In a few days, I leave on my first solo adventure – for 5 weeks I will travel around Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, all by myself. I’ve never thought that I would be brave enough for solo travel and so now I find myself wondering why I chose to do it.
Every time I tell someone about my travel plans, I get one of these two reactions:
“This is so awesome! You’ll have an amazing time and meet so many new people! You will have a life-altering journey. You’re brave and there is nothing you can’t handle.”
“Alone? What do you mean alone? But…do you know anyone there and where will you stay? You’re brave…I would never do something like this” (as they step back puzzled and look me up and down with pity).
In the last few months, I heard many variations of these two opinions, and each had something to do with “bravery”. This made me wonder if my travels will be a spiritual journey, or nothing but irresponsible nonsense. As I am far more familiar with the latter, I decided to take a more in-depth look at why I’ve decided to travel solo.
1. I Found Cheap Tickets
Let’s just get the truth out of the way, so that it doesn’t get awkward later on.
2. I Am Getting Addicted to Sofia
I love my city – Sofia is the greenest EU capital and it’s probably the cheapest one as well. It’s full of lighthearted party people and there is barely a night without at least 5 cool events to choose from. Our park culture is legendary, right along iconic cities, such as Berlin or Paris, and you’ll find art on every corner. Spring makes it especially difficult to leave this bohemian paradise behind.
On the other hand, our village might be big and awesome, but it’s nonetheless a village. I don’t remember the last time I met someone with whom I shared no mutual friends. This leads to some embarrassing revelations and can be downright boring. Besides, the city’s latest and greatest is so addictive, that if I stay here a bit longer I will spend all of my money on trendy clothes and bars. Of course, I’ll have to pay the occasional bill as well, but only after the second termination notice.
I love you, Sofia, but I need some space.
3. I Won’t Wait for Anyone to Hand Me My Dreams
To be honest, I never planned to travel alone. However, while I journeyed across Indonesia last summer, I met lots of solo travelers, who were having a great time on a budget, without any special skills. This made me think that, perhaps, it’s won’t be that terrible to go on trips by myself, when I really want to do them, but have nobody to go with. My loved ones have their own dreams and I’d prefer to support them in that, rather than nag them to help me realize mine. Of course, it always feels amazing to share your experiences with friends and family. But should we really wait around for someone to come and hand us our dreams?
3. I Am Terrified Of “Someday”
“I will do it someday”, sounds like a death sentence to me. Of course, we all make plans for the future and smirk at the live in the moment philosophy. But however carefully we may scheme, sometimes the unexpected happens and “someday” never comes. I am certain that everyone can think of at least 2 examples, from their own life, when their dreams fell prey to “someday”.
As frightening as it may be, life is finite. It saddens me to think about loved ones who kept postponing their dreams for the future until they no longer had a future. Thanks to them I know that the best “someday” is right now.
4. I Need to Get to Know Myself
Not counting a few days here and there in Europe, while waiting for a friend’s flight to arrive, I’ve never traveled alone. Lately, I’ve started to realize that I am perfectly capable of managing tasks that previously seemed impossible and so now I’d like to see my true, bare self.
Solo travel, thousands of kilometers away from my loved ones, the comforts of home, and the culture I relate to, holds countless possibilities. And what better way to get to know yourself than a challenge? I am at a crossroads in my life, which makes me feel confused and overwhelmed. However, I sense that this journey will allow me to meet the real me and feel more powerful than ever.
6. The World Is Just Too Important to Miss
Over my bed hangs a scratch map of the world. As much as it inspired me, it also makes me realize what tiny portion of the world I’ve seen. It’s so easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security, and nest in a tiny nook of the world, only to have it become your entire universe.
My loved ones and my home are indispensable, but a fire of curiosity burns within me and won’t let me rest. This world is so big and interesting, yet the time we have here is so short. So, I feel that I need to taste and experience as much as I can snatch, or it will be the biggest self-inflicted injustice imaginable.
I need to have intense experiences and fill my life with epic stories!
And so, a few days before I set off on my solo travel adventure, my mind and body are filled with a rush of conflicting emotions. Even though I will be traveling on my own, I will be forever grateful to those wonderful people who help support the weight of my soul. Am I afraid? Sure, but that’s what makes it so good!
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