My First Time Traveling Solo
You want to travel, but your friends are busy, don’t have enough money to travel or don’t want to go to the same places you do. Have you ever thought about solo travel? It is an amazing and empowering experience. Here you can read about, what kind of experiences 10 female travel bloggers have made during their first solo travel trip:
Alice – Teacake Travels – Vietnam
My first time travelling solo was about proving to myself who I was, what I could do, what I could achieve and who I could become as a result. I was a stubborn, independent traveller and needed to tackle my adventures alone to become the woman I am today. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I left the safety of teaching English in South Korea to really go it alone and ended up riding solo on a motorbike through Vietnam for three months. There was literal blood, sweat and tears. I had to learn how to drive treacherous Vietnamese roads. I had to learn how to make difficult decisions by myself. I had to learn what the hell to do when my bike broke down on a steep mountain in the pouring rain with no-one around. I had to learn how to keep myself together when I didn’t see another English-speaking person for a week in the far north. It was brilliant! If you want to learn about life, go to solo travel school. Onwards and upwards ladies!
Alyssa – My Live’s a Movie – Sydney
Fateful, organized chaos, is how I’d describe my first time completely traveling solo. I had just traveled to South Africa to volunteer, then Thailand where I met up with some friends I knew, then the next stop was Sydney, via a Malaysian Airlines flight, which was completely empty since I took it about two weeks after the second….incident.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Sydney, was go find a Western Union in the airport, because since I had gotten my debit and credit cards lost/stolen in Thailand, I had no money and my mom had to wire me some. It was raining, and cold, which is rare for Sydney, but of course just my luck, especially since I was staying near the infamous Bondi Beach, but I decided to make the best of it, and find an indoor activity instead.
The Sydney Aquarium seemed like a good idea, so I bought a ticket on the bus and went, not finding it odd at all that there was no one up front to take my ticket. Long story short, I got locked in the Sydney Aquarium on my first day there, alone, for about an hour before I busted open the emergency exit and escaped.
The next day it was still cold and dreary out, so I sat alone on Bondi Beach in my giant jacket trying to take GoPro pictures of the surfers. Apparently one of them noticed, and came running up to me like a taller, tanner, David Hasslehoff, and after hearing my miserable story about the money and aquarium, ended up inviting me to hang out with him and his friends.
Since it was my first time traveling solo, I was extremely reluctant (even though he was really cute), but I ended up going, and meeting a ton of awesome Aussies, and getting to experience Bondi from a local’s perspective rather than a touristic one!
Christine – Tour de Lust – Amsterdam
It’s been over 7 years since I graduated college. I had no job lined up and no obligations after graduation. So what could I do while waiting for someone to hire me? I had never thought about traveling solo, but a few of my friends were backpacking through Europe and gave me the idea to travel! My family is very traditional and thought I was insane because I’m a girl and shouldn’t be traveling alone. I went for it anyway! I decided to take my very first solo trip to Amsterdam! I chose Amsterdam because it’s a big city, very safe, and most people speak the same language. At times it can be awkward when there is no one to take my photos or eating alone at a restaurant, it takes time to get use, but I began to ask strangers to take my photos and sat at the bar to talk to bartenders at restaurants. Something I don’t have a problem with now! Amsterdam has a lot of museums, which is a great way to spend alone time. I wanted to feel safe and be surrounded by other travelers, so I decided to book a well known tour company halfway through my trip! This was a great idea because I met so many other travelers just like me! As a first timer it allowed me to feel safe. I did not feel alone and got to experience Amsterdam with other solo travelers. My first solo trip was one of the best experiences ever and it was when I officially got hit with the travel bug!
Laura – dreamgazer – Southeast Asia
My first solo travel experience changed me but for the better.
So like many travels plans mine started out as scribbles in my notebook gathering inspiration, I had the ideas but it was putting them all into action that was the hardest part for me. You see I had put off going travelling for a few years, of the fear of not having anyone to go with. But this year I finally found the right person; myself. As soon as I booked my ticket to go explore SEAsia the nerves kicked in, knowing I was going to be completely out of my comfort bubble did scare me, but a few weeks later there I was standing at the departures saying goodbye to my Mum, the last question she ask was ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ That was when I knew this was going to be the best decision I had ever made.
Stepping off my plane into an unknown country I admit it was daunting and I was a little apprehensive about everything. However after a while my body got used to the time zone, my skin got used to the weather, my mind got used to the culture and most importantly I got used to being in my own company. I accomplished so much each day, even if it was the littlest things because you learn that you are responsible for everything. My journey wouldn’t of been the same without meeting like-minded souls on the way, most who were travelling theirselves, not forgetting the locals of each place I travelled to, the warm smiles and happy gestures that made you feel just at home.
The best gift that this trip gave me was realizing what freedom meant to me, being able to wake up and plan my day just for me and not having someone else dictate my plans. Feeling that pure bliss of happiness and love because everyday was lived right in that moment, realising every single day should be like that no matter where you are. So just book that ticket and go, you honestly won’t regret it.
Leah – Via Leah – Australia
I never really expected so many twists and turns on my journey, but I guess that should have been assumed when I decided to travel alone for the first time. To be honest, I never really counted my first solo trip until I booked something for myself by myself. I have flown to visit family in the past, but the adventure lies when your surroundings are unfamiliar. I traveled for more than 24 hours to Adelaide, South Australia. Flights were delayed and overbooked which had me sleeping on the floors in the airport. But once I got myself in the country, I realized how powerful that moment was when I discovered, “I can do this on my own… I did this on my own.”
I spent over half a year in Australia where I was tested culturally and personally. While visiting, I made an effort to meet as many people as I could and attend events weekly. I joined sports team, photographed for a local online magazine, contributed to the University paper, and did waitressing on the side. The truth was, I couldn’t afford the trip over to begin with so I only bought myself a one-way ticket. I had to work most of my time there in order to save up for a flight back to the United States. This highlights that there are always alternatives to getting where you want. You don’t need all the money in the beginning. Yes, it will cost you something to travel, but it will cost your heart more when you turned yourself away from an opportunity that could impact your life.
Megan – Mapping Megan – England/ Finland
I traveled solo for the first time at age 18. I boarded a plane to the UK and excitedly started my gap year abroad – I would be working as a teaching assistant in a boarding school, and have 17 weeks to travel Europe as I pleased.
There was no culture shock during my first few weeks in England – I was in a country which spoke the same language, and even though I had traveled alone, I was surrounded by other Australian teenagers at the school doing the same. My first experience of culture shock, and perhaps my first “real” solo journey, came during the first school break.
Excited to discover Europe, I jumped on a plane to Helsinki. It didn’t hit me that I was ill prepared until I arrived in Finland and had to attempt to find the baggage claim. This was the first time I had experienced a language barrier, and it hadn’t dawned on me that simple tasks like collecting my bag, or communicating with a taxi driver would be difficult things to do.
I found my bag after stalking a few other passengers from the same plane (which included an awkward toilet stop!), and managed to find a cab with a game of charades. Luckily, most people throughout Scandinavia speak fairly fluent English, so the trip overall was a blast. Though it taught me not to take for granted that everyone will understand you overseas. You’re traveling to their country, so it’s you who should make the effort, not them.
A little bit of language prep before a trip can go a long way, and just knowing how to communicate the basics will help to feel less intimidated on arrival, and you’ll often find you feel more safe.
Melodie – Adventures of Melodious – Australia
My name is Melodie, and I am a travel addict. I have just returned to Canada after over four years of continuous travel, much of it on my own where I met some of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for. The first time I truly travelled alone, not just to a distant relative or to meet a friend in another country, I was 25. I had an Australian Working Holiday Visa and had spent the previous three months making my way to Australia by visiting friends and family across Canada and the United States. A month after I arrived in Australia I was staying with a cousin in Canberra when I decided that I had to take the leap and book a flight somewhere where I didn’t know a soul. Within 20 minutes of that decision I had purchased a flight to Tasmania for a week later.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was nervous to stay in a hostel wondering if I would make friends, but I must have picked the perfect place to stay. The first day I explored Hobart alone and it was a freeing feeling. Normally a social person I didn’t mind that I was doing hikes and eating at restaurants without anyone else. I did make friends later, on my second evening I befriended a free spirited French woman and fun girl from Korea. We ended up touring around for days and later exchanged contact details. This experience set the precedence for the rest of my journey. It just took one leap of faith, and suddenly I had the courage to book a trip knowing that at the other end there would be nothing waiting for me except for new experiences and some amazing new friends!
Nam – Laugh Travel Eat – Berlin
It was August, 2014. I was standing on a bridge across from the Berliner Dom, looking for a good spot to take a photo. It was the first time I had ever felt alone in the world even though I was surrounded by a crowd. Now you might think that it’s a negative feeling, but in truth it was refreshing and empowering. While we often end up alone in our city running errands or even just roaming around, it feels different when you are in a foreign place. I had no one to share funny moments or things that I noticed to or anyone to help me take photos or needed me to.
I was, frankly, out of my comfort zone. But without someone to talk to, I was able to focus more on my surrounding and absorb more of what’s going on around me. I had all the time to line up for a shot of the Cathedral without being hurried, but I also had to pluck up some courage to ask strangers to take a photo for me. I got to decide, alone, whether it was worth the entrance fee to visit and had no one else to blame when it turned out to be less than what I expected. I was completely by myself – and that’s something that doesn’t happen often in your life, and it helps me to be more independent.
Nicki – EATLIVETRAVELDRINK – Iceland/ Ireland
For me, part of being an experienced traveler was taking the plunge to travel solo. I knew I wanted to go to Ireland and Iceland, so I did a stopover in Iceland for a couple days and then went on to explore Ireland. Both countries were magnificent in their own ways.
Iceland was magical in that it was covered in snow, the sun rose late, the people were welcoming, and I felt safe the entire time. I froze to death because I didn’t pack properly, but it didn’t stop me from exploring the country. I went to the Blue Lagoon on my first day and relaxed in the waters to decompress from my flight. It is every bit as amazing as you would expect. The second day I did a full day Golden Circle Tour. Around every corner was an amazing site to behold in Iceland.
When I left for Ireland, the wind was blowing at nearly 60 miles per hour. How I made it to Ireland alive is beyond me. Upon arrival the winds were so strong that they could not give us our luggage. I waited 2 days for my stuff to come back. I didn’t let it ruin my trip – I purchased some items locally and went about touring. I stayed in a hostel that I loved, went on a rail tour to the Cliffs of Moher, tasted whisky, drank beer, saw the long library, ate amazing food, and walked almost the entire city.
I had already traveled extensively prior to this trip, so I felt like I would be ok. I never once felt unsafe and have nothing but good memories.
Sandra – Tourlina – Nepal
Some years back, I heared from a friend an amazing story about a Reiki- and Yoga teacher from Nepal. As I practiced Reiki already for some time, I got curious. I wrote an e-mail to the teacher, asked him to be his student. Soon, I got a reply; telling me that I can come to Kathmandu 3 weeks later for 3 weeks. I booked the flight without knowing exactly what is expecting me and already 3 weeks later he welcomed me in Kathmandu. It got an amazing time with new insights into Reiki, Yoga and meditation, with visiting the awesome sights in and around Kathmandu in the afternoons, spending time with my teacher and his lovely family and traveling one extra week with the teachers daughter around Nepal. This story maybe is not about solo travel in a classical way. But like most solo travel trips, you start alone and you don’t know what will expect you. At the end you weren’t lonely one day, because you meet other people on your way, with whom you spend time together, which get travel buddies and sometimes friends for your whole life.