word to lonely, un-lonely??) meeting people on the exact same wavelength as you and in the same boat is a little surreal but so comforting. You do get those moments when you’re travelling alone where you yearn for home comforts, or when you arrive at a new place and you know absolutely nobody so you momentarily feel completely alone. But that’s probably one of the moments you feel the most alive. It’s a hard thing to describe. That’s when you get to learn who you actually are, on your own. Being alone pushes you into far more social situations than you’d probably ever be presented with at home (sitting watching hollyoaks for the fourth night in a row -which I LOVE by the way). And because of this you meet amazing people from all walks of life. I’ve got to say, I’m coming out of this experience even more confident than when I came into it.
Another thing I feel more and more everyday is fiercely independent. I feel like now I’ve done this, I could take on the world. Give me the job of PM, or the task of eradicating kitten heels, or flying alongside Superman… I’ll do it. Seriously though, Ive been flat broke three times, questioned my choices more than three times, but always come out the end of it stronger (and with plenty of stories to tell!)
I didn’t come out here to ‘find myself’ -ew- but I have learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to be completely alone and enjoy it. At home I wouldn’t be caught dead eating out alone and I’d want company if I wanted to go anywhere, now I can do all those things and more on my own. And actually enjoy my own company. It’s also nice to feel that whenever I settle down I’ll be my own person, I’ll know who I am completely independent of anyone else. I know not a lot of people actually learn this at my age and usually do so later in their life, so I’m grateful.
How else does it feel being a solo traveller? Free. You don’t answer to anyone, you can do whatever you want, you can pack up and leave tomorrow (unfortunately I don’t have the luxury as I make my way back from broke) but I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again in the not-too-distant future. You can even remake yourself if you want to. Me, I’m workin’ with what I’ve got 😉
As previously mentioned, when you travel on your own you feel like you learn a little bit more about yourself every day. I’ve learned I’m pretty tough for a little one, resilient, and low maintenance (thankfully, or this would have been a nightmare). I’ve had no high value possessions the entire time, and I don’t care. Although my three year old phone is driving me crazy!
Now that I’ve started I don’t want to stop, it feels easier to continue now but not any less nerve-racking. It’s easier than some people make it out to be. You just get out there and do it, it always works out. Aslong as you remember where you are, what you’ve done and how far you’ve come, you can just laugh at all the trials and tribulations (I laugh at mine in hindsight. Definitely DIDNT during).
My advice is if you’re waiting for your friend to be ready to travel, stop waiting. It’s one of the only things you can do and be truly selfish doing it. Plus, it’s much easier to make friends when you’re a one and not a two. People are much more likely to approach you for a conversation when you’re not joint at the hip with your mate. I mean, do what you want, but I feel like you’ve gotta do atleast some of it on your own.
I’m just so glad I chose to do this journey on my own; an adventure with myself. It has been filled with amazing people in amazing places but this story is mine and will always be mine to tell.
I’ve been in the same area of Aus now for the last 10 months and I am itching for some new experiences, and cultures! Get me back on the road again!
*can I emphasise that although the focus of this post is me travelling on my own, I have made friends. I don’t do absolutely everything on my own.