I know how hard it is to start traveling solo, whilst you keep remembering how fun was it being together with friends and family on a trip. Trust me. I get that. Sharing something together with the people you love surely will make a memorable time of your life. I encouraged most of my friends to do that, I even asked them to come with me to any trip that I wanted to go. But face the fact; people has their own business, managing time to deal with, and other matters that took priority. I can’t count how many plans I have made with my friends and family that just get buried and forgotten in the end. So learned from the experiences, I never have any high expectations to go on a trip with anyone. And probably that’s why I thought, “Why I should wait for others to take on this trip if I could go alone?”
It’s never easy to start with. Telling you the truth; going alone to a foreign country sometimes makes the world feel even scarier than what it used to be. That little voice in your head that said “You are alone” would always try to knock you down. It is like a battle with yourself. I wrote a confession about being the solo female traveller, that no matter how many times you go solo, I would shatter, trembled on my bed and couldn’t even sleep, right on the night before I go. You can imagine how I had it on my first time. This reminds me of the night before my Southeast Asia trip, I couldn’t sleep alone so I had a sleepover with Arma and she was just nice of giving me so many advice on how to go alone. I cried at the airport thinking that it might be the last time I would see her again (which never happens!). Nonetheless, those crazy/amazing things that have happened to me whilst travelling solo were the turning point of my life. Now every time I go solo travelling, I always feel super satisfied when I reach back home. That great feeling of being independent that you finally safely reach home. It was priceless.
And so.. I am writing this post just to give some inspiration and a push for you who wants to try to take that solo trip. No matter who you are, what age are you in right now, your relationship status and what condition do you suffer and gain when you decided to take a journey alone. I assure you that everything will be fine, as it will be a worthwhile journey that you should try once in your life.
Before you are going to take that big step, it is wise for you to take a small test by yourself. It is super simple. You don’t need to think further far ahead, there are plenty of things you can always try. Take a dinner by yourself at a new restaurant in the new area. Get on that public transportation to the nearby museum or historical places alone. When you have taken that step, take it a bit further. Join that open trip by yourself (oh you’ll find new friends!), go on a weekend trip to another city, then finally you can book that plane ticket at your bucket list country. Spend time just be with yourself to somewhere you never been before. You’ll be amazed how great that feeling is; this brave woman dare herself to go outside. Alone.
Do research. Be smart.
I still remember the first time I wanted to try to have a journey with myself, I was super scared. Flashy thoughts came to my mind. “What if I got kidnap? What if I got lost? What if.. what if..” Geez.. so many what ifs! And you know what? None of that has ever come true! I was a blank page at the beginning, but then I realise I have to be smart about this. Start browsing other people’s blog and read their stories. What tips do they recommend to go to this city? What are the things you should avoid and what you should do? Get on board with things you’re going to face on by yourself by getting lots and lots information! And you know what? I went to many countries with many pieces of knowledge in my head that I forgot about those scary things at the start line.
So my tip is: read plenty of blogs. Buy a guidebook. Download plenty of travel apps to help your trip. Ask your friends and family who has been there. Be a smart traveller.
Get to know yourself. Positive vibes!
Not many people would dare themselves to get on that rock alone. So keep it to your pace. If you thought that you need to take it slow to comprehend, then take a break. You know that you need to take that step alone no matter what happens, so keep managing your time as well. Be wary about what makes you tick, tempt you, and what makes you couldn’t sleep at night because you are just that excited. So you have to know more and more about yourself and one thing for sure: Always keep the positive mind! No matter how scared you are about what may come to your trip, I always believe that the universe always gives you what you want. Whatever you think about, it will come true. And so I always have this positive thinking no matter where I go and how nervous I would feel. Always think happy thoughts and expect miracles!
Oh, I know that not all those things are going to be pretty. Trust me, I had my worse experiences ever during my travel time. But I had my time to explore all those fear in myself. Ask these questions to yourself: What are you afraid of? How do you deal with it? Start writing up many backup plans in case these things happens. Remember that you are going alone. Meaning you have to be cautious and responsible of yourself. Get to know yourself better before you jump into that sea, have positive vibes, and always on the look out!
Be an open minded person.
I had plenty of times where my friends told me so many stories about the place they went to. They were complaining about how hard the internet was, how the people keep looking at them like they were circus, how homosexual people show their affection in public, and many things. I know how it would go afterwards, they would compare to what they believed in – their religions, their traditions and how they brought up at their home. Same old story. So I should warn you that no matter what kind of situation you’ll face on, you have to accept that people grow up in different kind of environment and beliefs. What you think are the correct way to live your life, might not be the same with others who lived in other continents.
One of the key thing that I realise how much I changed is that I become an open minded person. The place you’ll go might be different than what you knew back home. The culture, the people, the tradition might be contradicted with what you believed in, but remember that you are not in your homeland. So always be ready to whatever comes to you. Respect and understand what they believe in and never push your own argument.
Stop listening to others. Find your tribe.
My grandma used to tell me that the world is a scary place. “Look at those murderers on the news. Look at the movie about raping a young woman who goes alone. Look at the kidnappers who will sell your organs in the black market.” Oh man. She was a Picasso of showing love and kindness to a 7-year-old kid, eh? And so I grew up with that kind of mindset and never did I ever plan to go anywhere alone. When your girlfriends want to go to the bathroom, you have to go together. When your family have to go to that event that you don’t even like, you went anyway. And yes.. when you wanted to go to this place so badly, you waited for other people to go with you.. And this circle will always keep going on and on.
I don’t mean to become an ignorant, but hey, you already have big problems of yourself so why do you need to burden your mind with something else that far related to you? And so I start filtering those voices in my surrounding and being the little bit picky about who I want to hang out and listen to. After some times I finally found my tribe. The community of people who has the same perspective as I am and still eager to reach that goal.
How to find your tribe? The answer is pretty simple. Do research. Keep in contact with your old friend. Get in touch with your inspiration idols. Some people that were my inspirations I have found by using Couchsurfing right after I found out about in another blog. I became their regular member; couchsurf whenever I can, come to their meet ups and finally become a host. Oh, I also love being couchsurfer and stay with the locals! During my journey, I met many fearless solo female travellers that pushed and supported me on my solo travel plan. And if you were lucky, you could also find a perfect travel buddy for your journey. No matter what passion you have, even if it’s not about travelling, you should really find the community. Talk to them about your fear and pressure of what you had in your mind. Read other people’s blog that has the same story and interest as you are. Have some inspirations. Get some insights from someone who has experienced more than you.
Get ready NOW.
I remember in one of Nomadic Matt’s blog about when is the right time to start travelling solo. And he wrote, “Now”. Cos face the fact that tomorrow will be more bills to pay, more weddings to go to, more brands that you have to catch up on. Everyday will be the same day and plenty of issues that you will have to cover. And without realising it, life will catch you fast. If you don’t start to look back from now on, you will never find any more time to go. Have some preparation on how to travel solo from now and you’ll prepare to face anything in your way in the future. Believe me.
So when is the right time to start preparing your journey – the turning point of your life; NOW.
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.