“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step” – Naeem Callaway
Starting a Solo Adventure
Trekking Ubud’s Rice Paddies in Bali Indonesia
Where the rainforest meets the reef in the Daintree National Park
Watching sunrise at Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park Australia
It doesn’t matter which destination you choose, or whether you spend your time trekking, sunbathing or sight-seeing. If the idea of solo travel has tempted you but you always end up talking yourself out of it, let’s look at the process of travelling all by yourself and give you the confidence to go ahead and embrace your first trip alone.
Far from the dangerous or lonely experience, you might expect, it’s actually one of the most liberating and awakening things you’ll ever do.
Firstly, it’s super important to not be intimidated or put off by thinking you have to take a gigantic, round-the-world trip, with everything you own in a backpack, to be a solo traveller. If you feel drawn to that, go for it! But for many of us, that might not be the right choice.
Instead, think outside the box and try something that suits you. Perhaps you might be tempted by a solo holiday to somewhere you already know that you like. Or, maybe you will visit an area where you already know someone, but make time to be alone as well as visiting.
Solo adventures don’t all look the same and the whole point of solo travel is to do what feels right for you, not other people.
Planning a trip alone can be a daunting experience. The organisation comes solely down to you to get yourself from home to your destination, to keep yourself fed, watered and sheltered and get yourself home again. Not only that but you have to decide what you actually want to do all by yourself which for many of us is overwhelming.
The best place to start is to focus on what you enjoy or what makes you feel comfortable. Do you love nature and the outdoors, or would you feel happier in a city with great artwork? Do you want to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin or do you prefer a cooler climate where you can wrap up with hot drinks in a cosy jumper? Are you outgoing or perhaps a little shy? Pick a style of trip that suits your interests so that you feel at ease, and then go from there.
Self-doubt is bound to occur when you enter into your first solo trip, whether that be before you leave, or shortly after you get going. Questions like ‘What am I doing?’ or ‘Do I even want to go?’ are very common.
The truth is, even experienced solo travellers sometimes ask themselves these questions. Actually, the very point of a solo trip is to not have all the answers. Remember, if you’ve questioned whether travelling alone would be right for you, the likelihood is the idea will forever exist until you try it. So just go once and see what happens.
3. Keeping in touch
It’s natural to want to keep in touch with loved ones at home on your first solo trip. However, too much contact with home can have a negative effect on your experience. You might miss something if you are distracted with your phone or you might inadvertently enhance feelings of being homesick or lonely.
Always let someone know where you are, but other than that put the phone down and get stuck into your destination.
If Things Go Wrong
Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. So you missed your flight, or you booked a hotel in the wrong city, or maybe you are not getting on with the food. It’s OK. We’ve all been there. It’s impossible to travel and try new things whilst getting everything right all the time. Certainly, there are things you can do to avoid some common mistakes:
Always get to airports plenty early and relax with a meal or coffee (remembering to keep an eye on the departure board)!
Double check your travel and hotel dates coincide correctly and are both for the same destination.
Check your distances of travel and the time it will take, including your accommodation address and their contact details.
Write all this important information down or keep it handy on your phone, without the need for internet connection.
Don’t forget your passport; everything else can be replaced.
Take out travel insurance, have a game plan and get the logistics out the way as early as possible. This leaves you time to get excited about the ‘best bits’, not the ‘what ifs’.
Most importantly, no matter how many solo adventures you end up taking, there is nothing quite like that feeling the very first time you ‘go it alone’. The sense of accomplishment, the feeling of empowerment and the real freedom, in every sense of the word. So cherish it and make the most of every second.
Remember, you don’t need to be young or uncommitted to travel alone, or rich, or brave, or have over 1k followers on Instagram, or any of the other misconceptions that may have crossed your mind. Many people make time for solo travel their whole lives, despite their personal situations. My advice is to not let anything stand in the way of the opportunity if it calls to you. One thing’s for sure, you’ll learn more by being out in the world alone than you ever will by sitting in the same place surrounded by the same people.
In conclusion, the real benefits of solo adventure are the changes that take place inside you. The colour of your thoughts alter and the smallest things in your life can become more visible. For many of us, the first solo trip is a pivotal moment in our careers, mental health and general direction.
If you are still not sure how you will tackle it alone, remember there are also many companies that specialise in solo travel. If you really want to do it but cannot find the courage to take the first step, or perhaps you are terrible at organising, reach out to a specialist company and do it with a little help first.
There is nothing quite like freeing yourself of your typical day and normal expectations and doing something truly for you. Book your first solo adventure, no matter the destination and see what happens. Get Up, Get Out There & Get Lost. I’ve never once heard ANYONE say ‘I wish I’d never gone’.