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!