When I was younger, I was really shy. I used to blush pretty much every time someone spoke to me and I hated being the centre of attention. As I’ve got older, I’ve grown in confidence (even though I’ve still got a long way to go) and one of the biggest triggers for this was going travelling on my own after uni. I’d now recommend everyone goes travelling solo at least once in their life – and where’s why! (You can also check out some old school pictures of me in my blonde youth…)
How did I end up travelling solo?
I wasn’t really into the idea of travelling when I was at school, and I certainly didn’t want to have a gap year. It was only when I met different people at university that I felt much more interested in getting out there and exploring the wider world. It makes sense, just going to uni pushed me outside of my comfort zone, so pushing myself a little further was the natural next step.
I ended up travelling solo by chance. My boyfriend at the time was a medic and as part of his course, he went to work abroad. He chose New Zealand and so I ended up tagging along and heading to Australia while he worked, before meeting up again for a month or so together in NZ.
I wasn’t in a great place at the time – I was depressed, my relationship with that boyfriend was breaking down and I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
Travelling solo came at just the right time.
How did I feel about going it alone?
I was terrified! I didn’t think I’d be able to make any friends and I was scared I’d be alone for the two months or so that I was away. It’s totally normal to feel scared going into something so new (and if you do, you need to read this book) but the important thing was that I did it, I pushed through my fear and emerged stronger on the other side.
Where did I go and what did I do?
I went to Australia – spending a month in Sydney house sitting for my family friend and their two gorgeous St Bernard dogs, then doing the typical traveler route up the East Coast from Sydney to Cairns.
I was lucky enough to have friends staying in Sydney at the same time as me, but as soon as I got on the Oz Experience bus on George Street to start my six weeks up the East Coast, I was totally on my own.
On that route, I stopped at Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island, Bundaberg, 1770, Kroombit, Mission Beach and Cairns. Phew!
Why would I recommend travelling solo?
I learned *so* much about myself during those six weeks alone. I learned that I am so much more capable than what I believed. I learned how strong I am and how much I can rely on myself. A lesson that my painfully uncertain and insecure 22 year old really needed to learn.
I made friends, I made so many friends I soon became sick of people!
I threw myself out of a plane at 15,000 feet
I went for a night out on my own
I sat in a bar on my own and didn’t feel self-conscious
I cooked my own food
I got my first tattoo, saying “be happy”
I made some bad decisions
I made some fucking fantastic decisions
I forgot about my boyfriend and my dying relationship
I went scuba diving and saw a turtle
I budgeted my money and I didn’t have to ask for more
I really felt freedom for the first time
I survived, and more than that, I thrived
And sometimes, I wish I could do it all again! Not because I don’t love my life, my husband, my bunnies, my hamster and all my other responsibilities. But because it gave me a different perspective on life, on myself, on happiness. I truly think it changed my life for the better.
If you have any questions at all about going travelling solo, then feel free to ask me them – I’d love to help!
Have you ever gone travelling solo?
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Im on an exchange at the moment (almost a year) and I arrived here alone, so I think that counts as travelling alone… And I’ve learned a lot about myself (although I do miss my family now a bit:))
Charlie Elliott says
I was in a similar Situation to you when i travelled solo; it was a time in my life when nothing was quite right. i felt such freedom being by myself for three months, exploring and meeting new people. It totaly reinvogorated me and i still do the odd trip here and there alone now if i need to recalibrate! Charlie, Distracted