6 Things You Will Experience When You Travel Solo – Written After 18 Months on the Road

6 Things You Will Experience When You Travel Solo – Written After 18 Months on the Road

Get ready to experience all of this when you travel solo – from the ultimate freedom and learning new skills to feeling alone at times.

It is your life, others may walk with you but they won’t walk it for you.

The hardest walk you can make is the one you walk alone but that is also the walk that will make you the strongest.

Little over 18 months of solo travel – 5 continents, 32 countries and countless cities – one question I get a lot is about what to expect during a solo trip. I always answer it to the best of my experience but repeating myself, again and again, is no fun. So, I thought…why not blog it here for those who are interested?

Tribes, during your solo travel you might experience hundred other things, but below are the six things that are most likely to happen. So without further ado, let’s begin!

1. You will have a lot of fun

From the moment you leave your home to getting off the plane in a new country and getting on a taxi or bus or tuk-tuk or ferry to find your hostel then one fine afternoon watching the beautiful sunset in another part of the world and everything in between. One thing is for sure – you will meet a lot of people from different walks of life. Some of them would be truly inspiring and amazing and some pretty basic. And as we all know we can’t do epic shit with basic people. so, try to surround yourself with former individuals or be your own hero having fun your own way. It is a solo trip after all.

Then many times you will find yourself enjoying hot/cold beverages exchanging your life stories. I’m not into small talks; it gets boring quick. So, I take this as the chance to understand what inspires those people, what motivates them, their perspective on life and different ideas that might widen your horizon. This is a good way to get to know each other and have fun without pretending.

I must add here out of those people you meet, some of them will help you without thinking twice. In today’s world of self-interest and manipulation, finding such people is rare. If you happen to meet those rare gems, consider yourself lucky. Be friends with them. Surround yourself with good people and you will always have a great time. And who knows the friendship you found on the road what it could lead to.

Regardless of how far you are travelling, you will meet wonderful people along the way. Strangers will show you random acts of kindness – be grateful, thank them and don’t forget to pay it forward. As the saying goes: a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

2. You will be strong and confident

Navigating your way through the foreign train, bus and metro systems is a major challenge. Top it off with the language barriers and trying to make it work with the best sign language you can come up with! 

It’ll be hilarious, hectic and chaotic – but sometimes in chaos we find strength. Strength to carry on which helps build our confidence.

While travelling, we may have to make quick decisions. But it will help us to take actions. As they say, doing something and regretting is better than doing nothing at all. We learn from our mistakes.

Have a hard time with trusting people? Solo travelling will help you work on that too. You will have to listen to your gut instinct every single time or let go. You may come across situations where people will trust you and genuinely offer free help, ride, food and even shelter at their home. It will challenge your judgement and trust factor. But would you want to ruin that kind of kindness, trust and confidence someone has on you? I didn’t think so either. You actually want to be more sincere and trustworthy. It just adds to your confidence. It is amazing.

Exploring new territories, dealing with people from different walks of life, feeling courageous to try skydiving, climbing a mountain, eating snails or chicken leg, drinking a shot infused with scorpions, trusting a stranger to guide your destination. Every new thing you do, you will be building your confidence every step of the way. Gradually, you will become strong and fearless.

3. You will feel alone at times

Yes, there will be other people around but you will still feel alone in your heart. I still feel that at times, even after 18 months of solo travelling.

But what I come to realise is it is normal to feel that way. I just have to remind myself I am a solo traveller, I chose this path and it is all on me. This is unavoidable. But how I deal with it, is what makes all the difference.

You could always Skype, write to your family and friends, read books or watch movies. But an important thing is to understand that happiness comes from within you, not from others. Don’t expect anyone to fill up your alone time. The world owes you nothing, so there’s no point being upset with your loved ones.

It is time for you. Utilise it. Feeling alone? Go do something that makes you happy. But first, learn to make peace with your past and don’t worry too much about the future. It will arrive soon enough. Do what you can to be happy now. Be present. I assure you that if enjoy the moment, you won’t feel alone. Be at peace with wherever you are. Time will pass anyway.

4. You will experience ultimate freedom

Solo travelling is freedom. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, and with whoever you want. It’s all about you. 

You and your decisions, so you will be the one facing the outcomes too. The secret is taking rational risks and expanding your comfort zone.

Freedom is power and as we know, with power comes responsibility. Responsibility for yourself. To keep yourself safe, sound, healthy and happy. No point making your family and loved ones worry about you. So, let’s be smart and take care of ourselves. You are your number one priority. No matter where your travel takes you, please do your best to eat well (doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive, nutritional and healthy is good) and sleep well (at least 5–8 hours per night).

In terms of safety, as a general rule of thumb, keep an eye on your belongings and don’t go down that dark alleyway on your own. Guidebooks are a great help but if you can, try exploring the unbeaten route. Either way, you will realise that we live in a beautiful world. Use your freedom to broaden your mind and stretch your horizons.

5. You will learn skills

Solo travelling offers opportunities to learn different skills. One of these is becoming a very good observer. Everything is foreign. Sometimes many things happen at the same time. Sometimes nothing happens. Most of the time, you will play a guessing game when you don’t understand. But you’ll be observing all the time.

You will learn to be responsible as you will have no one to please or blame for the decisions you make. 

If you lose your belongings, well it’s time to learn how the Western Union works, so your loved ones can send you cash! Speaking from experience, get the name and spelling right the first time around – travelling broke is no fun. If that doesn’t work, time to learn how to ask for help wherever you are.

Sitting at home, you might think “ah that should be easy” but have you ever asked for money from strangers? I didn’t think so either! Most of us are raised brainwashed that asking for help is a sign of weakness but in the real world, asking for help needs a lot of courage and no shame! Asking for help is not something we are comfortable with and it is a skill that needs multiple attempts to master.

You will also learn foreign words and language in real-time.

Travelling alone gives you time to think. It is common to see people coming to terms with the power of self-acceptance.

Solo travel will also teach you time management. Another important thing you will learn is to be grateful for what you have and be at peace.

6. You will change

Travelling the world on your own, watching the beautiful sunset overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, feeding deer in Japan, tiles in Morocco, mountains in Switzerland, view in Vienna, sunrise in a long tail boat overlooking an island in Thailand, amazing waterfall sunset in Cambodia and so on so forth. You will have breathless moments and just being there, you will realise how capable, strong and independent you are. You are a hero in your own story.

Travelling demands open spirit, a desire for genuine connection and belief that amazing encounters are just around the corner. Culture shocks, your experiences and encounters all adds up. You will have a deeper insight in a short span. You will start to adapt and immerse quickly.

Being around inspiring people and some deep conversations might change the course of your life. You will have a different perspective. You will start to value experiences over possessions and appreciate moments and people over things. You won’t look for happiness from others because you are confident to provide those for yourself.

Solo travel will leave you with an impression you will never forget. You will learn, grow and change for better.

About Author

Anna Sherchand
Anna Sherchand

Anna is a solo traveller, photographer, outdoor enthusiast & social media fanatic! She enjoys the minimalist lifestyle, travels only with 10kilo backpack and a smile on her face. Creativity, inspiration and travel are what lights her fire. When not geeking out over travel, you will likely find her geeking out over photography, writing, hiking or pretending to sing.


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