unexpected notes: a open letter to first time solo travelers

Dear First Time Solo Traveler,

You’ve booked your ticket or you’re on the road: either way, you’re doing this. You’re embarking on a journey full of uncertainty and unknowns, but what you don’t know is that you will be learning so much about yourself and the world around you. You’ll come across situations that will make you cry or scream or want to come home, but don’t. The toughest situations are often the ones that you grow the most from.

My experiences traveling solo have been the best travels I’ve encountered so far. They’ve been full of happiness and movie magic and all sorts of clichés. They’re the journeys in which I’ve “found myself,” and I truly mean it when I say I would not be the same person I am today without my solo travels.

The scary part about solo traveling is feeling lonely. I won’t lie; it happens. And while of course, the goal is to feel just as happy alone as with others, it takes time to learn to love yourself enough to enjoy your own company. Until then, the best way to overcome getting lonely is to put yourself out there. If you see another solo traveler, ask them what their plans are or if they’d like to join you on an outing. Stay at hostels and talk to your dorm mates. Go on pub crawls and day tours. Meet amazing people and learn to become best friends with someone in the span of ten minutes. Get to know their life stories before getting their name. Make unexpected friendships- they’re often the ones that you’ll remember forever.

The best part about solo travel is the serendipity of it all. You’re free to do whatever you’d like to do; you can throw your plans to the wind and join your quickly-found friends on an adventure. You can fall in love with a foreigner and no one can judge you for only knowing them for 72 hours – that’s basically a lifetime in travel time. You’re free to do whatever you please, and you’ll gain so much self-confidence and strength by doing so. You get to choose the path you follow.

You may come across a life-changing epiphany or you may not; no matter what, you’ll be coming home from your first solo adventure so much more you; so much more aware of who you are and so many lessons learned. Even if you decidedly hate solo travel, you will come back so much richer with experience and wholeness.

When traveling solo for the first time, make the most of your adventure. Appreciate all of the good times and appreciate the bad times- they’ll be the moments teaching you. On the road, there are no mistakes or failures, just learning experiences. Do what you think is impossible, fall in love quickly and fall hard, say yes to things you’d never do at home, make memories that will last forever. Be completely absorbed in your own journey, but don’t forget to call home. Be kind, laugh loads, and be unapologetically you.


You’re going to have the best adventure.

Love and light being sent your way!






26 thoughts on “unexpected notes: a open letter to first time solo travelers

      1. Either Angkor Wat, Cambodia or Ajanta & Ellora temples, India. Not yet decided. India is an easier option since I stay there but in case you have been to Cambodia, do share your experience.


      2. I’ve only been to Siem Reap in Cambodia! I love the temples there- they’re pretty magical! Siem Reap is a really fun place to be, but I hear great things about the other parts of Cambodia as well, and I’m dying to go!


      3. That’s great to hear! thanks for the insights. Cambodia is surely on my list, Its only a question of now or later. Lets see how it pans out. Will let you know on my first solo travel experience!


  1. An interesting post Anya which concentrates mostly on the positive aspects of solo travel and how to get the most from it. This makes a change from all of the negative lists of things to avoid, especially for young women travelling solo. My wife and I have been to Nepal many times, her home country, but while she stayed in Kathmandu with family I would “disappear ” into the Himalaya for weeks at a time on my own. I would meet and interact with many locals as well as other tourists and even today I can remember things about them and their lives ……. but not their names 😂😂


  2. Thank you so much for this. I actually plan to start solo traveling soon and it means a lot that I was able to spot this article of yours. Thank youuuu!


  3. You know when I went on my solo trip to india my first thought was it is gonna be like eat pray love. But as i was flying I came across some podcast where the speakers were saying when you go on solo ventures do not expect it to be all organic and you be coming back with answers to your life’s problems. & so i let everything go and just focus on moment to moment. I had loads of fun. But i really did not find the answers I was looking for in the mountains of dharamshala. But you are right, during that phase you come back and nothing is the same anymore. Somehow the world view is not the same. And it is one of the best experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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