If you had asked me a few years ago if I’d ever pack and bags and dare to venture out on an adventure on my own, my answer would have been a mighty resounding NO! I would have followed that up with questions like ‘Am I crazy?’ ‘How would I survive?’ ‘How would I interact with people?’
Yep, I was an extremely shy introvert and the thought of travelling solo scared the hell out of me. But in the year 2015, I took my first ever solo trip around some parts of Europe. It’ll be cliché to say that the trip was life changing but yes, it was and I have never looked back since.
Right now, the decision to travel solo is a no brainer. I just think of a new destination and go. But it wasn’t always this way. For my first trip, I didn’t really make a conscious decision to go solo, it just sort of happened. I was to travel with a partner and we had paid for a lot of things upfront. She didn’t get a visa so she couldn’t make it but I decided to go anyway.
I researched the hell out of the places I’d be visiting. This was both very scary and very exciting for me. It was during this time I discovered the world of travel blogging – which I am now a part of and learnt about hostels, Airbnb, single supplements and so many stuff. It was exciting. I knew the names of train stations and places I had never even been to. I could map out my routes in my head. I also tried to learn a few words in the local languages of the places I was going to.
I had read all these articles about how solo travel was awesome but the truth is I wasn’t really buying it. I was scared of many things. Scared of sleeping in hostels, sharing train berths with strangers, being homesick and lonely, getting stranded or losing my way. I had many fears but somehow I was able to push them aside and just go.
I guess my expectations weren’t that high. I wanted to have a good time but I wasn’t really expecting it to be awesome.
It was awesome! Every part of that first trip and several others after it have been nothing short of amazing. Yes, there were a few times I got lonely, lost my way, got stranded but when I look back, I wouldn’t change a thing!
I slept in hostels and met the most amazing people. I saw how good and kind people can be to strangers. It was overwhelming. When I got stranded, people paid for my bus/train tickets. I remember walking into my hostel in Rome and telling the receptionist that I was having issues with my card and wasn’t sure I’d be able to pay at checkout. He said to me ‘don’t worry, we’ll figure it out in the morning’ and he went on to buy me lunch!
Apart from all the fun I had, I learnt so many things. I became more assertive, kinder. I formed my own opinions about people and places and I had a new boldness to take on the world!
Would I Ever Travel Solo Again?
Absolutely! I think it’s something everyone (who is interested in travelling) should do at least once. Maybe you’d like it, maybe you wouldn’t but at least now, you would know for sure. I didn’t think I would like it but now, I am like a solo travel advocate! And this advocate says, just go for it!
Visit Amarachi’s blog here for more of her amazing travel experiences, trust me, you wanna visit.