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Afraid to Travel Alone? Here’s How to Start Slow

Afraid to Travel Alone? Here’s How to Start Slow

People have one of three reactions when I tell them that I am an avid solo traveler:

“That’s so cool, I wish I was brave enough to do that.”

“You travel alone? Isn’t that dangerous? What if something happens, you’ll have no one to fall back on?”

“I love traveling alone; it’s the best isn’t it?”

First off, anyone can travel alone with proper planning and the proper mindset.

Second, most cities in the U.S are more dangerous than large cities abroad-we’ll get into that in detail later. Third, having people around in a crisis can actually make it more difficult to be decisive and take action quickly.

So now that we’ve debunked those myths, if you are afraid to travel alone, what is holding you back?

Let’s take a deep dive into it and talk about some strategies to overcome these hurtles so you too can be that cool girl that travels abroad.

You Are Afraid of Being Alone

 

 

“But isn’t traveling alone boring without anyone to talk to? Don’t you get lonely?”

Let me ask you this, when was the last time you spent a significant amount of time alone? I cherish the time I spend by myself. It’s a moment to reconnect and meet different versions of yourself, which is crucial in maintaining a balanced life.

Concerns about being bored or lonely often stem from a fear of spending time alone. You’re worried everyone is going to think to themselves “That girl is by herself, what a loser”. Or “What am I going to do with no one to talk to, stay on my phone the whole trip?”

Why not give it a try and see if that’s true.

Start with something small like going to a concert, comedy show, or new restaurant alone to build up confidence. You’ll quickly realize no one actually cares or pays attention that you are by yourself {oftentimes there will be other people riding solo there too}. You may find that a minute to yourself can be a nice change of pace. Once you are more comfortable with your new solo status, take a weekend trip to Boston, Philadelphia or neighboring towns. Considering treating yourself to a staycation and take a local trip to the Bronx, Coney Island or Long Island.

 

“Okay, I’m comfortable doing things alone, but I don’t want an entire week alone. I’m not the kind of person that is outgoing and can make friends easily”.

You definitely can! It just takes some practice and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Try going to a networking event in your niche; it’s a great way to meet new connections and to practice introducing yourself to new people.

Does the idea of attending a networking event make you cringe?

First, try a less intimidating space, like a concert or comedy show and make a goal for yourself to talk to at least five people. Build up to talking to more people and attending a networking event solo. This will give you the confidence to approach people at your hostel or out and about while you are abroad.

“But I’m going to a country where no speaks English, won’t that automatically isolate me?”

Spend some time before your trip learning some basic phrases of the local language. You could even look up a local language meet up where you can practice your conversational skills before you go. Keep in mind that there are other travelers in the same boat as you, so definitely seek out hostels and other places where you can meet more people speaking the same language.

You Won’t Have Anyone to Fall Back On If You Get Into a Sticky Situation

 

This was one of my biggest fears that deterred me from traveling abroad.

Four years ago, I found myself in Beijing with a friend of mine. As my first trip outside of the country I was beyond excited. The first morning I woke up at 6am ready to hit the streets but my friend was less than thrilled. She wanted to spend the day in the hotel room playing video games and grab dinner later on at night {true story}. So I was faced with a dilemma — venture out into this foreign city alone, risking getting lost or maybe being kidnapped or play it safe and stay in the hotel room with my friend.

I chose the former — so I grabbed a business card of the hotel I was staying at and departed for the subway. My phone didn’t work in Beijing {I didn’t know anything about SIM cards at the time} so I wrote down directions/addresses on a piece of paper. And you know what happened? I had a really awesome day.


I ended up exploring an outdoor art gallery, visiting a museum dedicated to the afterlife, and wandering through the night markets. Traveling alone in a foreign country was nothing like I expected it to be. It was liberating to walk the streets of Beijing alone. I felt so connected to the world around me — I vividly remember standing in the middle of a busy shopping district soaking in the energy from the crowds passing by. That trip gave me the confidence to take my first solo trip to Thailand the following year and it was the beginning of my solo traveling lifestyle.

You will may run into situations that feel unsafe, you may lose your passport or your phone but all of these things are manageable with proper planning. The reality is these things can happen even if you are with other people — it’s just overcoming the mindset that you can’t do it. But guess what, you definitely can!

Don’t believe me? Test it out.

Try spending a day in your local city without your phone (or turn it off) to test your ability to think on your feet. You’ll be surprised at how well you cope. Or if you are feeling brave, take an improv class (UCB and Magnet Theater offer free courses) to help you get used to dealing with the unexpected.

“But isn’t it dangerous to travel alone as a woman?”

Safety is relative. Detroit has a higher crime and murder rate than any city in Colombia. If you always listen to your gut reaction, you will more times than not steer yourself out of dangerous situations. That being said, you still need to take some precautions, especially as a woman traveling alone such as not going out at night alone. Make sure to research online other solo travelers that have gone to your destination to see what their experiences were. Also look into safety, crime rates, and travel adversaries on the Bureau of Consular Affairs before you choose a destination.

You’ve Never Planned a Trip Before and You’re Worried About the Logistics of Traveling Abroad

 

One easy way to combat this is to keep things simple and do as much planning in advance as possible. Stick to visiting one city and book one hostel in advance as a home base, which will keep the logistics simple. Research things you want to do (Nomadness Travel Tribe, Nomadic Matt and The Blonde Abroad are great travel blogs for solo female travelers) and create a loose itinerary. That way when you get there, you don’t get as overwhelmed. As you get more solo trips under your belt, you can start adding on multiple cities /countries to your trip and plan less of the trip in advance. Especially as you start meeting people traveling, you are going to want to keep your plans loose to switch gears based on other traveler’s recommendations and travel plans.

A lot of the nitty gritty logistics pieces you can easily knock out in advance. Make sure to renew your passport (or get one) well in advance, even if you do not have a trip in mind yet. It takes about 30 days for this process and there are some countries that won’t accept a passport that expires within 30 days of entry.


Start to think about how you want to use your phone abroad. You can either get SIM cards (for unlocked phones) for each of the countries you are traveling to, you can rent a mobile WiFI device, or you can purely rely on local Wifi. Think about how much you are willing to spend on having access to a phone and research how reliable the Wifi connection is in the country you are traveling to. For example, most public places in Thailand have Wifi so you can easily get by. Conversely in Iceland, not only is there no Wifi on the Ring Road, it is a necessity for emergencies to have a working cellphone.

You may want to invest in a new backpack or set of luggage for your solo adventures. This should be done to gradually put your mindset in a closer position to travel alone. Consider what you’ll need to bring with you. I would also highly recommend getting quick-drying towels and clothing so can you wash them while you are on your trip to avoid over packing.

In life you may not have everything figured out, but as long as you are taking the steps needed to prepare and visualize yourself traveling alone, you will eventually go.


You Don’t Know Where You Want To Go Or Where To Go As a Solo Female Traveler



First, brainstorm any countries or regions of the world that you want to visit. If you don’t have a specific country or region in mind, start with thinking about what kind of trip you want. Do you want to be in a city, in a rural area, or a balance of both? Do you want a trip that’s active, adventurous, relaxing, or something in between?

Once you figure out what you want out of your solo adventure, research the best cities to visit as a solo female traveler.

One major thing to consider while doing this is your budget. Traveling to South America or Asia is going to be cheaper than going to Europe. But Europe is easier to navigate as more people speak English. You’ll also want to consider the season you are traveling in — you’ll want to avoid visiting parts of Asia during monsoon season or during the summer so make sure to look into the best travel times for your destination.

One you have a location picked, now is the fun part! Start to visualize what it is going to be like traveling alone to your destination. Better yet create a Pinterest board of all the places and things you want to do to get yourself pumped up for your trip.

Your Friends/Family Think It’s a Bad Idea

When I decided to take a last minute trip to Colombia, almost everyone I know thought I was crazy. “Isn’t it really dangerous?” “Isn’t there a massive drug problem and lots of kidnappings?”

While your friends and family have your best interests at heart, these concerns are really projections of their own fears with traveling alone. Many people also make assumptions about a location based on movies, tv shows, outdated or biased information so make sure to seek out people –whether virtually or that you may know, that have been to your destination as a solo traveler.

Share what you find with your friends/family along with your itinerary to make them more comfortable with your plans. Without meaning to, people around you can often hold you back from venturing out of your own comfort zone. You have to trust and take a chance on yourself. You never know where it may lead you.

Thanks for reading!

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By Cait Sarazin & Chizoba Anyaoha


Have any tips for first time solo travelers we didn’t cover? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure and hare in the comments below.

How to Plan Your Perfect Solo Adventure Based on Your Travel Style

You finally found the courage to plan a solo trip, but then you realize you have no idea what you’re doing (we’ve all been there on our first solo trip). You realize that without having to negotiate with other people for what to do, you have no idea what you want out of trip. What do I even want to do with my time? What would be my ideal trip?

Don’t worry, we got you.

We break down how to plan and get the most out of your solo trip based on your solo travel style

The Spontaneous Traveler

Do you shy away from committing to plans?

Do you like to the fly by the seat of your pants and see where the day takes you?

Do your friends know you as the person that would jump on the train to Philly to see a concert?

Do you love to wander into small shops and local restaurants without checking them out on Yelp first?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are a spontaneous traveler.

 

Here’s how to plan your ideal trip:

Go to Cities

Especially major cities in Asia and Europe, you can get away with planning less because there are so many options at your disposal. You’ll have countless restaurants, nightlife, museums, and art galleries that you can bop in and out of at your leisure. You can also spend your days wandering the streets and seeing what you run into — Tokyo is one of the best cities for this.

Take Advantage of Last Minute Deals

Travel Zoo and Travel Pirates, two companies specializing in flash sales {think a getaway to Punta Cana for $168}, are a gold mine for spontaneous travelers. Also keep an eye out for JetBlue flight flash sales that often feature one-way domestic flights for under $100.

Another great tool if you’re looking to explore all your flight options is Skyscanner. You can search for the cheapest flights for an entire month or for the entire year. You can also enter a specific location or search the entire world for the cheapest flights for the time period of your choosing. For the spontaneous traveler, this may be your new travel addiction.

Invest in Renting a WIFI Hotspot or SIM Cards





Although I always recommend not relying on WIFI when traveling abroad, if you intend to do little planning for a trip it is crucial to have access to the internet both for looking up things to do as well as keeping yourself safe. While traveling to a new country without a plan can be exciting, without as much research, you aren’t as informed about the safety and culture so it’s crucial to have a working phone in case you get into a dangerous situation.

Stay in Hostels

Even if you can afford to stay in nicer accommodations, I would recommend staying in a hostel to meet other travelers. Find a hostel that has a large communal area to hang out in or that serves food onsite so you can easily make new friends. Other travelers are great resources for ideas for things to do that you may not have thought of or places to avoid. You may end up meeting people to travel with on your journey and without set plans, you are free to pivot and join them.

The Travel Planner


Do you make detailed itineraries for trips {maybe down to the hour}?

Do you research everything you want to see and do in advance?

Do you book everything possible before you land and leave nothing up to chance?

Do you watch an extensive amount of videos and look up images of everything you want to see and do?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are a travel planner.


Here’s How To Make the Most of Your Trip:

Figure Out What Style of Trip You Want Before You Start Researching

Do you want a relaxing vacation laying on the beach or do you want to be trekking through the rainforest? Do you want to be in the heart of a bustling city or relaxing in a hammock enjoying the view on top of a mountain?

Figuring out the style of the trip you want before you start planning allows you to narrow your focus to find activities that will create that style of trip. If you start randomly researching whatever you find interesting, you may end up creating a trip where you are running around a city site-seeing when you really wanted to also spend time in nature.

Make Your Own Pre-Vetted Yelp With Google Maps


Google Maps has the fun feature called MyMaps, where you can create specific points of interest on a map and add in descriptions, color-coded icons for different categories, and even add multiple layers (just in case you want to make a Plan B itinerary). It’s a great way to have all the possible things you want to do that you’ve pre-researched at your fingertips. That way if you get to a location and are hungry, you can pull out your pre-created map and see if any of the places you researched are nearby.

Start with Booking Hotels/Flights First

I always feel committed to a trip and less stressed once I book my flights and hotels. These are the two major anchors of any trip and once you have them secured, you can breathe easy that the hardest part is over. As the trip gets closer, then you can start planning out specific things you want to do and tours/activities that you want to book.

Research People That Took a Similar Solo Trip

Hearing first hand-accounts from people that have already taken the trip that you are planning will give you more insight into what you are getting yourself into. It will help flesh out a mental picture of what your trip will be like. Oftentimes these travelers will have ideas about what not to miss, what to avoid, and any other relevant information that will help you get the most of out of your experience.

The Experimental Traveler


Do you love trying new things?

Do you crave experiences within a new surrounding?

Do you have no preference on what you do, you just want do it all?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are an experimental traveler.

Here’s How To Make the Most of Your Trip:

Seek Out Major Cities

Major cities have a constant stream of fun and interesting things to do to satisfy the dynamic city dwellers. Whether you want to go to a museum, see an improv show, go to an art gallery, or go bar hopping, you can find it all in a city. Not only will you find more new and unique experiences in a city, you’ll also find there is a never-ending supply of new things to do.

Research Travel Guides Made by Locals

To get the most out of your trip and have the most new experiences, look into guides made my locals. They will have an insider perspective on what things are worth going to and what are worth skipping so you can make the most out of your limited time.

Blend Elements of Planning and Spontaneity

With your goal of getting the most new experiences, there needs to be elements of planning and elements of seeing where the wind takes you.

Book your flight in advance and the first hotel you plan to stay at, but leave the rest of the lodging until you get to your destination. This will allow you to get a feel for your first destination and adjust accordingly if you find another location where there is more to do. You can easily get last minute lodging at hostelworld or booking.com.

Research what things you absolutely must do and book them in advance. Also have a list of things that you may want to do depending on time but that you don’t book in advance. This allows you to prioritize the experiences that are most important to you while also giving you the ability to be flexible with your future plans.

Thanks for reading!

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By Cait Saizan Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

How to Keep Your Solo Travel Vacation Glow When You Return From a Trip

Apply your “New City” mindset

While in a new city or country, everything around me excites me – the street food, children playing soccer, the smell of the air, local traffic,  crowds of people going about their day and the feel of cobblestoned streets underneath my feet. My senses take in almost everything and feel much alive. 

A good way to stay excited is to bring your traveling “New City” mindset back home. Think of the things you enjoyed experiencing while abroad, like long walks around the city, and try to do the same when you’re back home. Try to look at everything around you in the eyes of a tourist. Revisit activities  you previously assumed were only for travelers. They might come off as “cheesy” but you’ll surprise yourself with how much fun you’ll have.

I love when my friends come into town because it is an opportunity for me to see my city  through their eyes and try out things I probably would not have normally done. As a New York Native I try to avoid Times Square at all costs. When one of my friends came into town, she wanted to explore places in this area & I actually enjoyed myself that day. 

Re-discover Cultural Dishes

We all experience new dishes while traveling. Some of us remember our first and last bites of amazing food. Unfortunately there is no guarantee they will be available back home. If you live in a city like New York City, it is a bit easier to find certain foods you discovered in another country. If you came back from Spain, try their other Spanish dishes and try to be mindful when eating – taking in every bite slowly to really enjoy it. I promise you will never look at food the same way.

If you live outside of the city, making a new cuisine right at home can be an adventure you’ll surely enjoy! Every time I have an urge to drop everything to travel back to Italy, I open up my book full of recipes I gathered from locals while I lived in Florence and get busy in the kitchen.

Give yourself an extra day to readjust

As tempting as it is to use every minute of your vacation days off (you deserve to right?), going back to work the following day does not do your mental health any favors. Give yourself a day or two before going back to the office. This gives you ample time to adjust your mindset and re-visualize your life back home or at work – catch up on emails, tackle some chores, do some grocery shopping and meal prep, get over your jet lag, deal with personal matters, and to unpack. You’ll also have time to realize your vacation is actually over and that it’s time to get back to your life. 

Journaling

Start a journal to help you log your solo travels and take a trip down memory lane when you feel like it. Remembering all the life lessons learned on your journey, especially during the bad times,  will make you feel more empowered in life. From there, write down what you are grateful to have newly experienced, how you have grown from it, and find more appreciation for what you already have in your life. 

Start thinking about your next adventure

Start planning your next trip. Even if feels unrealistic – with a demanding job, a new baby, or no one to go with – day dream of places you want to go to. Visualizing in a new destination will help you to keep thinking about solo traveling again, in the next few months.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

Exploring the World on My Terms – DeAnna Taylor

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I’m DeAnna, a criminal defense attorney who now works as a freelance writer. While I’m technically still a licensed attorney, writing is my current love. I write for Travel Noire, CharlotteFive, and I’ve done a few pieces for XONecole and even Medium.


Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

To me, solo travel means freedom. It means letting go of anything that holds you back and simply living. It also means courage to step into the unknown.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

My first solo international trip was to Cuba in early 2017. It was on my bucket list before the restrictions got too crazy and I didn’t really have any friends that could go when I wanted to. So, I made the decision to do it on my own. Best decision ever. I read tons of blogs befor hand to get a feel of what to expect and how to prepare. Luckily they were all very accurate and to this day Cuba is still my favorite destination.

When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way.

Favorite International Meal?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I would have to say the pad thai in the streets of Khao San Road in Bangkok. You can get a plate for less than a dollar and cooked to order at a tiny little street cart. It’s delicious.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

I think my biggest let down happened recently in Amsterdam. I was solo and I ended up booking an Airbnb out in the suburbs to save money. But, I didn’t do my research on transportation prior to and I ended up wasting/spending so much money on trains and buses to get into central Amsterdam during my short stay. Next time I will just spend the money to stay in a more central area.


What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

One of my most memorable experiences was riding the train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was heading to see the Batu Caves and I heard the girl next to me listening to my church’s worship CD. She was a local and I was amazed that my church’s music had reached so far across the world. We struck up a conversation and she was amazed that I go to attend Elevation Church in person.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

That would definitely be in Cuba. I randomly met two young Cuban guys and they asked me to come hang out with them. They didn’t speak much English and my Spanish is only intermediate. Also, the wifi in Cuba is very limited. Yet, something about them didn’t make me feel afraid so I actually hung out with them and had an amazing time. We went to this random rooftop spot where they taught me how to dance salsa.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

I enjoy the ability to move at my own pace and explore on my terms. I’m somewhat of an introvert so I need time alone to recharge and operate and my highest level. When I’m on group trips sometimes I start to get really agitated and I shut down. When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way. This helps me to appreciate the trip even more.


What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

My advice is to do your research on your destination prior to going. Have a general idea of things you want to do and see and then try to stay in an area that’s close by to the majority of them. Also, don’t count out the locals. Sometimes they give the best recommendations.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the title? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

Release (your fears) Grow (as a person). Enjoy (the freedom and time alone).

You can check out DeAnna’s many solo travel trips on Instagram @brokeandabroadlife.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

Learning To Focus And Put Myself First – Lotte Huijsman

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

Before I left home in January of 2018, I used to work for the Dutch government as a business consultant in HR and procurement. It was a comfortable life and I had a great time with my colleagues. However, I felt that there was more to life than that. Now I am a full-time solo traveler! I do take on freelance writing and editing assignments from time to time. On top of that I write for myself While traveling I also try to make myself useful by doing work exchanges by teaching yoga.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

More than anything else, solo travel is a journey of personal growth for me. Especially when it is long-term. I have been on the road for about 15 months now. Over that period of time, I have experienced, learned and grown more than I could have ever done while living a more traditional life, in my home country. Solo travel has taught me to let go, get to know myself better, to live more in the present moment, connect to others and to take care of myself.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

For many years, I used to travel with my ex-boyfriend. When we broke up, I found it a bit of a challenge to match my interests, budget and availability with that of my friends. Eventually I decided to book a retreat at an ayurvedic center in Sri Lanka. From past experience I already knew most people attend these kind of retreats alone. That made it a more suitable destination for my first solo trip. In the end, retreats are all about focusing on yourself anyway. Something inside of me, assured me that I would be fine. My inner voice was right: it turned out to be an amazing experience that sparked my love for solo travel.

“I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.”

Favorite International Meal?

I am obsessed with Indian food. In a few months I will be back in India and I cannot wait to have good dahl (lentil curry), palak paneer (spinach curry with cheese) and butter chicken again.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

After so many months of solo travel, it is hard to pick just one experience. Some of the highlights are definitely the first yoga class I took in India, seeing orangutans on a jungle trek in Indonesia, getting my massage certificate in Thailand, learning salsa in Cuba and watching the pros surf Hawaii’s gigantic waves.

Solo travel is not just all highlights. Like that time I ended up in an Indonesian hospital with a bad stomach infection (barely anyone spoke English) or when my suitcase got lost at an Indian airport. I have also felt lost and homesick plenty of times. But that is okay, solo travel has taught me that these moments always pass and that I am capable of taking good care of myself.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

Solo travel keeps surprising me by introducing me to the most amazing people. Somehow, I usually tend to meet people the very moment when I find myself wishing for someone to hang out with. I am currently in New Zealand and I have learned a Moari proverb – “What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.” I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.

I have shared good (and bad) times with many people from all over the world. However, I have never befriended so many locals as I did in the south of India. People there are so curious and hospitable and have never felt alone. After several days I was already invited to an engagement party. It was quite the experience: me as a tall, blond girl in a saree and everyone wanting to take a selfie with me. I cannot wait to see my Indian friends again later this year.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Solo travel is a bit of a risk in itself. I believe in the good in people – without being naive or reckless. That has worked out pretty well so far. Looking back, some situations might sound risky. Like when I got on a motorbike (no helmets in India) with a guy I had only met once, going horse-back riding through the mud in Cuba right after a cyclone and going out by myself to dance salsa in Colombia. I trust my gut feeling in situations like these. It has never let me down.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

My own curiosity keeps on leading me to new travel destinations. I am intrigued by other cultures and nature never ceases to amaze me. The world is soo big and there is so much to explore! So far, solo travel has been such a rewarding experience. It inspires me to keep on going.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

It is better to have regrets about what you did do than about what you did not do. If solo travel is on your mind: go for it! There is only one way to find out if it suits you. I have never met a single person who went on a solo trip and hated it. If it makes you nervous to book anything; pretend to be booking it for a person that is dear to you. Arrange the bare necessities such as a visa, vaccinations and your first accommodation. Outside of that, I would recommend leaving as much room as possible for chance encounters and unexpected adventures. You will be positively surprised.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the tittle? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

 

Meditate. Meet. Move.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

How to Start a Travel Journal for Solo Travelers

Why start writing a travel journal as a solo traveler you ask?

As solo travelers, we experience so much on our own and are free to do whatever we please. But sometimes it is hard to share your story with family and friends in a more digestible way, especially if you do not have someone to back it up.

Starting a travel journal is a good way to write about the many adventures we take and share it with others. You can have a place to write about your stories, cultures and customs you experience, observations, and a way to remember your travels and reflect on them down the road.

Know your reasoning for writing

Ask yourself what is the journal really for — It is a personal account of your travel experience to reminisce later on? Looking to share your experience with your family and friends? Or a mixture of both? This will help you understand what style and tone of voice you want to use, what to add in and leave out.

 

Think of what you want to include

When starting to write a travel journal consider adding your itinerary, intended routes to explore, people you have met throughout your journey, favorite meals, best areas, surreal moments, new experiences, the good, bad and ugly, photos and captions for each. Be opened to writing about the sounds you hear, the food you taste, things you smell, your intuitions, & the vibes you get.

Get something on paper ASAP

While you are experiencing new things, while traveling alone, you may not have time to write full paragraphs about your journey right in the moment. Jot down a few words to help you remember your thoughts as they come.





Choosing when to write

Writing, as you move from point A to point B, is the best because you have idle time to observe and write while you wait to arrive at your destination. Grab a seat, either on the train, bus or taxi — another option is to find a nice cafe or restaurant to enjoy a meal and write after. Start writing about everything that comes to mind!

Date your entries

Make sure to add dates for each new writing entries, to help you distinguish on one day to the other.

Remember….





YOU control the narrative

Travel is about living in the moment and is the most important part of your journey. Don’t feel pressured to have to write about everything. We all have those experiences we know will never be forgotten. You control what you feel or don’t feel like writing about. We are all the writer of our own story!

Enjoy yourself and writing

Focus on having the time of your life. You are going to do exciting things and writing about your experience should be too! It may feel like a chore sometimes so try thinking of ways to to make it more enjoyable, like shortening your writing entries to a few sentences or writing when you feel inspired to.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

Moneyless, Homeless and Making Travel Happen – Michael Blaney

TravSolo aims to inspire through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

I tend to change jobs like most folks change their pants. Usually I’m in a restaurant cooking or bartending but I find myself in hostels from time to time. Recently I’ve been doing more catering work and a little acting as well. I tend to get itchy feet after being too long in one place so I see my way out pretty quickly.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Freedom. Possibility. Adventure. There are a few better feelings than arriving to a new country where you know no one and everything feels like it could happen at any moment; it is life in HD. Everything feels new, intense, and you can do whatever the hell you want. Nothing like it!





What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

I grew up being told travel and adventure stories. My dad used to tell my brothers and I about his misadventures during his solo bike tour through the Southwest US, my favorite high school teacher would share his tales of hitchhiking through Ethiopia, Palestine, and the United States. It was always so alluring that I wanted to have these kind of awesome adventures of my own. I remember noticing that people who traveled and came back seemed different; it was the way they lived and looked at the world. I wanted to be like that when I got older too.

After my first time overseas visiting family in South Korea, I was hooked! All I wanted to do was travel and I wanted to do it on my own terms. Years later when I was old enough and had just ended a 5 years relationship, I immediately bought my first one way ticket to Paris.

Favorite International Dish?

Being a chef I could go forever back and forth about what international meal might be my favorite so for the sake of everyone involved I’m just going to go with the first one that popped in my head: Bacalhau Com Natas. It is a Portuguese dish of salt cod baked in a rich cream sauce with potatoes, onion, and a boatload of garlic. It’s incredibly decadent but you can never seem to get enough no matter how full you are. I learned to make this from my ex after a day of hiking and we ate the entire pan that should have fed six – it’s that good.

What was the most memorable and/or let down experience you had while traveling?

Running out of money and accidentally moving to Portugal is pretty up there for me. A few months into my first jaunt in Europe, my bank deactivated my card because I had completely neglected to notify them of my travel plans. I was on my way from Ireland to Portugal so I arranged for my brother to send my replacement card to me in Lisbon. Now stuck with only the cash in my wallet before my card was sucked into a Dublin ATM, I was left with six Euros and about two weeks until my card came to Lisbon.

I landed in Lisbon on Thanksgiving day. My feast that year would be some pastries and bread I had found in a dumpster, eaten in the rain. A few more cold nights went by sleeping on the street and eating what I could find when I realized I’d have to make a better plan than this. I went to a few hostels explaining my situation to see who would trust me to pay them, when my card finally came in. Eventually one hotel receptionist, after giving me what felt like the first hot coffee I’d had in forever, told me not to worry and it will be figured it out. A few months later, I found was still in Lisbon working at the hostel and dating the receptionist. We lived together until I left over half a year later to continue my travels. It is hard to describe what it feels like to show up to a country not knowing anyone, nor the language or culture. Then depart later, leaving behind new friends, lovers, and a place that had become home.





What was the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

I spent a month and a half in Busan, South Korea working as the cook for a language exchange cafe. When I was set to leave, I decided that my goodbye party would go like this: eat some great food, barhop until all were sufficiently wasted, and climb a mountain to watch the sunrise over the sea. While sitting in a tree up on the mountain, watching the sun come up completely plastered with a bunch of strangers from all over the world 40 something days ago, I felt such joy, love, and belonging among these friends-turned-family. I have yet to see a prettier sunrise.

What’s the biggest risk you have taken on a trip?

Probably running out of money a million times and just leaving with little traveling cash. It feels apocalyptic the first few times but eventually you get used to it. You learn to survive and trust that things will eventually work out. You find somewhere to work in exchange for room and board and after some time paid work seems to come on by. It’s a little uncanny how serendipitous it can all come together.





What inspires you to travel more alone?

I get little travel pangs daily. This little restless feeling, mixed with an insatiable curiosity. It is an ever present desire to move and explore. I’ll just be going about my day and find myself making mental notes about flights to look up, & places I need to go that I haven’t thought about in a while. I’m still not sure if it is something you can get out of your system or if each trip just makes you more restless. I’ve found that so far it is the latter.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

It may seem cliché but just fucking do it and you’ll be fine. If you’re afraid of being on your own it’s probably exactly what you need to do. You’ll make friends and it is amazing to discover that the people you needed to meet seem to come your way. You’ll also learn to stare down loneliness and work with it. All the emotional, mental, spiritual shit that has been hiding beneath your routines, distractions, and comforts back home will come up in a big way and force you to deal with them.

You’ll have a lot of shitty days, mishaps, and the occasional disaster or breakdown, but you’ll learn to become stronger for it. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to become some enlightened Buddha figure because you went backpacking, all your problems won’t be solved by your new worldly perspective, but you will grow, you will meet some amazing people, build some beautiful friendships, and you’ll have an absolute blast doing all this.

If you were writing a book about a personal travel story, what three words would you use for the title?

Learned. Lost. Looking.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.

9 Reasons Why You Should Never Travel Alone

Solo traveling is something everyone needs to experience in their lifetime. Once you travel alone for the first time you are likely going to want to do it again. But just like skydiving or eating vegemite it is not for everyone.

Here are some reasons why you should not travel alone.


You have a have a hard time being selfish

Traveling alone is going to be all about YOU – your interests, wants, needs, how long you want to stay up, how early you want to wake up & owning your traveling style. You get to do you 24/7.

You have a very hard time eating alone

Eating alone can be a tough pill to swallow, especially when you are surrounded by people sharing meals, laughs and creating memories together. Good chance you will eat most of your meals alone.

You avoid meeting new people

Maybe you are fine with the friends you already have back home. Traveling alone will force your hand to socialize with strangers from across the world from different cultures.

You are comfortable being completely comfortable

Traveling alone will force you to face some adversity you may not be used to experiencing, like having to deal with times of loneliness in foreign land. You may even end up talking to people with very different personalities you are not used to, trying new things for the first or eating foods you are unfamiliar with.

You shy away from making decisions on your own

There is no one else to help you plan where to eat, drink, sleep & go while you take a step back. Everything you do or don’t do is entirely up to you.

You are responsible for ALL Expenses

Thinking of splitting the hotel, cab or food bill? Guess again! Every cent will come out of your wallet for sure. If you are looking to save you will have to do a better job budgeting for your trip.

No one to take Instagram-ready photographs

We all have friends who become our “professional-but-not-professional” photographer, taking our pictures with every type of lighting and angles they can find to get the best Instagram-ready photo to post. Selfies are easy to get but it would not be your ideal photo for those looking to impress. It is harder to set up a tripod around tourist attractions. You would be lucky to find strangers who can take a decent picture for you.

You worry too much about your safety

Traveling alone usually does not have any safety nets, especially without having family or friends looking after you. You are responsible for being aware of where you go,  your surroundings, taking safety measures & watching your back during the night.

You have a hard time saying goodbye

You have met some of the most amazing people on your solo adventure, created long-lasting memories and shared personal stories with each other, connecting on a really genuine level. Strangers who you have become friends and now it is time to say goodbye? Traveling alone can be like that.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.