Travelling by yourself can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time to begin with. There are certain challenges that you might face, but the journey you will go through is well worth the effort and time.
Now I can understand why you may be hesitant about travelling by yourself. Probably they are reasons regarding:
However most importantly it probably is safety and being afraid of what might happen when you are by yourself. This is completely understandable, especially if you happen to be a woman.
Why You Should Travel By Yourself, Pros & Cons
- Free to do what you want
- Your schedule is more flexible
- You learn to adapt and survive
- Make new friends and connections
- Learn to accept yourself
- Might be a little more expensive
- Fear of being alone
When you are travelling by yourself, as long as you are comfortable with being by yourself and are able to adapt to your environment easily, you shouldn’t have much to worry about, though it is true that extroverted people tend to fare more better when travelling by themselves.
It’s not as bad as you think
And I mean that literally, the world is not an evil place because most people genuinely have a good heart and are curious about meeting interesting people. The media likes to take things to an extreme and rely on shock and awe to get your attention and views.
Media and what you see on the news, Facebook feed, etc does not reflect reality and is showing you an aspect of a country’s flaws through a magnified lense.
What You Fear, Is What You’ll See
We as humans are interesting. We look for things on the internet to confirm our own biases and see what we want to see. Most of us may not be conscious and aware of this behaviour, but we do it in our everyday life without realizing it. What we focus on and believe tend to get our attention more often, and this is especially true in the online digital world.
Social media, Google, and Search Engines tailor certain results and feeds according to your tastes and likes, so that you will keep using their services. If you enjoy travelling, you will most likely get ads and posts from friends who travel, hence if you have a negative view on life and let fear dictate how you see the world, that is what you will mostly see in the digital world.
It’s really important to be mindful of these things and allow yourself to look certain biases, fears, and judgments from an objective point of view.
Let go of your prior conditioning that the rest of the world is unsafe, uncivilized, and hostile. Travel really is a cure for ignorance and also racism as long as you are open minded and willing to learn the unknown.
My Fear of Getting Beat Up In Russia by Nazis
I had always wanted to travel to Russia and experience the slavic culture, however being someone who looks more or less Central Asian, I heard stories of people from Caucus region being bullied or getting beaten by skinheads for no reason while in Moscow.
While I wanted to travel to Moscow and Russia, I let fear hold me back for a long time. The more I thought about travelling there, the more I searched online about safety concerns and whether Russian people are racist towards minority people, etc.
At the end of the day, that did not help at all, because after researching for hours, I was more confused than ever. However, I decided to take a chance and booked a flight ticket and the Trans Siberian Railway.
It was one of the most eye opening experiences to realize that people were actually nice to me, interested in getting to know me, talk to me, and overall genuinely helpful. Even made some friends with “skinheads” (not really, just shaved men) during my travels.
Once you let go of the fear and the instilled idea that the outside world is bad, you will truly learn to be free and make decisions for yourself.
Habits For Letting Go of Travel Fears
When most people think of travelling, they think that it has to be perfect with exact detailed plan on what they are going to do when they are going to do it. Or in most cases, people choose the supposed “safe” options and visit the touristy places, stay in their comfort zone, and don’t don’t dare to explore. THAT IS BORING!
People might have different preferences or ideas of travel, but if you really want to travel the world, as in explore what life has to offer, you have to accept uncertainty and let go of certain rules and restraints.
Here are just a few habits that help me letting go of fears and worries:
- Meditation – This is simply breathing in and out while being mindful of your breath. It’s about letting go of any unnecessary thoughts and being in tune with your body and spirit. For meditation practice I recommend this book.
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- Socializing – When you travel by yourself you will have to interact with other people and make new friends. However, why wait. I challenge you to talk to random strangers about anything and get comfortable socializing with random strangers. It doesn’t have to be deep conversations, but just simple hellos, how are you, and chit chat. If you truly want to enjoy your travel experience, you will need to be comfortable with striking conversations with random people on the street.
- Minimalism – It’s amazing how much crap and unnecessary junk we accumulate during our lives. Take steps each day to declutter your life and focus on what’s important. In honesty, we don’t need that much. As long as we have good friends, shelter, food, and some quality clothes to wear, that meets about 80% of our needs, however in today’s day and age, a lot of people are trying to replace human connection with things we buy.
Managing Your Finances While Travelling By Yourself
Finances are of course an important topic when it comes to travelling alone. When you have a buddy or group of friends, lodging is a bit cheaper and although you might have to pay a little extra for hotels and lodging, on the upside, you have complete control over how you want to finance things.
When you get into the mentality of group think and majority vote, you might end up spending money on activities, foods, restaurants, and places you necessarily didn’t want to go to, but had to because everyone else was doing it, but when you have the choice of doing what you wish, in the end, you could perhaps travel much more cheaply relatively.
Here are just a few ways to save money while travelling by yourself
Staying in a Hostel
A hostel is sort of like a college dorm. A single room, could probably house 8 people, so privacy might be a little issue, however, it’s a very cheap alternative to hotels and renting houses. Sometimes hostels are only a few dollars per night!
It does not necessarily have to be dirty and run down, some hostels are really modern, well-kept, and tidy; just make sure to read the reviews and look at the pictures carefully, though the more expensive the hostel, the more likely better it’s going to be (but not always)
While you should keep your belongings as safe as possible, the people you meet in hostels will mostly be kind souls and interesting people from all walks of life. I still keep in touch with some of the people I met in hostels and have had amazing experiences.
Pack Your Own Food
Go to a nearby grocery store and buy food you can prepare yourself. You don’t necessarily have to eat out everyday. Most hostels will have kitchens and refrigerators. You can save a lot of money just by buying your own food.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Discounts
You would be surprised by how simply asking for a discount can save you a lot of money. Whenever you buy goods from people, it does not hurt to ask if there is a special, or a slight discount on certain services or products.
Assuming you save 5%-10% on most purchases, that can really make a difference and add up.
Be Smart About Finding Deals
If you are savvy enough with the internet, you can find some awesome deals online when it comes to booking hotels, airfare tickets, and much more.
Read this guide for finding deals on airfare and booking online.
Sometimes you can even skip the whole online process and buy it straight from the source. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy straight from the source physically rather than buying it online, because sometimes the website adds taxes and commission.
You Are Free At The End Of The Day
There is something freeing about travelling by yourself and venturing into the unknown. You are free to explore yourself as a person, make new friends, and in a way reinvent yourself.
When you are in your home country, or somewhere where you interact with the same people everyday, whether you like to or not, you will have to refrain from saying certain things, doing certain things, because of the fear of judgment. However, when you are truly alone in a foreign land, even if people judge you, it won’t affect your livelihood, because well… you are a foreigner. The local rules and customs don’t apply to you in one sense.
You have many opportunities and possibilities to make choices and decisions for yourself and you only. You learn to listen to your soul and allow your soul to follow its calling; you truly learn to let go and enjoy the present moment.
Last update on 2019-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API