While I have been travelling alone for over a year now, my journey didn’t start out that way, and if you’d told me before I left that travelling alone was the best way to travel I wouldn’t have believed you. But it really is. It offers the freedom and flexibility that you just don’t get travelling in a group or with friends.
When I first found myself alone in the big scary world I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Everyone told me I was better off alone, but I was afraid. I’d lost the safety buffer that traveling with a friend provides. But it didn’t take long to realise that what everyone had told me was true. Being alone was better, and you’re never truly alone anyway, and I wish I’d had the courage to leave Australia alone in the first place.
What you don’t think about when you are first contemplating a solo journey is that a large majority of the other travellers you are going to meet will also be travelling alone, and if you’re staying in hostels it’s so easy to meet those people. In fact, it’s almost unavoidable.
If you are going to embark on a solo journey of your own here are my words of wisdom:
1. Spend a decent amount of time in each place.
When I first found myself alone my plans were taking me to a difference city every couple of days which made it hard for me to meet people. But then I changed my plans and slowed things down, which meant I met a lot of amazing people from all over the world. When you spend more than a couple days in one place you really begin to make lifelong friends.
2. Consider an organised tour at the beginning of your trip.
The beginning of my journey consisted of solo backpacking and organised tours. And on every single organised tour I did, there were people who were just starting out, with only a rough idea of where they wanted to head once the tour finished, but looking for travel companions to head there with them.
3. Don’t plan too much.
Depending on where you are travelling to and in what season, plan as little as possible. That way you are free to go where the people are going. The last thing you want is to meet some amazing people heading to one place, only to have already booked somewhere else. Obviously, if there is somewhere you really want to go, don’t give that up just because no one else is heading there, because you will meet more people once you get there.
4. Be brave!
Even if you are afraid, take that plunge. It will be the best decision you ever made.