Solo Travel - Hey, What Can Go Wrong, Right?
“Solo travel” is my weapon of choice 😉 . It has been that way for many, many years now. I love traveling alone because of the absolute and infinite freedom a person can have. Honestly, that’s the best thing that can happen to you – you should definitely try it at least once. Nothing to be afraid of!
But of course, both, traveling with people and traveling solo, have their own drawbacks. I want to point out some of the “solo travel” ones. Everything listed below WILL happen to you when you travel alone.
It is inevitable!
Prepare Yourself To FEEL Alone (even if you are not)
I’m not saying feeling lonely, but feeling alone!
Let me give you some examples of how I ended up in some weird situations!
On one of my several-months solo travels, I decided to explore London, Amsterdam, Porto, Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona. I was on a VERY tight budget so I used Couchsurfing here and there. That’s my favorite kind of traveling and the best way to travel alone, not because you’re going to save 10 bucks from a hostel, but because you have the chance to stay with locals, so they can show you the hidden treasures of the city. After all, isn’t that the whole point of traveling – to explore the culture and the people, not to meet drunk foreigners doing their gap year, crawling from hostel to hostel.
So, as I said earlier, one of my stops was Porto. I had to stay there for a few days with some guy who had his own bar, apparently one of the coolest bars in Porto. So that guy was living in a building full of Erasmus students from everywhere around the world. So, lucky me, the whole building was having a barbeque party on the day I arrived there.
And here I am, standing among 200 people from every nationality possible. My host was that kind to introduce me to a lot of his friends (can’t remember a single name, of course). So people started with the standard questions as always:
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
What are you doing here?
What is your next stop?
And basically, if you don’t make it through those questions to continue a conversation you are doomed J.
In simple words, what happened was that after talking to people for an hour or two the level of alcohol degree had risen up quite a bit and I noticed how people began forming different groups – the Brazilian group, the Spanish group, the French group etc. The conversations were no longer in English, but in languages, I don’t speak. My host was hitting on some girl and I was no longer of interest for him.
So there I was, alone, in the middle of the night, among 200 people.
That was a good lesson for me. It just showed me again that I’m not the center of anyone’s world but mine. I didn’t feel offended, it’s just how society works. The French weren’t talking to the Brazilians, the Brazilians weren’t talking to the Spanish and so on. There was nothing personal – it’s just easier to talk to people in your native language.
So the moral is:
Learn more languages.
The next example actually happens all the time.
Let’s say you end up with some people and their friends in a bar. And there is always someone who doesn’t speak English or just doesn’t feel like doing it. People start speaking their own language and that barrier puts you again in the position where you are alone among many people.
That’s just the little quirks of the solo travel.
Prepare Yourself To BE Alone (even if you don't want to)
That’s an expected one when you sign up for solo travel.
There will be many times when you feel like having a drink, going to dance or just chilling with someone. But there is no one you can go out with on that particular day.
What happens is that you go out anyway, and you end up standing at the bar counter in a bar or a club looking and feeling like a weirdo. Of course, the “weirdo part’’ is just in my head because actually no one cares.
To be honest, that’s exactly how my wildest stories begin! With:
I was having a drink alone at the bar when…
You should definitely try it. You may start the evening alone, but you will never finish it that way.
Trust People Or Just Don't Travel Solo
A very important rule for solo travelers:
Don’t get paranoid thinking that all people don’t mean you well.
There will always be moments where you need to trust and rely on people because you have absolutely no other choice. Well, you do, but you risk to get robbed – you’ll be asking for it.
But what do I mean by trust people?
I was in Bali last year. So, one day I’m on the beach enjoying life. Basically, doing the same as the other thousand people around me – chilling, tanning and having a warm beer.
But then…Oh, oh – nature was calling. I had to go and pee in the water (no toilets and bushes nearby).
That is the moment when you should look around and find the most trustworthy people to ask them to watch over your towel, phone, wallet etc.
There are also different situations, but most of them are connected with using the toilet, to be honest.
You go somewhere to eat. And you find a place to sit. Then you realize that it’s self-service, but you don’t want to lose the table. So what do you do? You ask people for help. 🙂
These are the small inconveniences of the solo travel, that you should have in mind. Nothing serious!
Those kinds of situations will teach you some great lessons:
Be independent and enjoy your alone moments
You never know what kind of crazy surprise is waiting just around the corner when you go out alone
Have more faith in humanity.