Approximately 35,000 feet in the air and heading 9,607 miles away from home, I was ready to embark on a trip of a lifetime. I had never been to Australia, and I’d certainly never travelled by myself.
I had never intended to travel alone. Even the thought of it shot a nervous jolt throughout my body. Previously, the idea of getting on a plane and flying anywhere on my own seemed far away from anything I’d allow myself to do. It absolutely terrified me.
If I was to wait for the right time, to wait for someone else, I’d never have taken the plunge. I refused to wait. I wasn’t going to let anyone keep me from realising my dreams. However scary travelling alone could be, to me, growing old without experiencing everything I wanted from life was even scarier.
Some people would consider solo travel to be somewhat of a brave endeavour. I don’t think of it as being brave as you’re never truly alone. There are plenty of people in the exact same boat as you. The opportunity to meet new people is endless. Stepping out of my comfort zone and travelling alone has given me a great confidence to take on the world. Given you’re always entering the unknown, there’s a huge element of excitement. Opportunities present themselves at every turn. Solo travel allows you to embark on an inward journey of self discovery and dare I say it ‘finding yourself’!
Solo travel represents freedom and independence. Individuals often return home a new person with a fresh perspective on life. It changes your perspective on the world, the way you view others and yourself. You become more confident in your abilities. You become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. You learn to enjoy and embrace unfamiliar places and people. It’s taken me a hell of a long time to realise this, but the best relationship you can have is with yourself. You will discover just how strong you are.
Solo travel can lead to exciting adventures and meaningful experiences with complete strangers, which can have a long lasting impact. There are endless opportunities to make connections with different people from all walks of life. Whether you bond over a new adventure or experience, a drink at a hostel bar, meet on the beach and consume henious amounts of box wine or cross paths on a bus journey, you always have travel in common. If you think solo travel is all about being alone, think again. I’d never been the life and soul of the party which initially worried me, however lots of people travel solo, and odds are you’ll bump into them. All it takes to meet new people is a little spurt of confidence and one small word ‘hello’. I realised that travelling solo was ironically the easiest way to make friends. Travellers in general are usually open to new experiences, including making friends. Connections happen naturally when you are with like minded people. You are really only alone if you choose to be.
In this day and age turning internet friends into real life friends is a fore gone conclusion. There are several Facebook groups and apps that serve as communities for those who travel; Girl Crew, Solo Female Travel Network and Girls Love Travel to name a few. These are great resources for making travel plans, learning travel tips and making new friends.
Stay in a hostel, sign up for a group event or chill out at a hostel bar. You’re bound to stumble across a new bestie! You’ll end up being surrounded by hundreds of other travellers who want to have a good time and explore just like you. The amazing thing is that if you click with people you can end up spending days, weeks or even months travelling together. Some will even end up being a friend for life.
It’s funny how time changes us and the things you never saw yourself doing suddenly become your reality. Travelling alone has become a new part of my reality. I absolutely love it and I’ve learned so much along the way. Don’t get me wrong, there are down days where I feel lonely or homesick, but there’s also days I can’t believe what I’m doing. It’s scary, exciting, nerve wrecking and amazingly rewarding all at the same time.
Solo travel is an incredible experience and one that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. It’s handsdown offered me the best experiences of my life. So the next time you’re inspired to go on a trip and can’t find a friend to go with, do yourself a favour, bite the bullet and book it!