Someone recently said to me that they would never want to travel by themselves.
That would have been me a year or so ago.
But when I realised how much I loved travelling and how much more travelling I wanted to do and that if I wanted to keep travelling, I couldn’t afford to wait for other people to come with me all the time, I had to make a decision.
Do I give up the dream of travelling except when others can trek along with me and later regret that I didn’t get to see all the places I wanted to or do I learn to travel by myself and make sure there’s no regrets?
It wasn’t an easy decision to make for someone like me. I panic and worry about everything. I’m quite shy until I know people and I’m super self-conscious. I’m probably over-untrusting and over-cautious. I’m not good at meeting people. I’m not very good at pushing myself to get out there….basically there are over a million reasons why someone like me would never choose to travel alone. So what was I going to do?
Well I guess that it helped that my friends Katie and Yoshi decided to travel the world and I knew if I wanted to see them in the next few years, I was going to have to get up enough confidence to meet up with them somewhere by myself. But really, I just knew there were places I wanted to see, and I knew I would be so disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least try to overcome my fears and do one trip by myself. So I just had to pick a destination and give it a try and see how I would go!
It was easy to pick the destination – I LOVED Japan when I visited previously and knew I definitely wanted to go back. Getting the courage up to actually make the decision and go for it was a different story. Thankfully I had a personal trainer at the time, who had changed my life and made me realise that if you want something all you had to do, was put the steps in place to achieve it. So I had formulated the goal and I knew where I wanted to go.
Next was getting up the courage and taking the leap of faith to achieve the goal. Luckily, my sister and brother in law provided those! I had the brochures, I had the dream – and now spread open in front of me at their kitchen table, was the right price. Along with their encouragement, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to jump.
So I did. And even though I panicked right up to the end, it was probably the most exhilarating trip I have ever done. It was 100% up to me what I made of the trip. If I didn’t achieve what I wanted – my fault. If I changed the itinerary – my fault. If I didn’t take a chance – my fault. And honestly, I probably made the most of this trip out of all the trips I had done.
I now knew that I could go anywhere. And not only that, but it’s opened a whole new world up to me. Because even though I’ve never wanted to travel outside of Asia, I have a new awakening to travel anywhere and everywhere I can.
So all I can say to anyone contemplating travelling alone – is just do it. Yes it will be scary. Yes there will be situations where you don’t have anyone to bounce off and freak out. But it will be such a release. And I found that I actually step further out of my comfort zone than normal. Of course you can always join a tour group so that you aren’t totally travelling alone, or if, unlike me, you are the chatty type you can always make friends with other travellers. You can do day tours so you aren’t always by yourself and don’t always have to arrange your own transport. You can arrange transfers or organise local guides to accompany you. There’s so many ways to travel.
And even though when people ask me ‘oh who are you going with?’ and I answer ‘no-one’ – like the crazy woman who lives with 20 cats, please, don’t ever let the fear of travelling alone, stop you from travelling at all.