Let me guess….you’ve always wanted to travel the world but can’t find a stable travel partner. Everyone says that they want to join you – but they don’t take you seriously. Where do you begin? Is it safe? Will you feel lonely?
I’m here to break up your solo travel fears and inspire you to take the leap.
Traveling….alone….is it safe?
One of the biggest fears I notice in people is their safety – because traveling alone to Brazil can’t be safe, amiright? No, you’re wrong. You see, this used to be one of the issues I had with traveling alone. The thought of stepping off that plane alone and being forced to discover the public transportation on your own was terrifying to me – now it’s one of my favorite adventures. When I tell people that I travel alone, AS A FEMALE, they look at me as if I am psychotic. “You could be kidnapped”, “have you ever heard of sex trafficking?”, “you will be so vulnerable”. This can happen anywhere – this can happen to me at my local grocery store at sunset, really. People base these ideas off of history, and films, and “horror stories” of travel…but this happens everyday in the United States.
Be smart and take precautions.
No matter where you are at in the world, you need to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Many issues stem from walking alone after dark or drinking too much alcohol and losing your control. Always walk with people after dark and watch your alcohol consumption. Make sure you’ve got a sober buddy to help you out. One of my biggest tips as a solo female backpacker is to walk with purpose. Put away your phone, keep your eyes on watch, and walk like a badass. Let them be intimidated. Be aware. Stay out of danger areas. Trust your gut. You have to be smart – but I have traveled to dozens of countries alone and have never had any issues. Take the leap.
Won’t I be lonely?
Only if you want to be. This is something I also worried about in the beginning, but now I laugh about it. Years ago, I remember being in my first dorm room in a hostel alone in Switzerland. People were coming in and out of my room and I felt kind of lonely. Eventually a girl simply said “I like your tattoo!”, we talked about it, I saw hers, and 15 minutes later we were walking in the square together and buying beers. People are traveling alone all over the world and ready to be friends with you. Now, I am that girl that speaks up first. Say hi to a stranger, invite your hostel roommate out for lunch, walk up to that cute guy at the bar. All it takes is that first “hi” which could end up in a lifelong friendship. Travelers are super welcoming, ask to join them and everyone will more than likely pull a chair out for you and start introducing themselves. On the other-hand, if you want your alone days, you can have them. Book a private room in a hostel or rent out a room on AirBnB. Take yourself for a massage or stay in bed all day reading that book you brought along that you haven’t opened in 4.5 weeks (guilty).
What if you’re shy?
Traveling alone will change that. It forces you out of your comfort zone and changes you entirely. If you don’t want to be alone, you’re going to make friends. It’s bound to happen. People from around the world are going to bring you out of your shell and you will grow as a person throughout the process. And one day – you will be the person helping out the shy guys. Take the leap.
What if I get bored being alone?
Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to be bored during travel. Sometimes you need days where you just lounge in bed with some Netflix because you’re having too much fun. You are in a foreign city where nobody knows your name. You get to be exactly who you want to be and do what you want to do. You are surrounded by fresh faces and unfamiliar streets and buildings. There are museums, parks, bars, restaurants, historical sites, mountains, waterfalls, and local people waiting for you at every corner.
Even the small villages are packing loads of fun with locals. Even the 12 hour bus rides through the country streets of Peru will keep you entertained with occasional locals jumping on trying to sell freshly cut mango in plastic bags…and maybe even a chicken as your bus buddy.
I think I will get homesick, then what?
This is inevitable. It’s going to happen to you – it happens to everyone. It’s all about how you handle it. Give a family or friend a call – talking to them will help, even more so if they encourage you and motivate you to keep going. Get out and make the most out of your stay. You are in a different part of the world, some people would kill to be in the position you are in. Go out and find the beauty in it. Write in a journal. Pour your heart out and reflect. Maybe you’re not happy with your surroundings? Switch up your accommodation or even the city to a place where you’ll be more comfortable. Go exercise and feel those endorphins. You will get homesick….we all have our bad days. Just push through and be thankful. Connect with loved ones and motivate yourself.
What if I run out of money?
Being smart with your money during you travels is VERY important. You’re alone and don’t have many options for someone to lend you quick money. Check out my blog about how I travel the world by myself at such a young age for some tips on how to keep your budget right!
I’m scared to get lost…..
I used to be so scared of getting off at the right bus stop or taking a wrong turn that I wouldn’t step too far out of the area I was familiar with. Now, I don’t mind getting lost because that is part of the adventure. I have found really amazing local bars and viewpoints just because I simply got lost. GET LOST.
Focus on the good things about traveling alone. Not your fears.
I’ve been traveling by myself for a few years now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Of course I don’t mind if someone wants to meet up with me for a week or so, but traveling alone is who I am….it’s what I like….it’s what I prefer. I’ll help you out with a few positives to focus on. ↓↓↓
Looking back on my first trip alone is interesting. I remember the fears I had. I remember my heart beating fast. I remember the language barriers and being terrified to try and talk to anyone.
I have grown as a traveler and a person. I have become more outgoing. I have learned more about the world and different cultures. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone with food, religion, and meeting people. I have become more empathetic. I have become more confident. I learned how to master different public transportation. I have learned how to get myself out of sticky situations. I have become the person that says “hello” first. I don’t get embarrassed as easily. I have found who I am as a person. I have found what sets my soul on fire.
I won’t lie to you.
Traveling alone can be scary. It can be intimidating.
But I challenge you to….
I hope I inspired you to take the leap and buy that plane ticket. If you have any further questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to contact me.
Please follow along with my travel photos on Instagram HERE with @AsKimTravels
Thank you for reading my blog post and supporting me. Hope to see you again soon.