The concept of ‘Solo travel’ was introduced like any other fancy idea in about the last half of decade. Who introduced the idea? No prizes for guessing, the mothership of all fancy trends today- the Internet. The introduction of travel writing, blogging and the pop-list culture has to all extents glorified the concept of a solo trip.
Almost every second person on my social networks claims to desire a solo trip.
I never had a plan. But I did take my first solo trip, about 4 months ago. Now there are lessons that only your solo trip can tell you about! Here’s what I learnt-
1. Solo Trips are just another hyped trend on social media
Social media is a heaven for all virtual aspirants who ‘want-to-do-that-one-thing-someday’. For the last couple of years, the Internet folks have overdone the idea of travel. There have been trillions of lists about where-how-why to travel. Of course, that supply comes because there is demand. I mean, there are another zillion people who go on to share every possible list they see. But you know what? Most of these guys only share lists. They hardly ever travel. And, they never run out of excuses to not travel.
2. Solo Trips are a lot of hard work
Yes it is! It is not about your expenses or the itinerary primarily. But factors like convincing your parents that you can do this (especially if you’re a girl/ belong to a family of non traveling folks). Then of course your detailed planning, right from your choice of destination, flight bookings, accommodation, travel itinerary, safety measures, financial details, documentation (visa) needs to have every minor detail in place.
‘Cuz hello! Mummy ain’t packing for you!
3. No matter how brave you are, there will always be the fear of the unknown
True story! You might be a strong independent person. But to travel alone to an unknown place comes with a lot of possibilities. Accidents, thefts, mishaps, security concerns, passport loses and what not! You’re bound to get cold feet, possibly just before you leave!
4. You will overcome fear
Remember, you wanted the solo trip! It’s not a punishment. But it definitely means getting out of your comfort zone and being prone to the unknown good and bad. The moment and the situation will make you strong. That is one of the major reasons why you must travel solo. Also, that excitement for all the awesome things you’d planned will keep you going!
5. No amount of planning is enough
No amount of travel guides, videos lessons, references from friends are enough to keep you 100% prepped for your trip. Something is sure to fall out of your plan or disturb what looked like a perfect plan. Keep calm and deal with it! Use your mind. You’re learning some lessons there.
6. Making friends is not that tough
I always thought that I suck at making friends. Of course that changed when I traveled solo. Call it survival of the fittest or need of the hour. It’s easier to step out of your comfort zone when you’re creating another!
7. Humans win over technology
No matter how techno savvy you are, you’re always going to need some human help with everything you do on a solo trip! And thank god for that. How else would you know that awesome humans exist all around the world! Also that they’ve got the best stories you’ll ever hear.
PS. Google maps can still be your alternative best friends!
8. Language is never a barrier
How divided are we linguistically? Honestly? Not much. Because sign language is almost the same everywhere. Usually enough to sail you through any part of the world! Although, it’s not a bad idea to pick up some of the local phrases from around the world
9. Flexibility is the key
There won’t be mummy’s hand cooked food and there won’t be your friends to chill with. People might not act the way they do back home. But FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL. It teaches you everything about the world you didn’t know and trying it will tell you why it is the way it is! Learn about the language, food, culture and customs and you’ll be happily accepted as a guest by anyone. The easier you adapt, the faster you’ll enjoy it!
10. Only you can protect yourself
Be alert! The world’s got better things to do than plot against you. But have your common sense working. Follow some basic safety norms that you can keep handy anywhere!
11. It’s never as bad as you’re told it’ll be
Sitting in the comfort of our homes, and browsing through the Internet, you’ll come across too many images of places. Images that are created by the media (often as a part of some political strategy) of places and its people. When you go, you’re warned time and again of the BIG BAD WORLD.
Guess what? It’s an awesome place outside (with your common sense on your shoulders). All that you’d ever heard about places might just change when you visit them.
12. Hello Me!
Travel solo to see the world. Travel solo to meet yourself! Ever heard that? It’s clichéd, but true to it’s word. Sometimes you just need to be all alone, to realize your weaknesses, to break through your delusions about yourself and to meet the hero in you! I’ll be honest and tell you that solo trips aren’t for everyone. They do bring a sense of loneliness. But it’s about time too. So, have you said hello to your self yet?
13. SOLO TRIPS ARE NEVER OVER-HYPED!
THEY’RE WORTH EVERY BIT OF EXPERIENCE. THEY TRULY ARE! Honestly, to travel solo is one of the most personal experiences that you’ll never be fully be able to comprehend. I believe it’ll change something inside you! But that’s a part of your experience. An experience that’s full of learning, living and loving!
This article was first published on Awara Diaries