It is coming to that time of year again when the future is looming and plans are starting to be made for the summer and beyond.
It is coming to that time of year again when the future is looming and plans are starting to be made for the summer and beyond. What happens if you want to go away and explore yet none of your friends do? Or what if you are looking to go away by yourself but just scared and expecting the worst?
Travelling was something I had always wanted to do but by the time I had finished college my friends all wanted to go straight to University. I decided to go it alone. I was terrified. So was my Mother. I had only just turned nineteen three days before I left and I had never been out of England on my own. I was embarking on a six month trip around the world without a clue!
Yet despite having the odds against me, I was ok! I quickly realised that wherever you are in the world, if you are in trouble, help is usually there. Even if there is a language barrier, it is amazing how easily you can converse just with gestures and facial expressions.
I also had to take into account travelling as a female in cultures which are very different from my home. I tried to stay covered up in order to be respectful and safe. Inevitably there were circumstances where I felt vulnerable but then I would feel like this even in my own country. You just need to limit risk taking.
Transport is also remarkably straight forward. There is always someone to help guide you in the right direction whether it is a local with a friend he wants to help out or another backpacker who has helpful information or the owner of the hostel or guest house usually have connections. Then you have various travel guides to consult, the list really is endless…
I personally found that meeting people and making new friends is incredibly easy. Initially I was very worried about staying in a hostel by myself. I arrived in Sydney, travelling from Johannesburg completely exhausted. My first night and the corresponding five nights were spent in a ten bed dorm as it was cheap and well-reviewed so I thought I would just go for it. I’m glad I did. I was sharing with eight other guys who were all incredibly welcoming and from that moment, I was looked after right up the East Coast.
It was not just in Australia that I was looked after, New Zealand too and for the duration of my travels in Asia. To be honest, despite travelling alone, I struggled to have one day by myself. The people I was meeting were all amazing and so caring and full of life. It was so refreshing to be constantly meeting upbeat people. I was also pushing myself a lot more than I would have done should I have just gone with my friends from home.
Don’t get me wrong, yes at times you will get lonely. I found the worst bit of travelling was flying from country to country. After travelling with a group of people for a while you are usually on your own when you fly and inevitably you think of home. Never the less, I have since travelled with home friends and boyfriends and even then you are susceptible to homesickness, it is just one of those things that will happen. These feelings will soon be forgotten when you find your feet again though.
So, if it is the fact you will be travelling alone that prevents you from taking the trip of a lifetime, have a rethink. Travelling for six months solo around the world was definitely the best thing I have ever done. Even now, three years later, I am still revelling in the incredible places and different cultures I saw. I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing people who I formed strong relationships with, which would have been hindered if I was travelling with an established friendship group. But most of all, I got to explore, I got to challenge myself and I had the most incredible six month journey.