When I tell most people I’m taking a trip by myself their reaction is normally, “OMG, none of your friends can go with you?,” “Are you sure you want to go by yourself?,” or “But that’s boring, what are you going to do all alone?” I normally laugh at these silly and absurd questions and shake my head at the fact that solo female travellers is still such a foreign concept to so many. Although I understand the concerns and worries, I personally believe that everyone, male or female, should take at least one solo trip in their lifetime, whether domestic or international, as solo trips are liberating, fun, exciting and help to bring about self-awareness.
I took my first solo trip to Paris last year after my job gave me the opportunity to visit as a rest stop on my way home from a business trip to Africa. How could I say no to such an amazing opportunity? I couldn’t. Before leaving, I was extremely nervous and had a million and one things running through my mind. Here I was traveling alone for the first time to another country on another continent whose native language I didn’t speak at all. I asked myself “what if I get lost? who will help me?,” and “I don’t speak French, will I be able to understand anyone?” but much to my surprise, traveling alone to Paris was one of the best things to happen to me and part of the inspiration behind starting this blog.
Through traveling alone, I stepped out of my comfort zone, conquered my fears and learned just how much fun a solo trip could actually be. I’ve since went on to take a solo trip to San Francisco, and another to Mexico with my top-rated binoculars and plan to take as many more as my budget and schedule allows. If you’re feeling nervous about traveling alone or need extra motivation I’ve compiled this list of 4 reasons why you should bite the bullet and take a solo trip:
Not as Scary As You Think – As I’ve mentioned before, although it can be a bit nerve racking at first, traveling solo isn’t as scary as one may think. Most people are friendly and willing to help you out as much as they can and it’s really not much of a difference than exploring your home town on your own. If traveling outside of the country is a concern because of language barriers, I’m also here to tell you that you’d be surprised at how many people speak English outside of the states. Many countries including India, Ireland, and Singapore list English as their official language and many other countries have a strong English speaking population. Don’t let language deter you from getting out there and seeing the world!
You can be selfish – As much as I love my friends, traveling with them can be a bit much sometimes. After all, everyone has to come to an agreement on what to eat, activities we plan to do, how much time will be spent on said activities and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, trips with others are fun as you have someone to share the experience with, but when you’re on your own you can go wherever you want whenever you want without worrying about if anyone agrees or disagrees with it. While in Paris, I spent an entire day walking around as much of the city as I could, stopping in and out of places and shops that I found to be interesting. The ease of being able to do what I want felt oh so good!
You’re never really lonely– People assume that when you’re traveling alone it means you will be lonely and that is not always the case. In fact, you’re actually likely to meet many people when traveling on your own, if of course you’re up to it. I remember standing at the Eiffel Tower and meeting a girl from North Carolina who too was on a rest stop from a business trip. We exchanged friendly conversation and even helped each other find our way to the metro. While in San Francisco, I met a couple from Germany and an Indian guy who recently moved to the city, who were also going in the direction as I was, to take a hike up Twin Peaks. The four of us helped each other hike up the mountains, stopping to make sure everyone was good and helping each other take pictures upon reaching our destination. Of course it’s important to use caution when talking to and meeting new people, but don’t let the fear of being by yourself keep you from getting out there.
It’s Empowering – After my first solo trip to Paris, I felt pretty badass and like I could do anything. I just navigated a French city all by myself with little to no hiccups and truly enjoyed it. At one point, people were asking me for directions lol. Through traveling solo, I am constantly forced out of my comfort zone by talking to strangers and asking for directions/help when needed. I am able to meet and talk to some really cool people from all around the world and I am able to enjoy my own company and proudly say “yeah, I took this trip by myself and I had an amazing time!”
Have you ever taken a solo trip? How was it? Do you want to take a solo trip, but are afraid? What’s stopping you?